Difference between revisions of "MacBuild Tips 'n Tricks"

From FreekiWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Line 612: Line 612:
==Playing YouTube videos on Ubuntu==
==Playing YouTube videos on Ubuntu==
This technique comes from http://psubuntu.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=765
This technique comes from http://psubuntu.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=765

Revision as of 16:17, 3 April 2010


This document is a work in progress, and represents things most recently known or discovered through experimentation and searching the literature (aka google). Feel free to update any section if you find better solutions, answers, information, etc.

Airport activation

Airport cards may not be recognized at installation time, or if a replicated hard drive is installed. Usually all that is required is to do sudo modprobe airport from the command line for one time activation, and adding airport to /etc/modules for persistent boot time activation.

Airport Extreme activation

Airport Extreme cards use the bcm43xx driver, but the required firmware is not present in the driver as distributed. The process for acquiring and installing the software is described in here. It says, essentially, to install the package bcm43xx-fwcutter, which should download and install the appropriate firmware. My experience is that that may or may not work. An alternative process is described in the README.gz file in the bcm43xxx-fwcutter package, which shows up in /usr/share/doc/bcm43xx-fwcutter/. This approach requires the use of the MacOSX Airport Extreme driver file. Where that is and what to do with it is explained in the README. After installation the wireless ethernet interface must be activated in the Network Manager.

Audio setup on Clamshell iBook/LCD iMac (iLamp)/Powerbook

The audio device in Clamshell iBooks is named DACA, and the installaion process does not recognize it, so no driver is installed by default. To fix this, edit the file /etc/modules as root (sudo) and add snd-powermac as the last line. Here is an example with the line added:

# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded
# at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with "#" are ignored.


The one you edit may be slightly different, and may not have any other module names at all. This also works for things that aren't Clamshell iBooks, like Powerbooks and first-gen LCD iMacs.

Audio setup on Digital Audio/Quicksilver

There is a related bug at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux-source-2.6.20/+bug/87652.
There are a couple of suggested workarounds (OSS emulation, snd-aoa vs. snd-powermac) but no definitive
fix for feisty.  One of the entries there suggests that the bug may be fixed in one of the kernel 2.6.22-7
versions.  I don't know if that is available as a backport for Feisty. - tonyr 09aug07.

Sometimes when installing Ubuntu on G4 Digital Audio or Quicksilver models, audio doesn't work. No sound comes out under any circumstances, and attempts to open sound controls report that no audio device is present.

The last two generations of G4 Tower models use audio hardware nicknamed Tumbler, and use a special audio output jack that provides power to external speakers. One result of this is that special speakers designed to be used with these machinex are required. Another result, one that concerns us here, is that Ubuntu installation may fail to find any audio device. In that case no audio module is configured and alsamixer parameters controlling audio output are wrong.

To check that no audio device has been detected, you can run alsamixer from a terminal command line, or double-click the speaker icon in the top menu bar (the icon may not be there if no audio device was detected). In either case, you should see some kind of error message or advisory saying that no audio device is configured or detected.

To detect the audio device one-time, on a terminal command line type

sudo modprobe snd-powermac

If that didn't complain, you should shortly see an advisory in the lower right corner of the display indicating that a new audio device is detected.

To make that happen at boot time, edit the file /etc/modules as root (sudo) and add snd-powermac as the last line. Here is an example with the line added:

# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded
# at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with "#" are ignored.


The one you edit may be slightly different, and may not have any other module names at all.

At this point there might still be no sound coming form the speaker during a sound test. Use these commands on a terminal command line to modify the audio driver configuration:

sudo amixer sset 'Auto Mute' off
sudo amixer sset 'PC Speaker' on

To make this happen at boot time, edit the file /etc/rc.local as root (sudo) and ad the two lines

amixer sset 'Auto Mute' off
amixer sset 'PC Speaker' on

at the bottom.

Audio setup on Quicksilvers, continued

A kernel rollback is required in order to get audio working on Quicksilvers with our current Ubuntu netinstall. The trick is to change your repositories to Edgy, install the proper kernel, and change your repositories back to Feisty. To set it up properly, run the following commands from the terminal:

sudo sed -i 's/feisty/edgy/g' /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linux-image-2.6.17-12-powerpc
sudo sed -i 's/edgy/feisty/g' /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt-get update

Note: The edgy repositories are no longer located with current ubuntu releases therefore this code will no longer work. If you need edgy packages you might try setting your repositories to old-releases.ubuntu.com/ubuntu. You should be able to do this by editing the /etc/apt/sources.list file and substituting "old-releases" for "us.archive" or "security" as well as "feisty" to "edgy" in the repository addresses. To facilitate returning to the Feisty repositories, I usually first save the sources.list file as sources.list.feisty. I then make the feisty to edgy, etc. changes and save the modified file first as sources.list.edgy and then again as sources.list. Then do your apt-get update and install the desired kernel. To return to the original repositories, open the sources.list.feisty file and save it as sources.list, run another apt-get update and you're done. You may also need to uncomment the two lines for the universe repositories in order to download gnome-ppp. This kernel rollback procedure has also worked to successfully fix eMacs that exhibited choppy audio and video playback. RoyM 6-12-2008

Beep Codes

According to http://www.techbase.iofm.net/tips/applemac/tip1.htm, POST failues produce the following beep patterns:

On an iMac, Blue and White G3, Power Mac G4 (PCI Graphics), and PowerBook G3 Series (Bronze keyboard):

1 beep  = No RAM installed/detected.
2 beeps = Incompatible RAM type installed.
3 beeps = No RAM banks passed memory testing.
4 beeps = Bad checksum for the remainder of the boot ROM.
5 beeps = Bad checksum for the ROM boot block.

On a Power Mac G4 (AGP graphics):

1 beep  = no RAM installed.
2 beeps = incompatible RAM types.
3 beeps = no good banks.
4 beeps = no good boot images in the boot ROM (and/or bad sys config block).
5 beeps = processor is not usable. 

CD Audio Skip

iMacs/PowerMacs with CPU speeds of 40MHz or less and with older CD drives seem to have problems playing CDs using SoundJuicer and RythmBox, the CD ripper and CD player installed by default with Ubuntu. Playback audio will 'skip', producing gaps of a few seconds, and may even cease altogether. Loren has been able to solve this by replacing CD drives in slot loading iMacs and PowerMac Towers. Replacement drives are not always available for iMacs, however. Another solution is to install gxine from the Applications->Add/Remove menu and modify some of its configuration parameters.

gxine configuration parameters are found in the user's home directory, ~/.gxine/config. There may be a global/default version of this somewhere but I haven't looked for it. The parameters for tweaking are media.audio_cd.drive_slowdown, default 4, revised to 0 or 12, and engine.buffers.audio_num_buffers, default 230, revised to 500 (maybe unnecessary). It turns out there is also a visualization parameter there, which can be set to do nothing: gui.post_plugins.audio_visualisation, default goom, revised to None. These revisions make the default operation permanent.

The remaining issue is how to make gxine do the right thing as the default audio auto-startup application. Default preferred applications can be modified through the System->Preferences->Removeable Drives and Media->Multimedia menu. In the Audio CD Disks command box, replace the existing sound-juicer -d %d entry with gxine cdda:/ , which works for commercial audio CDs.

The modified sections of ~/.gxine/config look like this:

  • for cd_drive.slowdown
# slow down disc drive to this speed factor
# numeric, default: 4
  • for audio_num_buffers
# number of audio buffers
# numeric, default: 230
  • for audio_visualization
# Default audio visualisation plugin
# { None  fftgraph  oscope  fftscope  goom }, default: 1

<still needs a set of step-by-step cli instructions - tr 15may07>

CD Eject keyboard key problem

Some Apple keyboards have a dedicated Eject key in the upper right corner, marked with an Eject icon. Macintosh laptop keyboards have this feature. Mac OSX keymapping arranges for this to work correctly. Ubuntu PPC Linux does not. The Eject key is in the position that the F12 key normally occupies (and indeed actually is the F12 key). Older iMac keyboards do not show the Eject icon on the F12 key, but I believe that it still functions as the Eject key under Mac OS.

Getting the Eject/F12 key to act as the Eject key under Ubuntu presents a problem, because Ubuntu PPC Linux sets up 3button mouse emulation by default, and assigns F12 as the mouse right-click key. The mouse emulation part can be reversed by uninstalling the mouseemu package and allowing the right- and middle-click keys to default to something else by removing the mouse button definitions in /etc/sysctl.conf. Unfortunately the 'something else' in this case means Fn+Apple for right-click and Fn+Option for middle-click. The older Mac keyboards, the ones that came with the fruit colored iMacs, do not have a Fn key. The general solution for FG MacBuild would have a default set of keys or key combinations for right- and middle-click functionality that do not conflict with the Eject/F12 key and are available on the older iMac keyboards.

In the meantime, the problem can be solved in one of two ways. The simplest way is to use an extended keyboard that has the marked Eject key in the F12 position, and disable the Eject keyboard shortcut in System->Preferences->Keyboard_Shortcuts. To disable the shortcut, click on the Eject definition line and press the delete/backspace key.

The other way is for the keyboards that do have the Fn key and the marked Eject key, and is a little more involved. The steps are to remove the mouseemupackage, edit the /etc/sysctl.conf file to remove the Ubuntu mouse key emulation definitions, and redfine the F12 key as the Eject key.

  • Remove the mouseemu package with Synaptic (System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager), or from a terminal do
    • sudo apt-get remove mouseemu
  • Backup the original /etc/sysctl.conf and make a new copy
    • sudo mv /etc/sysctl.conf /etc/sysctl.conf.orig
    • sudo mv /etc/sysctl.conf.orig /etc/sysctl.conf
  • Edit /etc/sysctl.conf with your favorite editor. Find the lines at the bottom that start with the line '# Emulate the middle mouse button'. Comment out the last two lines of that section by inserting a '#' at the beginning of the line. At that point the section should look like this:
# Emulate the middle mouse button with F11 and the right with F12.
dev/mac_hid/mouse_button_emulation = 1
#dev/mac_hid/mouse_button2_keycode = 87 
#dev/mac_hid/mouse_button3_keycode = 88
  • Redefine the Eject key with Keyboard Shortcuts:
    • Select System->Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts
    • Find the line that says Eject. It should have the value defined as 0xcc.
    • Press the Space bar to start the redfinition, then press the F12 key. F12 should then appear at the definition.
    • Close the Keyboard Shortcuts window.

At this point, pressing the F12 key should make the Eject icon appear on the Display (you may need to have a CD actually inserted for this to work), and Fn+Option and Fn+Apple should function as the middle- and right-mouse-click keys.

All of this can be avoided by attaching a three-button USB mouse, which should 'just work' in any case.

Defeating Mac OSX Security

Some Macs come in with the security level set so that booting from a CD does not work, and/or access to OpenFirmware with the key combination Apple+Option+O+F requires a password. A late OpenFirmware update available as of MacOS 10.3 (I think) allows some security features including OpenFirmware password protection, boot device restriction, and keyboard boot options lockout. There are two methods to defeat this protection that I have found to work.

  1. The easiest way, which may not always work, is to change the amount of RAM by adding or removing some, then boot and reset PRAM by pressing Apple+Option+P+R and wait for three chimes. [This one worked on a G4/450 tower on 16aug07 - tr]
  2. A more involved way is to drain the charge maintaining the PRAM state. Remove power, open up the box, remove battery, leave it for 15min to half-hour. Press PMU for 5sec, press power for 5sec, replace battery, close it up, power-up with PRAM reset Apple+Option+P+R, wait three chimes). Let boot proceed as far as it will. Power down, try OpenFirmware again.

Desktop applets fail to initialize

If the system clock is not set correctly, there may be several failure notices during Desktop initialization reporting applet startup errors. The last one is usually about Nautilus being unusable. The fix for this is to set the system clock correctly. See #Set the clock to UTC(GMT) time.

Dual Boot OSX and Ubuntu (NOT DONE YET)

This is a stub. Please feel free to give this article love and attention if you know more about this topic than we have here.

What Is Needed

  • Mac OS X CD
  • Ubuntu CD

Installing OS X

  1. Insert your Mac OS X CD
  2. Turn on your Mac
  3. Hold down the "C" key after you hear the ping
  4. When you can hear the cd drive start to spin up release the "C" key
  5. Wait for the computer to boot up from the cd
  6. When the installer window comes up, follow the onscreen instructions to install Mac OS X. Be sure to format the hard drive as Unix instead of Mac OS X Extended. This way Ubuntu will be more likely to reconize the partition.

Once the installation has finished click restart then insert the Ubuntu cd.

Installing Ubuntu

Dual Processor G4 tower

A dual processor G4 power should have Ubuntu version 7.04 (Feisty) installed. Currently the only installation method available is with the PPC Alternate CD (eventually there should be a replication image for this).

After the installation completes, the SMP (multiprocessor) version of the kernel must be installed manually with Synaptic (GUI tool) or apt-get (cli tool).

To install with Synaptic from the top menu bar select System->Administration->Synaptic Package Manager. Select and install the package linux-image-powerppc-smp, and reboot.

To install the package using apt-get use these commands:

sudo apt-get install linux-image-powerpc-smp
sudo ybin -v

DVD play with ogle (NOT DONE YET)

DVD play failure, strange color effect (NOT DONE YET)

Firmware upgrade (NOT DONE YET)

G4 Cube Sound

With Hardy (8.04LTS) installed, no sound device is detected. Adding snd-powermac to /etc/modules does not fix the problem. So far, we just note that "sound is not supported with this version of Ubuntu" in the notes section of the printme sheet and send the computer to the store.

iMac auto restart after software shutdown

Some iMacs will automatically restart when powered down using the Desktop shutdown button. This is a known hardware problem that Apple is aware of. It appears to be related somehow to the USB controller, and the recommended workaround is to unplug the Keyboard/Mouse USB connector after the shutdown process has started.

Forcing power down with the front panel power button is a brute force methid that works, but could leave some file system corruption (ext3 file systems, the default in Ubuntu Linux since Dapper, reduce the risk of this).

Keyboard shortcuts

Laptop/Notebook recycling

Laptops and notebooks that are to be recycled should have the hard drive and battery removed and the display separated from the rest of the body. The hard drive goes to advanced testing, or can be permanently disabled by MacBuild before recycling. The display does not need to be removed from the cover, and goes into a Gaylord (Huge Cardboard Box) currently right outside of the Black Hole. The rest of the body needs no further disassembly, and goes in a Gaylord currently beside Monitor Testing. The battery goes into the battery recycling mailer carton, sealed in a plastic bag (should be some in the carton).

Mac Mini G4 problems with DVI displays

Mac Minis don't work with DVI displays with an out-of-the-box install. In order to make it work with DVI displays, it is necessary to boot off of a live CD using the following parameters in the bootloader:

live-nosplash-powerpc modprobe ide-core video=radeonfb:1920x1200-24@60

It will take the system a while to boot. When you finally get to a live desktop, go ahead and install Ubuntu by clicking on the install icon and answering the prompts. The parameters passed on to the system in the bootloader will carry over into the installation process, and the system should work just fine with DVI monitors once the process is finished.

MacBook intermittent shutdown problem (NOT DONE YET)

Modem not detected by gnome-ppp

Somewhere along the way Apple started using Conexant based modem devices, and the driver was proprietary. The exact chronology is not clear, but the result is that Ubuntu Linux on some Mac platforms, especially G3/G4 laptops and some later G4 towers, will not register a modem device, even though the hardware is really there. Yep, that's right, no internal modem. There is no intrinsic solution at this time. The only possible workaround at this time is to use an external modem, but that has not been tested yet in Free Geek MacBuild.

Note that the modem driver is not missing in MacOS X.

There is a HowTo post in the Apple PPC section of the Ubuntu Forums describing a fix to get the modem working on some G3 iMacs if it is not detected at installation time. See http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=355205. This particular solution does not appear to be related to the Conexant driver issue.

PCI sound cards in Macs

PCI sound cards do work in Ubuntu, but it requires a change to /etc/modules in order to work properly. Just remove/comment out the snd-powermac entry in that file, save your changes, and restart.

PCI video in AGP tower (NOT DONE YET)


PMU stands for Power Management Unit. There is a small (usually) gray button on a metal box about 1/4" square somewhere on the logic board. Some G3 B&W PowerMacs have two such buttons together near the PRAM battery. On those machines the button is called CUDA instead of PMU.

[this section needs the reference diagram links for the PMU from texas_macman - tr 1 aug07]


A successful POST will result in a 'chime' tone from the speaker/speakers. One or more 'beep' tones indicate a hardware problem. See Beep Codes

PowerBook memory slot failure (NOT DONE YET)

Power-On failure

Sometimes a Mac will fail to power up when the power button is pressed. If the PRAM battery has been dead for a relatively long time, it is possible that the machine has 'forgotten' how to turn on. This can be tested and possibly fixed by replacing the battery and pressing the PMU for about 1 second. See #PMU/CUDA above for information about locating the PMU button.

Power supply testing

There is no tester for Mac power supplies. Apple publishes power supply testing manual procedures for some PowerMac towers:

This link, MDD Power Supply Mods, indicates that the Mirrored Drive Door PowerMac (G4 MDD Quicksilver) is different from other Quicksilver models.

PRAM (Backup) Batteries

The PRAM battery for iMacs and G3/G4 towers is a smallish cylindrical 3.6v (or 3.7v) lithium battery. Some are green-and-white, some are red/silver/yellow, some are blue-and-white, some are purple-and-green. A suggested good battery voltage range is 3.39v to 3.69v. A battery showing a lower voltage is considered 'bad', and should be recycled.

All G3 ibooks and G4 12" ibooks do not have a PRAM battery. They use a capacitor to supply enough power to maintain the clock and PRAM contents for about 20 seconds while changing a system battery. This is documented at http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=58445 and http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86181 .

Set the clock to UTC(GMT) time

The system and hardware clocks should be automatically set during a CD installation on a machine connected to the internet. The usual FG MacBuild process clones an existing hard drive rather than installing Ubuntu from scratch, and so will not set the clocks automatically.

If a Mac OSX hard drive is installed temporarily, setting the clock with the the Date&Time Preferences should set both system and hardware clocks reasonably. Some time zone adjustment may be necessary after Ubuntu is installed.

There are two cli commands that are used to set the clock, even when the applet failure messages occur. The system time is originally set to UTC time, and then then the hardware clock is updated from that setting. In a terminal enter the commands

sudo date -u MMDDHHMMYYYY
sudo hwclock -uw


MM    - two digit month
DD    - two digit day
HH    - two digit hour
MM    - two digit minute
YYYY  - four digit year

Note that the date/time needs to be UTC(GMT) time, which is +7 hours from PDT, or +8 hours from PST, and the HHMM part is in 24-hour military format (e.g. 4:15PM is 1615 in 24-hour format).

The MacBuild process allows for a Linux Rescue CD (it's currently a Finnix CD) to be used to boot the system before any other software installation to verify POST and configuration. This Linux is command-line only, and can also be used to set the clock. The second command is slightly different in this case, clock vs. hwclock:

sudo date -u MMDDHHMMYYYY
sudo clock -uw

Time keeps resetting after being set properly

Sometimes Open Firmware will keep time differently than the operating systems (e.g. local instead of UTC). This usually results in the operating system changing its clock a few hours ahead or behind what it had originally been set to. Typically all that needs to be done in the clearing of parameter RAM (PRAM) and the resetting of the system's NVRAM. The PRAM can be reset by holding the Option + Apple+P+R keys during startup, and release once you hear the startup chime cycle three times.

The NVRAM can be reset by booting into Open Firmware (hold the Option + Apple+O+F keys during startup, and release once you see the Open Firmware screen) and running the following:


After that, just set the clock as normal.

Time since last check message shows huge number of days at boot

Sometimes after installing a repicated hard drive into a refurbished Mac, the boot process will report (in white text on a black screen) that a file system check has not been performed in several thousand days, usually referring to /dev/hda3. This is a failure in the replication process somehow, and should really be fixed in the replication script. There is a relatively simple command line fix. Use the command tune2fs to set the superblock information on the disk partition to today's date. Here is an example:

sudo tune2fs -T 20070530 /dev/hda3

The date part is a six digit string in the form YYYYMMDD (yead, month, day), and the partition is the one mentioned in the original boot time message. You can verify that the last check time has been updated, also using tune2fs like so:

sudo tune2fs -l /dev/hda3

Look for the line that says Last checked:.

Ubuntu splash

A normal CD installation of Ubuntu may result in the normal Ubuntu startup splash screen not being displayed. When the system is first booted after installation, the display remains dark for a long time until the small rotator 'waiting' icon appears right before the login screen. This could give the impression that 'nothing is happening'.

The fix:

  1. edit /etc/usplash.conf (with nano or vi)
  2. change xres=800 to xres=1024
  3. change yres=600 to xres=768
  4. save and exit
  5. on the command line run sudo update-initramfs -u'
    • this takes about a minute
  6. on the command line run sudo ybin -v
  7. restart

This fix should already be applied in the hard drive replication images. It has never been made to work with the 17" Studio Display ADC monitors, whose default resolution seems to be 1600x1200.

Video setup on Clamshell iBook

The video display on Clamshell iBooks has a maximum resolution of 800x600, but for some reason the installation sets a maximum resolution of 1024x768. After installation is complete, the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf must be modified to remove 1024x768 from the Modes lines, and set the Default Color Depth to 16. The usplash resolution is also set to 1024x768 byt the installation, so the file /etc/usplash.conf must be modified to reflect that, also. After modifying /etc/usplash.conf, you must run the command

sudo update-initramfs -u

Video problems - "No Framebuffer Device found"

When installing Hardy, sometimes you get a failure to start X and when running startx you get errors that say "No Framebuffer Device found". A solution for this on a G4 Cube is discussed at http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=772808. The following changes are made to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file: Add HorizSync and VertRefresh to the Monitor section, Add a Modes SubSection to the Screen section and add a DRI section.

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Configured Monitor"
HorizSync 28-51
VertRefresh 43-60
Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Monitor "Configured Monitor"
Device "Configured Video Device"
SubSection "Display"
Modes "1024x768"
Section "DRI"
Mode 0666

Video problems - Screen Resolution messed up and desktop won't load

If you happen to change your screen resolution to a setting that won't display there is a way to get back to the defaults. Gnome stores the settings in the user home directory in a hidden directory: ~/.config/monitors.xml. Simply delete the monitors.xml file and restart gdm (or reboot) and your screen resolution should be back at the default.

Video setup on eMac

Installation does not configure X correctly, and reconfiguring does no better. A manual fix is required. In the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf, replace the Monitor section with this:

Section "Monitor"
       Identifier      "iMac"
       Option          "DPMS"
       HorizSync       71-73
       VertRefresh     70-140
       Modeline "1024x768" 99.190000 1024 1072 1168 1376 768 769 772 810 +HSync +VSync
       Modeline "1280x960" 122.240000 1280 1328 1424 1696 960 961 964 1002 +HSync +VSync     

In the Screen section, add "1280x960" to each Modes line, like this:

Modes      "1280x960" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

When using Intrepid (8.10) an xorg.conf file is not automatically generated. You must run sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg in order to generate an xorg.conf file. You can then make the above modifications.

On some eMacs, you'll also need to replace the Screen section with this:

Section "Screen" 
       Identifier  "Default Screen"
       Monitor     "Configured Monitor"
       Device      "Configured Video Device"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1280x960" "1152x870" "1024x768"

A few eMacs, primarily the ones with small speaker holes, will require a different xorg.conf changes. the three changes are listed below: Add an option line to the Device section:

Section "Device"
Option  "ConnectorTable" "100,1,0,1,108,2,0,1"

Also, add a Modeline to the Monitor section:

Modeline "1024x768" 99.07 1024 1088 1200 1376 768 769 772 809 +HSync +VSync

Finally change the Screen section to include a Display subsection:

SubSection "Display"
   Viewport  0 0
   Depth     24
   Modes     "1024x768"

Video setup on Flower Power iMac

iMacs with 500MHz, 600MHz, and 700MHz processors, the so called Flower Power models, have a 750cx version CPU and ATI Rage 128 Pro Ultra video controller. After a normal Edgy alternate CD install, video response is extremely sluggish. For example, mouse cursor movements lag several seconds behind physical mouse movement.

A fix is suggested in http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=191080. It consists of the following changes to /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

NOTE: In Feisty, it is apparently sufficient to just add the "Option ForcePCIMode" line to the 
      Device Section. - tr 1aug07 
      In Hardy you just need to change UseFBDev to false and add the Option "ForcePCIMode" "true"  
       line.  RoyM 1/29/2009
  • in the Module section
Section "Module"
# Load "i2c"
# Load "bitmap"
# Load "ddc"
Load "dri"
Load "extmod"
Load "freetype"
Load "dbe"
Load "glx"
# Load "int10"
# Load "type1"
# Load "vbe"
  • in the Device section
Section "Device"
Identifier "ATI Technologies, Inc. Rage 128 Pro Ultra TR"
Driver "ati"
Option "UseFBDev" "false"
Option "SWcursor" "true"
Option "ForcePCIMode" "true"

The normal way to apply these changes is

  1. CTL+ALT+F1 to use a virtual terminal (command line interface)
  2. login as oem
  3. command: sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop
  4. make a backup copy of xorg.conf, e.g. cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.`date +%Y%m%d%k%m%S`
  5. edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf, for example, sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  6. modify the Module and Device sections as indicated above
  7. save the file and exit
  8. command: sudo /etc/init.d/gdm start

The normal Ubuntu login page should appear with much better video response.

Note that the original problem is observed in Ubuntu Edgy (Release 6.10).  ATI video
driver installation is different in Ubuntu Feisty (7.04), in that a best driver version
is selected to match the detected video controller.  The problem may not be present with 
Feisty, but that has not been tested as of 15May2007.

Install Gutsy on certain PPC models

Step by step notes for installing Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy on PPC computers. These steps have been tested on the following Macintosh models:

PowerMac Quicksilver
*add additional models here*

1. Start by installing Gutsy using the Alternate install cd. Installing from the Live CD is trickier and doesn't always work.

2. Reboot when prompted by the installer. The first reboot can take a VERY long time. Be patient. Eventually the BusyBox prompt will come up.

3. At the BusyBox prompt type the following:

> modprobe ide_core
> exit

If there is a zip drive installed and the blank prompt doesn't appear again, hit <return> one more time before typing > exit.

4. Press <Control>+<Option>+<F1> BEFORE the log in screen comes up. This will bring up the terminal without loading Gnome.

5. Log in with the username and password used during the install.

6. To prevent some bugs from becoming an issue, set the hardware clock to UTC:

$ sudo date -u mmddHHMMYYYY
$ sudo hwclock -uw

7. Edit modules to include ide_core:

$ sudo nano /etc/initramfs-tools/modules

Add ide_core to the bottom of the list.

Press <Control>+<O> to save then <Control>+<X> to exit.

8. Add snd-powermac to kernel modules

$ sudo nano /etc/modules

Add snd-powermac to the bottom of the list

9. refresh modules changes to the initramfs file:

$ sudo update-initramfs -u

10. Resolve splash screen resolution issues

11. Fix sound issues by installing smp kernel

$ sudo apt-get install linux-powerpc-smp

12. reboot system:

$ sudo reboot

Installing Hardy on certain PPC models

Hardy will install on G3 iMacs with a little bit of coaxing. Boot to a 8.04-1 install CD (insert CD, restart the computer holding down the C key). Do a normal installation. When the computer automatically restarts after the install you will not see the splash screen and the computer will eventually hang at a blank screen, not allowing you to access an alternate terminal with Ctrl-Alt-F1. To prevent this hanging, during the reboot you need to enter "Linux video=ofonly" at the second boot prompt. After the boot is complete you'll still have a blank screen. Access an alternate terminal with Ctrl-Alt-F1. Log in at the command prompt and edit the xorg.conf file.

$ sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Add two monitor setting lines in the Monitor section

Section "Monitor"
      Identifier       "Configured Monitor"
                       HorizSync          58-62
                       VertRefresh        75-117

While you're here go ahead and edit the usplash.conf file with xres and yres settings so you'll get a splash screen.

$ sudo nano /etc/usplash.conf



Then run the following two commands one after the other before rebooting

$ sudo update-initramfs -u
$ sudo ybin -v

After rebooting you should see a splash screen and you should be able to log in normally. If the login seems to be very slow it may be that you have a "flower power" iMac and will need to make the changes to xorg.conf discussed in the flower power section of this document.

Hardy seems to install fine on iMac G5 models. When installing Hardy (8.04) on QuickSilver macs with the Rage 128 PF/PRO AGP 4x TMDS video card, the only screen resolution available is 800x600. Normally we could run

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

and manually select resolutions, etc. Starting with the version of xorg that is contained in Hardy, dpkg-reconfigure no longer allows you to choose video options. If you run

$ sudo displayconfig-gtk

you'll get a window where you can choose the monitor model. After choosing the correct monitor, all appropriate screen resolutions should be available. After choosing the desired resolution you'll need to log off and log back in. You may need to go to System -> Preferences -> Screen Resolution in order to select the desired resolution.

The log-in screen may appear with a high resolution with the log-in box off-center. If this is the case try manually changing the resolution specified in the Virtual line in the Screen section of the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to 1024x768 or whatever login screen resolution you desire. Below the Virtual line there will be a Modes line. According to the xorg.conf man page the first valid mode in this list will be the default display mode for startup. You may need to place your desired resolution at the beginning of the Modes line to get the startup resolution you desire.

Section "Screen"
SubSection "Display"
   Depth 24
   Virtual 1024  768
   Modes   "1024x768@75" ...........

iMacG5 Video problems

After installing Hardy on an iMac G5, the computer would hang during boot with a mottled white screen. It turns out that the video card was a Radeon 9600 (RV350 AP). By manually entering Linux nosplash video=ofonly at the second boot: prompt the computer would boot to a log-in screen.

Upon further investigation, it turns out that the /etc/usplash.conf file was blank. When we added xres=1440 and yres=900 to the usplash.conf file and ran sudo update-initramfs -u the machine booted normally and showed a normal splash screen.

Printing Printme sheet

In order to print a computer spec sheet and also add the computer data to the FreeGeek database there are a few steps. From a terminal run

$sudo lshw -xml > printme.xml

This will write a file called printme.xml to the home/oem directory. Next, open the Firefox browser and place data/spec_sheets in the location window and hit return. This will take you to a database navigation window which has a few entries. Click on the New report link. This takes you to a data entry window. Enter your FreeGeek ID number, your function (quality control for example), and change the type of system box to reflect apple. Enter any comments needed into the Notes box (examples could include version of Ubuntu loaded, modems inop in Hardy 8.04, Dual Processor, etc.). Click the Browse button and select the printme.xml file and then click the Create button. This should load the data report. This is a good time to check the report for obvious errors before printing it. Common errors include not identifying that the machine has a dual processor or identifying a CD-R/RW drive as CD-ROM. If you click the edit link you'll be able to add appropriate comments to the Notes box before printing.

To print the report you'll need to first choose a printer. Go to the System>Administration>Printing menu. This should open the Printers window. In Feisty (7.04) go to the Global Settings menu and select Detect LAN Printers. In Hardy (8.04) click in the box to enable "Show Printers Shared By Other Systems". In Intrepid (8.10), You'll need to go to Server > Settings to click on the "Show Printers Shared By Other Systems". Click apply and refresh and you may see the printer named "Double". You may need to close the printing box and then reopen it to get all the printers to show up. This will search for all available network printers. The Double printer should be the default. This is indicated by a green arrow over the printer icon. The Double printer is an HP 5si and is located just to the left of the door as you enter the classroom. To print the report, just choose print from the Firefox File menu.

Errors. Sometimes lshw will output characters to the printme.xml file that cause an XML! error. To fix this you may have to manually edit the printme.xml file.

$sudo nano /home/oem/printme.xml

The characters causing the errors will be highlighted and you can just remove them and save the file. There may be more than one error in the file. Once you've corrected the errors, choose the revised printme.xml file in the firefox database window and you should be able to proceed.

Installing Debian Lenny on Various Macs

Installing Debian Lenny on some Quicksilver G4 macs with choppy video and audio programs seems to solve those problems. We can install Lenny from the network. Start the computer into Open Firmware by holding down the O F Apple and Option keys during start. When you arrive at Open Firmware enter

 $ boot enet:0,yaboot

At the first boot prompt enter lenny to start the Debian installer.

When the installation is complete and the computer reboots it will fail to start X. Go ahead and log in at the command line prompt. You'll need to generate a new xorg.conf file in order to start X. First elevate to root by using su and then enter the following commands.

 # Xorg -configure
 # cp -b /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf
 # exit
 $ startx

This should start the X server and you should be able to log into the desktop.

If sound doesn't work you'll need to add snd-powermac to the /etc/modules file. You may also need to add the following lines to /etc/rc.local:

 $ amixer sset 'Auto Mute' off
 $ amixer sset 'PC Speaker' on

You'll also need to apt-get install lshw to do the printme and vlc to play an audio CD. When you mount an audio CD sound juicer will automatically open. When you click on Play, Sound Juicer will quit. If you try to open Rhythmbox with an audio CD mounted it will also quit. vlc will play audio and video files just fine. Rhythmbox will play mp3 files just fine. Sound Juicer is the default audio disk player and will start when you insert an audio disk. To change the default, from a command line run gconf-editor, select desktop and then gnome and scroll down to volume_manager. Choose autoplay_cda_command and change soundjuicer to vlc. This will now bring up vlc when an audio disk is inserted. To get vlc to open for mp3 or ogg files, simply choose a file of the correct type, right click and open properties. Choose the open with tab and selct vlc. You may have to click the add button to first make vlc available in the list of applications.

On some macs, you may encounter a screen that is stuck at 800x600 resolution. the command displayconfig-gtk isn't present so you may need to apt-get install kde-guidance to gain access to displayconfig. When you run displayconfig-gtk you should be able to configure the display and then you should be able to be able to change screen resolutions.

Remember that if you have a dual processor machine you'll need to apt-get install linux-image-2.6-powerpc-smp to enable the second cpu.

Enabling Wireless Networking on Various Macs with Hardy installed

To enable wireless you'll need to install the driver and firmware. Go to Systems -> Administration -> Hardware Drivers. The Broadcom driver should be listed there and you'll need to click to enable it. If it's not installed you will need to add it. You can do this with Synaptic Package Manager or simply sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter. When it has installed, right click (F12 click) the network icon in the top panel and make sure that wireless networking is enabled. You can then click on the network icon to choose a wireless network - choose freegeek. There are problems with getting wireless networking to work with the Mac Mini and the iMac G5 but these procedures should work for other PPC macs.

CD Drive Not Mounting During Intrepid Install

NOTE: this fix is only for fixing the drive not mounting during installation. This fix does not work for the drive not mounting or the drive not reading discs after installation.

to fix this open a new console window by pressing CTRL+ALT+F2 in the console window you have just opened type "modprobe ide-scsi" then return to the gui by pressing CTRL+ALT+F1

Jaunty video problems on some Quicksilver G4s

When installing Jaunty on some Quicksilvers, the desktop screen resolution was stuck at 800x600. Using Xorg -configure or dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg would not fix the resolution problems. We finally ended up installing Hardy (last Ubuntu version with displayconfig-gtk available) and running displayconfig-gtk to generate an xorg.conf file with modelines, etc. We then copied this file to a thumb drive and copied it over to the Jaunty install. This fixed the resolution problems and we could now select 1024x768.

Installing Jaunty on G3 iMacs

When installing Jaunty on iMac G3s, we need to use the live CD and install from the live desktop. Make sure you use live video=ofonly at the second boot prompt to get to the live desktop. It will be a low resolution graphics desktop. After the installation the system will hang when it tries to reboot. Manually reboot the system, again with video=ofonly. You'll end up at a log-in screen and it'll still be low resolution graphics.

Access an alternate terminal and make the following changes to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. Add the following lines to the "Device" section:

Option "SWcursor" "true"
Option "ForcePCIMode" "true"

Add the frequency ranges to the "Monitor" section:

HorizSync 58-62
VertRefresh 75-117

and add DefaultDepth and SubSection "Display" to the "screen" section:

DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1024x768"

Save your changes and open the /etc/yaboot.conf file. Make sure to remove any video=ofonly references in the append line of both the Linux and old sections. Save your changes.

Run the following commands before rebooting the computer:

sudo update-initramfs -u
sudo ybin -v

After the reboot you should now have a normal desktop when you log-in.

Playing YouTube videos on Ubuntu


This technique comes from http://psubuntu.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=765

First install mplayer and the mplayer plugin:

sudo apt-get install mplayer mozilla-mplayer

Next install the greasemonkey plugin for Firefox browser by going to http://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748 Click the add to Firefox button, proceed with the install and restart firefox when requested.

Next go to http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/50771 and click the install button at the top right of the screen. This will install the youtube without flash auto script. Do the same thing with http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/60977 to get embedded videos working.

You can now go to YouTube and play videos. The first time you try it, you'll get a popup that says that you do not have a suitable codec. Let it search for codecs and install the two gstreamer codecs that it recommends. You may need to restart firefox again but you should now be able to play videos from YouTube. Note: when you click on a video to play, you'll get a quick note that you have an old version of flash installed but this will go away as the video starts to play.

Video screen problem with Jaunty and 20" G5 iMac

A normal Jaunty install will end up with the desktop shifted about 1/4 inch to the right. To fix this install the nouveau driver and specify it in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-nouveau

Then in the Device section of the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file replace whatever is on the Driver line with "nouveau". After a restart your desktop should be correctly displayed.

Jaunty install on G4 iBooks and Powerbooks

When installing Jaunty on a G4 iBook or Powerbook, sometimes the machine will hang with a blank screen during the initial reboot after the install. If this happens, enter Linux nosplash vga=1 at the second boot prompt and you should boot to the desktop. Most times you will not need further changes to enable regular reboots. If it still boots to a blank screen, repeat Linux nosplash vga=1 at the second boot prompt and then modify the /etc/yaboot.conf file. Make sure that the append line reads append="nosplash vga=1" and be sure to run sudo ybin -v after you're done editing the yaboot.conf file.

Hardy install on iSight G5 iMacs

Jaunty install has problems on these G5 iMacs. Instead install Hardy (8.04LTS). If you haven't changed the hard drive, remember to run badblocks. To do this, boot the computer to an installation CD and enter rescue at the prompt. Continue as if you were installing until you get to the partitioner. Then choose "Go Back" and select "execute a shell" from the list. Enter badblocks -wvvf -c3 /etc/sda and return. It will take a number of hours to run badblocks. If there are any bad sectors, reject the hard drive.

Make sure you select install-powerpc64 when you install. After the install you must enter Linux video=ofonly at the second boot prompt to get to the log-in screen. After you log in, edit the /etc/yaboot.conf file, adding video=ofonly inside the quote marks right after quiet splash in both of the "append" lines. Save your changes and run ybin -v and the machine should boot normally from then on out. You should also edit the /etc/usplash.conf screen, adding xres=1440 and yres=900. Remember to run update-initramfs -u after making any changes to the usplash.conf file.

Jaunty install on G5 iMacs

We had been installing Hardy (8.04LTS)on iMac G5s due to problems with later versions. If you install Jaunty using the video=ofonly option it installs just fine and no changes need to be made to the yaboot.conf file.

Setting the date with open firmware

Sometimes the Ubuntu install will fail on the "Select and Install Software" step. If you exit to a menu and restart that step, the install will complete but you'll end up with a system that does not recognize your username and password. One thing that has been shown to prevent this problem is to set the date and time in Open Firmware.

To do this access open firmware by booting the computer while holding down the O, F, Apple and Option keys. The command to set the date and time is:

decimal dev rtc sec min hour day month year set-time

So to set the clock to 10 seconds past 11:15PM on December 31st, 2005, the command would be:

decimal dev rtc 10 15 23 31 12 2005 set-time

The Open Firmware prompt should type ok after this. You can then reboot and do an install and it should not fail at the "select and install software" step.