ubuntu iBook

I’m writing this post running Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper) on my iBook G4 (1.2Ghz, 768mb, 30GB), with dual-boot to Tiger. Yay for me. Here’s what I did, and how:

  • Partitioning the drive: I wanted to repartition my wee 30GB drive without forcing a complete reinstall of OSX (Tiger) and all my apps/etc. Using this guide I was able to accomplish this, and keep everything unscathed. Impressive. Just follow directions (see clarification note sent in, further down page… Partition sizes are listed in simple MB and GB). Back up anything important first, of course.
  • Installing: Dead simple, download the latest disk .iso for PPC, burn with Toast or Disk Utility. Reboot while holding “c” and follow directions.
  • Airport Extreme: First, beware this guide! Following these steps (admittedly for an older release, but still) sent my healthy install into an endless boot loop. Success came when I used this guide, simply followed every step to the letter, and voila, there it was. Warning: at the “Bookmark this page and reboot” instruction, please know that what may happen is you lose your ethernet connection (I assume this happened to me because my Airport is assigned “eth0” and superceded my Ethernet (eth1). When I restarted, no internet! DOH, until I realized Airport was up and running. Nice.
  • Keyboard/Trackpad: This guy has a simple explanation for how to tweak the “Right Mouse Click” default (F12??) to a more intuitive key/combo… (Hint: Typing “xev” in the terminal will launch a handy utility for determining what key codes are). Successfully remapped right-click to occur when I press “Fn-Ctrl,” much better. Also: Made my “Command” (Apple) keys equivalent to “Control” with tips in this thread. Makes it more familiar to my Mac sense-memories (always hated the pinky stretch Ctrl-Anything requires).

All else (close lid=sleep, battery usage, etc.) seems fine “out of the box.” Trackpad tweaks remain on the to do list, something to get it to “behave” more like it does in OSX, but I’m happy.

ubuntu nudeThis just in: So yeah. Kickin’ it in Ubuntu. Had a moment of doubt, a piece of writing that made me wanna reboot into OSX to finish. So I did. Now I’m back, fiddlin’… See, I’m pretty addicted to an awesome little utility that enables scrolling and right-clicking via taps on the trackpad (on “older” iBooks, like mine). When/if someone writes a similar hack that works in Ubuntu, that will seal the deal. For now, it’s pretty damn smooth sailing… Less and less reason to use OSX (on the laptop, at least; I have a desktop for work stuff, along with a few Win2K workstations).

Okay, so that was overstating things a bit… I mean, I use a network printer. And need clear, crisp fonts. And apps that aren’t (yet) ported to Linux. But besides all that, it’s a hell of a tinker… And a very cool way to make older hardward relevant. Mine isn’t that old yet, tho (running latest Tiger smoothly). A friend is sending a (currently) useless old powerbook, and I’m looking forward to setting that thing straight with some Ubuntu lovin’.