It started out on PowerPC processors but later transitioned onto Intel processors with Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) the last to natively support the PowerPC architecture and Snow Leopard (10.6) the last to support PowerPC applications on Intel-based Macs. All versions of Mac OS X that were made to run on PowerPC systems (with the exception of.
SheepShaver is an open source PowerPC Apple Macintosh emulator. Using SheepShaver (along with the appropriate ROM image) it is possible to emulate a PowerPC Macintosh computer capable of running Mac OS 7.5.2 through 9.0.4. Builds of SheepShaver are available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. The Power Macintosh, later Power Mac, is a discontinued family of personal computers designed, manufactured, and sold by Apple Computer, Inc. As part of the Macintosh brand from March 1994 until August 2006. Described by MacWorld Magazine as 'The most important technical evolution of the Macintosh since the Mac II debuted in 1987,' the Power Macintosh was Apple's first computer to use a.
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Here are some notes on how I set up an installation of OS X Tiger (10.4)on an emulated PowerPC G4 using QEMU,on a modern x86_64 Mac.
This setup was performed using QEMU 5.0.0 (obtained via
brew install qemu).
Note: at some point during this process
-cdrom /dev/cdrom seems to have stopped working, but
-cdrom /dev/disk2 works.
Step 1: Initial installation
In this step we will format the disk and perform the initial OS X installation.
Download a copy of the2Z691-5305-A OS X Tiger installation DVDand burn it to a physical DVD.
Note: for some reason qemu does not seem to be able to boot
.iso files of the OS X installation DVD (using
-cdrom tiger.iso),but if you burn that
.iso to a physical DVD and then use
-cdrom /dev/disk2, it works.
Boot the DVD to verify it works:
If you see the grey Apple logo, the DVD is working correctly with QEMU:
Quit QEMU and create a 127GB QEMU disk:
Boot the install DVD with the disk attached and being the installation. QEMU will exit when the installer reboots.
When the installer reaches the disk selection screen, there will be no disks to choose from, because the disk has not been partitioned yet:
Start up Disk Utility:
'Erase' the disk to partition and format it:
Quit Disk Utility and the installer should now see the newly formatted partition:
The install will take quite some time (over an hour). When it completes, it will reboot, which will cause QEMU to exit (due to the
At this point you may (physically) eject the installation DVD (from your host Mac).
Mark the disk as read-only to prevent any accidental writes to it (which would cause any snapshots based on this disk to become corrupt):
Step 2: User account creation, system updates
In this step we will create a user account and install all of the system updates.
Create a snapshot of the disk (think of this as forking the hard drive):
The system updates can either be installed using the Software Update utility (iteratively repeated across many reboots),or you can download and install them manually.
The manual route is quicker because some of the updates are bundled, and you don't have to wait on Software Update to detect which updates have / haven't been installed yet.
To install the updates manually,download (on your host Mac) item #29 (Tiger_Updates.dmg_.zip)from the 'Mac OS X for PPC' pageof macintoshgarden.org.
Unzip that file and convert the dmg to a DVD image:
We can now use
tiger-updates.cdr as a virtual DVD with QEMU.
Coreldraw download. Boot the G4 and create a user account:
Note: if you plan on using Software Update rather than tiger-updates.cdr, you man omit the
-cdrom tiger-updates.cdr line from the above command.
Note: this boot may take several minutes to get started.
This install was set up with user
macuser and password
This installation was set up with the Central timezone:
Disable the screen saver and power-saving features:
Open up System Preferences and:
Open Firmware Mac Ppc Commands
- Display & Screen Saver -> Screensaver -> Start screen saver -> Never
- Energy Saver
- Put the computer to sleep when it is inactive for -> Never
- Put the display to sleep when the computer is inactive for -> Never
If you did not use Software Update, open up the Tiger_Updates 'DVD' and install all of the updates:
If you go with the updates DVD route, make sure you run Software Update at the end just to be sure you've covered everything.
Mark the snapshot read-only to prevent accidental writes to it:
Step 3: Web browser, video player, text editor
In this step we will install TenFourFox, VLC and TextWrangler.
Create a snapshot of the disk:
TenFourFox is a fork of the Firefox web browser which is currently supported on Tiger/PPC.Their website links to the latest version,FPR22.
The latest version of VLCfor Tiger/PPC is 0.9.10,which is still available from their downloads page.
The latest version of TextWranglerfor Tiger/PPC is 3.1,available via Bare Bonesor macintoshgarden.org.
Strangely, no combination of using Disk Utility and hdiutil to create
.cdr images of
TenFourFox.app seemed to work with Tiger:
Note: in retrospect, perhaps this was an APFS vs. HFS+ issue?
I resorted to burning TenFourFox, VLC, and TextWrangler to a physical DVD and passing it through to QEMU.
Note: even burning to a physical CD-ROM didn't work -- it had to be a DVD.
Drag the applications into
Shutdown the G4 and mark the disk read-only:
Step 4: Xcode, Tigerbrew
In this step we will set up a development environment for building modern Unix software.
Create a snapshot of the disk:
The latest version of Xcode Tools for Tiger/PPC is 2.5,which is still available via Apple (search for 'xcode 2.5' at https://developer.apple.com/download/more/, requires login),or via macintoshgarden.orgfrom their Xcode page.
Again, I had to burn this to a physical DVD in order to use it with QEMU.
Boot the G4 and install the Xcode Tools:
Tigerbrewis a fork of Homebrewfor PowerPC Macs running Tiger or Leopard.
Open up a terminal on the emulated G4 and use the following commands to install Tigerbrew:
Also, change Terminal.app to spawn a 'login' bash shell:
- Terminal -> Preferences -> Execute this command ->
Don't forget to mark the disk image read-only:
Using these QEMU hard drive images
At this point we've created a series of four chained hard drive images:
We can squash these images into a single, combined, stand-alone hard drive image:
We can then boot using that combined image directly, without the use of any snapshots.This is analogous to having a real Mac with a physical hard drive:
Or, we could treat
combined.qcow2 as a 'golden master'and create snapshots based off of it, perhaps to try out some experimental tigerbrew packages:
experiment-1.qcow2 we try out
gcc-7, and in
experiment-2.qcow2 we try out
Each of these snapshots can be used with the above command line as the
qemu-system-ppc .. -hda experiment-2.qcow2
We could even create further branches off of e.g.
Perhaps we decide that
experiment-2B.qcow2 was the keeper and the rest can be gotten rid of?
combined.qcow2 now contains the changes from
Thus far we've been branching off of the 'tip',but we could just as easily branch off several points in the snapshot tree.For example, if we hadn't merged the images into
combined.qcow2,we could make a 'daily driver' snapshot for web browsing based off of
3-browser.qcow2,and a 'dev box' for doing development work based off of
Let's say we accidentally hosed our dev box with a careless
rm -rf /. Starting over with a new dev box is trivial:
It’s not particularly easy to create a bootable USB flash drive so you can try running Linux on a PowerPC Mac. It took me a couple weeks of research, asking questions of our Linux on PowerPC Macs group on Facebook, and experimenting before I could finally boot into Linux 14.04 from a thumb drive. I learned some lessons. I’m going to make it a lot easier for you to install Linux on your old PPC Macs.
I’ve experimented with Linux and BSD Macs going back to the Mac IIci era, and I’ve never had much luck. Back in the olden days, Linux was a text-based operating system similar to MS-DOS. Everything was handled through the command line in the late 1990s. This time around I wanted to create a “live” flash drive so I could make sure it actually worked before committing to installing Linux on a hard drive.
If only I’d had a blank CD-R or DVD-R, it would have been a lot easier!
My original testbed was a Late 2005 2.3 GHz Power Mac G5 Dual with 3 GB of RAM and two hard drives, one with OS X 10.4 Tiger, the other with OS X 10.5 Leopard. It’s my most powerful PowerPC Mac, so I figured it would be a good way to take Linux for a spin.
Pick a Distro
Step one is to choose your distribution. After talking with others in our small-but-growing Linux PPC Facebook group, I settled on Lubuntu as a good starting point. Lubuntu is known for having a lighter-weight user interface, LXDE – similar to what Simon Royal used when he put LXLE on an old PC.
Ubuntu Linux has a simple numbering scheme for its versions. Version 14.04 was released in the 4th month of 2014, and 16.04 in the 4th month of 2016. That’s also the latest version available for PowerPC at present. You can download 14.04 and 16.04 from this page, earlier versions from this page, where you can also get version 12.04 for PowerPC, among many other architectures.
PowerPC distros prior to version 12.04 have separate 32-bit and 64-bit installers. The only PowerPC Macs that can use a 64-bit operating system are G5 iMacs and Power Macs. Anything before G5 can only use a 32-bit Linux. Starting with version 12.04 the 32-bit and 64-bit versions are part of the same package for Macs.
I suggest you start by downloading Mac (PowerPC) and IBM-PPC (POWER5) desktop CD, which is designed to be burnt to a CD-R and give you a fully bootable way to test out Linux before you commit to it. That’s fine if you have blank CD-R media or a CD-RW disc, but I haven’t burnt a CD in years and have no blanks at present.
That was also the biggest reason I had problems. Using a USB Flash Drive was an exercise in frustration.
The USB Flash Drive Problem
I do, however, have a few 8 GB and larger USB flash drives, and there are plenty of instructions online for properly formatting the flash drive and getting the bootable ISO installed. And none of them worked on my Power Mac G5. I would spend hours trying this, that, and the other thing. Formatting the flash drive was the easy part; installing the ISO and creating a bootable system stumped me.
The only method I found that worked for creating a bootable USB flash drive with Lubuntu on it required me to use Etcher, a freeware app that takes an ISO and creates a bootable flash drive from it. However, Etcher doesn’t run on PowerPC Macs. Nor does it run on my Intel Macs with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. I had to use one of my Macs with OS X 10.11 El Capitan installed, and that did the job.
In other words, you need a fairly modern Mac to create the bootable flash drive you need to launch Linux on PowerPC Macs.
I formatted the flash drive as FAT, exFAT, HFS+, Apple Partition Map, GUID Partition Map, and Master Boot Record. Etcher dutifully imaged the ISO file to the flash drive. But it wouldn’t boot.
Ppc For Mac Pro
The key is to format the flash drive using Master Boot Record and FAT. Those are not the default settings, so you’ll have to find them in your version of Disk Utility.
But It Won’t Boot
I’ve been a spoiled Mac user since 1986, and if I’d had a CD-R or DVD-R, this would have been easy. Start your Mac, hold down the C key, and it will boot from whatever is in your optical drive. That goes back to the first Macs with built-in CD-ROM drives. It’s easy, but there’s nothing nearly as easy for booting from a USB flash drive.
Linux On Ppc
On most Macs, if you hold down the Option key (marked Opt on some Mac keyboards, Alt on Windows keyboard) at startup, your Mac will present you with all the bootable options on your computer. On my Power Mac G5, the options are OS X 10.4.11 Tiger, 10.4.11 Tiger Server, and 10.5.8 Leopard.
If I’d had an external USB or FireWire drive, it would have shown up as well. But no matter what I did, the USB thumb drive never showed up as an option. I couldn’t boot from it in the traditional way.
Whatever the reason, my last generation Power Mac G5 will only boot from the flash drive if I startup in Open Firmware. Hold down Cmd, Opt, O, and F at startup and hold them down until text appears on the upper left corner of your display. Your modern Mac be in Open Firmware (OF, as in two of the keys you hold down to boot into it). OF is a low-level operating system with a command line interface, like the Apple II+ at work that was the first computer I used, the Commodore VIC-20 and 64 that I used at home because they fit my low-end budget, and that Zenith Z-151 PC running MS-DOS 3.3 circa 1987.
Launch OF. That can take a while, as OF tests all your system memory every time you launch it. Just hold those 4 keys down until OF tells you to let go of them.
As long as you only have one bootable USB device, such as the flash drive with Lubuntu or an external CD-ROM or DVD drive, you can type in the following to boot from that device on a dual-core Power Mac G5:
and then hit Return or Enter. That worked perfectly with my Late 2005 Power Mac G5, but it would not work with my older 2.0 GHz dual-processor Power Mac G5s no matter what I did, and I didn’t bother to try it on an iMac G5.
If you have more than one bootable device, type devalias at the prompt, hit Return, and you will see a lengthy list of devices like this.
That was a bit of a rabbit trail for me. In the end I found the command that let me boot from the front USB port on my older Power Mac G5 – these are all equivalent:
boot usb2/[email protected]:2,yaboot
But that only worked on one of my Power Mac G5s. The other three I tried simply would not boot from the flash drive. This was an exercise in frustration!
Making a Bootable Linux Hard Drive
Ppc For Mac Os
Once I saw that Lubuntu ran decently on my ancient Power Mac G5 Dual, I knew that I wanted to install it on a hard drive so it would boot more quickly and allow me to add more software. That would have been easy on the Dual, but I didn’t want to reformat either of its hard drives, so I went through my small collection of older Power Mac G5 models in search of one that would boot from the flash drive so I could easily reformat its hard drive and install Lubuntu.
When I finally got one up and running – the third one I tried (the first one wouldn’t even boot, the second wouldn’t boot from the flash drive) – I started the installer. I really appreciate the concise, thorough, helpful explanations of what each choice means. It’s the kind of polish we don’t see with the Mac OS; Apple knows that most of us just want it to run. Ubuntu knows that we are interested in making informed decisions and that it needs to educate us through the process. Nice!
Or so it seemed. Then it wanted to upgrade from 14.04 to 16.04, but every time I tried to do that, it nattered at me about removing certain files using sudo and compressing other files – neither of which I am able to do. How can I remove 35.6 M of files when I don’t even know what’s necessary?
Okay, I should have just started with the Lubuntu 16.04 ISO, but I didn’t know it at the time. If you want to try Linux on a PowerPC Mac, choose the 16.04 Long Term Release (LTR) version and be done with big upgrades until the next LTR version, probably in April 2018.
Mac Os X 10.4.6 Iso
If you’re just experimenting, you might want to use Lubuntu 17.04. And if you’re patient, you might want to wait until April when Lubuntu 18.04 LTR is due.
Lesson Learned: Burn a Disc Instead!
I wanted you to understand the frustration of trying to do things with a USB flash drive before telling you to bite the bullet and burn a DVD-R disk with the distro of your choosing. You can burn a CD-R, but that usually means trimming the Linux distro to fit on a disc. With DVD-R you’ve got lots of room for distros approaching 1 GB in size.
And you don’t have to use Open Firmware at all.
Booting from the DVD-R was a breeze after all the frustration I had to deal with creating a bootable flash drive and then actually booting from it. I wiped the 80 GB drive in a 2.0 GHz dual-processor Power Mac G5 with 3 GB RAM and installed Lubuntu. I ended up with a very nice, friendly, functional Linux machine that lets me run the latest version of Firefox on a 2005 Power Mac that was left behind with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard shipped in August 2009.
Is It Practical?
There are two questions to address here: Is it practical to continue using PowerPC Macs in 2018? And is it practical to run Linux on PowerPC Macs instead of OS X 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard?
For those who have a Power Mac G5 Quad, the last and most powerful PowerPC Mac ever, the answer is a resounding yes. With four cores running at 2.5 GHz, you’ve got comparable power to the earliest 4-core Mac Pro. This is lustworthy hardware, although not especially practical in terms of the current it draws.
Dual-processor and dual-core Power Mac G5s are competent performers, and the faster dual-processor Power Mac G4 machines are solid workhorses as well with decent amounts of power. I wouldn’t want to use a Power Mac below 800 MHz or so with Tiger or Leopard, but dual 733 MHz or faster CPUs work well enough.
There may be tasks where processing power isn’t an issue, perhaps a home file server or web server, and there even a 233 MHz iMac G3 may provide all the power you need. Using MAMP, Tiger and Leopard can be configured as Unix servers.
If you’re wed to Mac software, Linux probably isn’t going to be on our daily driver Mac. There is a whole learning curve going to a different operating system and using primarily free open source software that may have the power of commercial apps – but you need to figure out how to access it.
But if you want to set up a machine with an up-to-date operating system and browser that can be used more like a Chromebook than a Mac, Linux could be for you. Firefox is a staple in the Linux world, and the latest version is fast with a reduced memory footprint. I can run it on my Power Mac G5 Dual nicely. Not as nicely as a 3 GHz Core i3 iMac, but nicely nonetheless.
Honestly, I would go the triple-boot route. Today I put separate Tiger and Leopard partitions on any G4 or G5 Mac I set up, usually with Leopard getting 2-3 times as much space as Tiger, depending on the size of the hard drive. To learn to live in the Linux world, I would go with two hard drives when possible – one just for Linux, which likes to partition its hard drive just so – and one with partitions for Tiger and Leopard.
Facebook is a remarkably bloated environment, and you’ve probably been spoiled with modern hardware or the mobile version. Even on my dual-core 2.3 GHz G5, Facebook is frustratingly slow. You can really speed it up by going to m.facebook.com instead of www.facebook.com. That puts you in the mobile version, which has its own drawbacks but runs a lot faster than the desktop version.
Ppc For Macbook Pro
Don’t try to do it on your own. We’ve created a helpful Facebook group of people who have managed to get Linux running on PowerPC hardware and those who are learning how. Linux on PowerPC Macs was invaluable in helping me get this far.
keywords: #ppclinux #linuxonmac
short link: https://goo.gl/anff6h