Xubuntu PPC issues

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Plan of Action for Finalizing the Linux PPC Project
  • Fleshing out the Issues Matrix
    • Filling in all cells
    • Linking to existing documentation
  • Identifying and developing documentation and procedures for all known issues
    • Validating issues identified
  • Developing long-term/robust fixes over hacks
  • Developing Mac Build procedures, checklists

Issue Relevance Matrix

Relevance of configuration issue to Mac PPC models
G3 G4 G5
iBook Titanium Powerbook (Al) Mini Lamp Tower iMac Tower
Video:Rage128 Y - Y - - - - - -
Video:Nvidia - - - - Y* - Y - -
Video:Radeon - Y - Y - Y - Y Y
Audio:snd-aoa - Y Y Y
Audio:alsamixer Y
Wireless:BCM4306 Y
Power:CPU scaling/fan control
Power:Battery monitor Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Power:Display sleep/suspend
Input:Right-click Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Input:Single-touch scrolling Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Input:Appletouch smoothing N Y



(Source: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ#ATI_Rage_128_cards)


(Source: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ#Nvidia_cards, Linux_PPC_Testing#Video_Drivers_on_12.22_PowerBooks)

Goal: replace xserver-xorg-video-nv package


1) Remove existing version:

 sudo apt-get purge xserver-xorg-video-nv

2) Either A) install existing package OR B) recompile

A) Install existing package


B) Recompile package

  • Temporarily append 2 lines to /etc/apt/sources.list:
 sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.old
 sudo echo deb http://ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports/ precise universe >> /etc/apt/sources.list
 sudo echo deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise universe >> /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Update build tools:
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install build-essential fakeroot dpkg-dev
  • Create source dir:
 mkdir nv-build
 cd nv-build
 apt-get source xserver-xorg-video-nv
  • Compile (VERIFY VERSION 2.1.17):
 cd xserver-xorg-video-nv-2.1.17
 sudo apt-get build-dep xserver-xorg-video-nv
 dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -b
 cd ..
 sudo dpkg -i ./*.deb
  • Restore original /etc/apt/sources.list:
 sudo mv /etc/apt/sources.list.old /etc/apt/sources.list
 (sudo apt-get update)?

3) Remove and blacklist nouveau driver:

 sudo apt-get remove xserver-xorg-video-nouveau
 sudo echo blacklist nouveau >> /etc/modprobe.conf

Note: certain powerbooks (all 12"?) will appear to work correctly without this change, using the default nouveau driver, but will take intolerably long (e.g 7+ minutes) to boot, leaving various nouveau-related errors in the logs (e.g. /var/log/dmesg).


(Source: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ#Radeon_cards)



(Source: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ#Why_do_I_have_no_sound.3F)

Newer systems (>2005ish?) use audio driver snd-aoa instead of snd-powermac, and it may be incorrectly blacklisted.

To comment out any snd-aoa* references from blacklist:

 sudo sed -i -e "/^snd-aoa/s/^/#/" /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.local.conf

After reboot, audio device(s) should be recognized.


Defaults for alsamixer are set too low, and sound seems not to work. Need to change master channel defaults?



The BCM4306 wireless card is a known troublemaker. However, the b43 driver has vastly improved over the last couple of years and should support this chip without issue. We'll just need to add the appropriate repository.

Run this script. Wifi should then work without rebooting.

Or instead, run the following equivalent in a terminal:

 sudo -i
 cat << EOF >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/b43.list
 deb http://ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports/ precise multiverse
 deb-src http://ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports/ precise multiverse
 apt-get update && apt-get purge -y bcmwl-kernel-source broadcom-sta-common broadcom-sta-source
 apt-get install b43-fwcutter firmware-b43-installer 

And reboot the system.


Battery monitor

To enable the battery monitor for the current session:

 sudo modprobe pmu_battery

To enable it permanently for all sessions:

 sudo echo pmu_battery >> /etc/modules

Then battery monitor should work on reboot.

CPU frequency scaling

(Source: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ#How_can_I_use_powernowd_for_CPU_frequency_scaling.3F)

To reduce CPU power consuption in G3 and G4 laptops, replace the default 'ondemand' kernel governor with 'powernowd'. First, install the powernowd package:

 sudo apt-get install laptop-detect
 wget -P/tmp http://ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports/pool/universe/p/powernowd/powernowd_1.00-1ubuntu5_powerpc.deb
 sudo dpkg -i /tmp/powernowd_1.00-1ubuntu5_powerpc.deb

The powernowd package is also available from the Ubuntu Software Center interface.

Finally, disable the ondemand governor:

 sudo update-rc.d ondemand disable

Display sleep

Input Devices

Right-click emulation

Ubuntu's default right-click is F12, which is unorthodox and inconvenient. To add the customary MacOSX key (control-click), edit the file /etc/default/mouseemu to uncomment the line RIGHT_CLICK="-right 29 272":

 sudo sed -i "/right 29 272/ s/^# *//" /etc/default/mouseemu

Reboot to enable the new right-click mapping.

Single-touch scrolling

Appletouch smoothing

Installation Options

Install using mini-image (CD or netboot) with following options (defaults in parens)

 Keyboard:(no); (English/US); (English/US)
 Hostname: xubuntu-ppc-pbX-Y
 Mirror: (UK); (ports.ubuntu.com); ()
 Username:Default User;  oem
 Password: freegeek; freegeek
 Encrypt Home: (no)
 Timezone=LosAngeles: (yes)
 Partitioning: (Guided,Entire Disk); (SCSI1); yes
 Updates: (no automatic)
 Packages:Xubuntu desktop