Install Mac OS X Leopard on a G4 800mhz Quicksilver

If you have an old G4 sitting around that’s at the 800mhz mark, you probably should try installing Leopard, because most people agree it actually runs FASTER than Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Weird, huh? I guess they’ve optimized the code pretty well.
However, when you try to install the operating system, you are warned that Leopard cannot be installed on your G4. There are a few reasons for this:
1) Leopard requires 512MB of RAM – you have RAM, right?
2) Leopard requires over 867mhz processor

We can fix number 1 by simply getting more RAM. I find Craigslist to be of great use here. Number two is a bit more difficult as G4 processor upgrades are ridiculously expensive once you consider the cost of a Mac Mini, and also requires a bit of tech savvy under the hood as you’d be swapping CPUs.
Not to worry, though. Here’s a way to convince OpenFirmware that your CPU is 867mhz, and allow the installer to boot, install, and get you off and running:
Boot into Open Firmware, I have covered this extensively here:
Once in OpenFirmware, issue the following commands (for single CPU):
dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@0
d# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property
boot cd:,\\:tbxi

For dual CPU:
dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@0
d# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property
dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@1
d# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property
boot cd:,\\:tbxi

Note that all we are doing is over-writing the CPU clock-frequency (speed) property for each CPU installed, at boot time.
Also, if you need to boot another device, try:
printenv boot-device
This will return a list of boot devices to use when booting the installer. I used this in order to boot a Firewire device that had had a disc image (DMG) restored to it, making things a bit easy and faster.

Good luck!

Quick Tip: Eject your CD on an Apple Mac

If you don’t have an Apple Macintosh keyboard, you miss out on the “eject button”. This is a shame really. The easiest way to eject the CD is to drag it to the recycle bin, or if you have a Windows mouse as well you can right-click and select eject. Should you have a Macintosh mouse, option-click and select eject. If all else fails, reboot the computer and hold down the left mouse button (or only mouse button), and the CD will eject for you. If this STILL doesn’t work, you can go into OpenFirmware and tell the Apple computer to eject using the command:

0 > eject cd

Hope that helps!

Where’s my Mac BIOS? (How to get into OpenFirmware Easily)

A lot of people these days appear to be under the impression that Macs have a BIOS, which is unfortunate because they actually have something much better – Macs have OpenFirmware. This is true for G4 Mac Minis, PowerBooks, iBooks, iMacs, eMacs, and Dual G5s… I could go on and on.
I got most of this info from experience and the Apple Developper Connection – if you’re not a member yet, sign up, it’s free.

You can get into OpenFirmware using this key sequence:

CMD-OPT-O-F

In detail, this means using two hands, holding “command”, “option” and “f” on the left and “o” with your right hand. Do this while booting your computer and you well hear two chimes. At the end of the chimes you will be greeted with an

On my G4 Mac Mini, for example, I can hold down the power button for roughly 10 seconds and I will hear the chimes – this should work for iMacs as well.

The OpenFirmware prompt that looks like this:

ok

0>

Congratulations, you’ve accessed your “BIOS” you switcher!

Now that we’ve passed this glorious milestone, we have some work to do. After all you came here for a reason right? (and not just to click on the ads, wink-wink nudge-nudge)

Some useful commands that save me time and time again, and enable reparation of the G4 Mac Mini:

Boot your Apple computer using the default boot device:

0 > mac-boot

Boot your Mac using the inserted CDROM at the yaboot directory for linux CDs:

0 > boot cd:,\install\yaboot

To eject a CDROM from your Mac:

0 > eject cd

If you have any other OpenFirmware tips to share, feel free to comment!

Installing Ubuntu Edgy Eft Knot 2 on a Budget Mac Mini

I’ve introduced this before but I got off to a really bad start and I appologize. So here’s the follow-up. Not only is Edgy Eft 2 quite stable, it also installs just fine on a Mac Mini, it simply doesn’t recognize the Apple Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard yet. You can easily get the install running using a USB keyboard, however, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Edgy Eft Knot 2 is the newest release from Ubuntu, and is compatible with the budget Mac Mini G4s. Ubuntu 6.10 supports wireless on the mini as well as sound! OK now that we have you hooked let’s get started, shall we?

Step 1 – Grab the release

You’ll want to either download the CD image or start scraping the torrent (in my case the torrent was faster but YMMV)
Once you have the ISO, verify the MD5 sum in order to make sure it’s OK. If you used bittorrent, you should be fine as it will calculate the hash as you go.

Step 2 – Burn the CD Image

This part is pretty easy, but if you run into trouble Ubuntu actually has a fantastic guide to burning CD images – it comes highly recommended.

Step 3 – Start the installation

This part is pretty simple if you have Macintosh keyboard. Other keyboards can be problematic. To boot from CD using an Apple keyboard, just hold “C”. If this doesn’t work, and you downloaded the ISO but didn’t verify the MD5 sum, chances are you have a bad download or a bad burn (or both). You’ll want to verify the MD5 sum now! If it passes we know we have a bad burn – so burn it again. Of course if the MD5 sum failed, you’ll want to download again – I’d recommend using bittorrent of course.

Step 4 – Post Install

The install is actually pretty easy and straight forward but we’ll need to tweak a few things in order to get what we want out of this version of Ubuntu. After all, we want wireless right? (By the way – sound should work just like the liveCD, as well as previous versions of PPC Ubuntu) Follow the screenshots below which shothe whole procedure. I’ll be making a slideshow soon – subscribe to RSS and it’ll come.
Gallery:

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Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) Knot 2 Mac Mini Bluetooth Issue

Oh no! My poor lil Mac Mini is unable to test the new Edgy Eft version because the Mac BT keyboard is not working in the livecd. I sent the error report to Ubuntu using the device driver wizard (pretty cool!) however was obviously unable to comment about what happened as I could not type anything in the box.

Otherwise, this version is quite swank. I was able to mouse around the web, play with FSpot and poke at Gnome a bit as well.

I’ll see if I can’t grab a USB keyboard and boot into OpenFirmware in order to load the CD (holding C typically does not work with other non-Apple keyboards, by the way).

UPDATE:

I was able to install with no problems (have a look at the new blandname Ubuntu Edgy Eft Knot 2 article here )

Still not able to get the Bluetooth running, but I have been in contact with the helpful Ubuntu team and will keep you all posted!