Linux on an Apple Mac (non-Intel)

I gave up on Microsoft a long time ago except for retaining an ability to run Windows-based software so that I can teach it… I have three Apple Macs of various guises. I am interested in learning Linux with the possibility of passing expertise on to others.

I would like to know if it is possible to install / run Linux on my “spare” Apple Mac Laptop which currently runs Mac OSX 10.4 (Tiger). It’s not an Intel-based machine.

If I can run Linux on it, what’s the procedure?



PS I don’t do much jargon or techspeak, plain English is fine!

Mmm, don’t know a great deal about Mac’s so “Apple Mac Loptop” doesn’t mean a great deal to me … but there are all sorts of docs knocking around, try this one for a start;

Of if you could give us the exact model/spec of your machine?

I agree, it would be helpful to know the model/version/architecture of your Mac(s), but most Macs can run Linux… the Mac (PowerPC) version of Ubuntu 10.10 desktop and alternate install CD, can be found here:

The the Mac (PowerPC) Desktop version is a LiveCD, so you can test drive it (as a fully working desktop) before committing to a hard drive installation.

There may be a few issues to overcome, such as wireless (airport) drivers, and keyboard special function keys etc… but from what I’ve read, most Mac hardware can be made to work to varying degrees of functionality.

You could look on the Ubuntu “Apple Users” Forum:

You might also want to take a look here:
including a list of other Linux (PowerPC) distributions:

There are even Linux distributions for the older Motorola 680x0 CPU architecture (such as in very early Macs):

don’t ask me how well these are supported though :wink:

One of the great things about Linux is it has been ported to just about every architecture imaginable, which is why you’ll find it everywhere, from tablet PC’s, TV’s, routers and mobile phones, to car trip computers, MP3 players, vending machines and exercise bikes, to graphics workstations, corporate web servers, HPC clusters and mainframes… to name a few :wink:

Thanks for the replies so far - it’s nice to know that there are some helpful people out there!

The Mac in question is a G4 iBook - 1.33 GHz PowerPc processor with 256 Mb memory and 60 Gb disk. It has wireless but not Bluetooth, and has a CD/DVD rewriter. It’s 5 years old, but hasn’t been used very much, (can’t understand why the disk is half-full!) and there is very little on it that isn’t also on one of my other two iMacs. However, I would like to be able to dual boot it (assuming it is possible to install Linux on it) if possible.

From replies so far it seems that this is do-able, but I’d like easy-to-follow instructions if possible - especially regarding the installation and boot routines.


PS I noticed a warning on this website against using Ubuntu 10.10 because of bugs, so do I need to steer clear of this?

Which warning about 10.10 ? … AFAIK the warning was about 10.04, which has now become pretty stable except for the high load average, which most people don’t really notice but is definitely there.

If you prefer you can go for -

9.10 Karmic PPC -

10.04 (LTS) Lucid PPC -

or any version back to 6.06 -

256mb of RAM is pretty much the bare minimum, and you’d do well to upgrade to as much as possible (I read here that the max RAM is only 640mb for a G4 iBook, so check first)… ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 graphics card with 32MB of video RAM, so don’t expect it to be a gamer :slight_smile:

Installation instructions for the Ubuntu 10.04 LiveCD are here:

other LiveCD distro’s/versions will be similar.

If in the first picture, you select “Try Ubuntu” instead of “Install Ubuntu”, you will continue to a fully working desktop running from the CDROM, so you can test that it works before making any changes to your system.

Re Ubuntu 10.10 - just rechecked and I obviously misread the message - sorry about that.

I’m not a gamer anyway, so I’ll give it a go without upgrading memory, and if it struggles, I’ll add some.

Thanks for all the info - I’ll let you know what happens - and Yes, I will use ‘try’ rather than ‘install’.

About running the Ubuntu 10.10 LiveCD with the minimum memory requirement of 256mb…

AFAIK your graphics card has its own memory, so you should have 256mb available, but as I said it’s the bare minimum so don’t expect the LiveCD to be quick, and don’t expect it to load multiple apps at once.