[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [gNewSense-users] How to voluntarily follow gNewSense / FSF guidelin

From: Brian Greer
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] How to voluntarily follow gNewSense / FSF guidelines on my Ubuntu Apple PPC?
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 02:49:48 -0700
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20080724)

Benjamin Webb wrote:
I don't know if this is too unrealistic or difficult, but the most
foolproof way to have a ppc system as free as gnewsense would be to
port gnewsense to ppc.

It would seem ideal, but I'll have to say why I think this is not a good idea. I'll just put this long reply out there in case anyone is thinking along the same lines for completeness, and I'm not trying to be controversial:

Linux can be run very well on a PPC box, but in many cases (althoug h there are exceptions) it requires that the user has specialized knowledge up front about their particular model. For instance, despite the "bulletproof x" now used in xorg, it doesn't always apply to ppc, since the hardware doesn't always respond properly to probing. Thus the user has to manually edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf with known good values - which is made all the more difficult these days for newcomers to "wing it" with what looks like a very blank xorg.conf file. I got lucky with a G5 iMac, but many models require a lot of TLC to get going.

Some models have 8gb or 128gb partitioning limitations in firmware, but the installers can't identify which models need workarounds or special partitioning. Again, another manual intervention is needed.

Some models have dual hd-controllers, and these need to use an openfirmware "alias" instead of a fully qualified openfirmware path in the bootloader file. Again, the installer has no way of knowing.

These are the kinds of problems that can give any ppc distro an unwarranted black-eye when the system doesn't magically come to life after a first reboot - especially when the user has upgraded or purchased a mac with unknown heritage.

Many newcomers to Linux want to put it on their low-spec G3 iMac, and while it can be done, walking them through the above when they may not have basic editing skills can prove to be very disappointing, even though I may explain that it isn't the fault of the installer, but the ppc hardware. Not to mention that just "switching to XFCE" isn't a magic cure-all for getting better performance out of Gimp or OpenOffice when they may only have 256mb on board. :)

Many users are not aware that Ubuntu provides recent releases for PPC, but doesn't advertise it on their site. You have to dig to find it, but I won't go into that here.

While I am happy to assist, I'd have to say that the requirements for PPC support are just too great, and too much of a risk of disappointment for the "I just installed it, and now it won't boot" crowd, leaving a bad taste that isn't warranted.

main advantage to using actual gnewsense is that even without non-free
modules, ubuntu's ppc kernels will have non-free firmware.

Sad, it is looking like kernel recompilation is the way to go. I'll give the Hardy-Alpha a shot and see if I can come up with anything to simplify the issue.

Thanks for your input! You've given me a couple of things to think about..

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]