Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Installation Procedure: Lubuntu 14.04 LTS on PowerPC (G5 11,2) with Radeon Graphics (Easiest)

This is currently the distribution I recommend.  This version is supported by Lubuntu until April, 2017.  I am working on putting together an install procedure for the most recent LTS version,16.04 LTS, but I am encountering issues which I believe originate from systemd.  

Whenever directions are given to type a command, the command is "in quotes"; do not type the quotations.  

What You'll Need:  

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS PowerPC Install Disk.  You can download here:  Mac (PowerPC) and IBM-PPC (POWER5) desktop image 

Power Mac 11,2 with stock Apple/OF video card installed in the 16X PCIe slot and an AMD Radeon HD card installed in the 8X PCIe slot

You need a monitor connected to both video cards for at least the installation; after the installation the second monitor can be disconnected by following these instructions

For a much faster system, I recommend installing the OS on an SSD; I recommend the OWC Mercury Electra - simply connect the SSD to drive bay A and move your HDD to drive bay B


You want to install Ubuntu 14.04 as the only OS on the system.  All other data will be deleted.  Backup any data you want to keep!  


1) With the install disk in the optical drive, start (or restart) the system.  Press 'C' right after you hear the startup chime.  

2) The system will boot to a CD installation menu on the monitor connected to the stock Apple/OF video card.  The installation and configuration will take place on this screen.  Type "install-powerpc64" and press enter.  

3) The system will load to a "live cd" desktop with one "Install Lubuntu" icon.  Double-click on the install icon to launch the installer.  

4) Proceed through the installer.  Click both options for download/install updates during installation and install proprietary software.  When you get to the partitioning options, I recommend choosing the option that installs Lubuntu as the sole OS.  There seems to be a bug associated with the "Something else" option that may send your system into an infinite loop.  Continue through the install until prompted to restart.  

5) When the system restarts, you will likely boot into a desktop via the stock Apple/OF connected monitor.  If so, press "CTRL + ALT + F2" to log in via text console.  

6) Enter the username and password you specified during the installation.  

7) Type "sudo apt-get remove xserver-xorg-video-fbdev" and press enter.  Enter your password again when prompted.  

8) Type "sudo nano /etc/yaboot.conf" and press enter.  This will open the yaboot configuration file.  

9) Scan the document for "append=". It may say "quite-boot" afterwards. After the "append=" add ""video=offb:off radeon.modeset=1 nouveau.modeset=0"" so the line will read:
append="video=offb:off radeon.modeset=1 nouveau.modeset=0 quite-boot"

10) Type "CTRL + X" to exit the document and press "Y" to save.  

11) Type "ybin -v" and press enter.  This will update the boot loader with the additions you made to the configuration file.  

12) Type "reboot" and press enter to reboot the system.  The system should boot to the desktop on the monitor connected to the Radeon card.  

13) At this point, graphics are displayed through your Radeon via software.  We will download and install a patch for graphic hardware acceleration, which will provide much better performance.  Download the patch here.  Thanks to Christian/Xeno for making this patch available!  

14) Move the file into your /home directory and extract.  You should see a folder named "Mesa10.1".  

15) Open a terminal window (click the menu icon, Accessories, then terminal or similar), and type "sudo cp -R Mesa10.1 /usr/local" and press enter.  Enter your password when prompted.  

16) Then, type "export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/Mesa10.1/lib" and press enter.  

17) To test the patch, you will need the glxgears program; type "sudo apt-get install mesa-utils" and press enter.  

18) When apt has finished installing mesa-utils, type "glxgears" and press enter.  You should see a red gear, a blue gear and a green gear spinning.  If so, you set up the patch correctly.  If you see a blue gear, a cyan gear, and a purple gear, the patch was not set up correctly; repeat instructions 14-18.  

19) After verifying the patch was set up correctly with glxgears, you will need to edit your ".profile" configuration file to use the patch every time you login.  In the terminal window, type "sudo nano .profile".  

20) This will open the .profile configuration file.  At the end of the file, on a new line, type "export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/Mesa10.1/lib", press enter to ensure there is a blank line after your entry, then press "CTRL + X" to exit, and "Y" to save.  

21) Reboot, check glxgears to ensure the gears are still red, blue, and green.  If so, you've successfully installed the patch and have graphic hardware acceleration!  

22) To configure sound, open a terminal window, type "sudo nano /etc/modules" and press enter.  

23) Replace "snd-powermac" with the following:  


24) Reboot - you now have graphic hardware acceleration and sound!  

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