6 Replies Latest reply: Jun 6, 2013 10:11 AM by FranTer Branched to a new discussion.
123456789abcdefghi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I have a Powerbook g4 and I wanted to try out Ubuntu on it (as a live USB drive0. So, I followed all the directions and have already:

Found Ubuntu 12.04 for PowerPc and put it on a USB thumb drive with nothing else on it

Opened the iso and read up on a few tutorials on how to boot from a usb drive

As the tutorials said, when I booted up I went to OpenFirmware by holding option,command, o, and f.

I then used dev / ls to find my drive and then DEVALIAS to find its short name.

After that, I typed in "boot usb1\disk@1:1;:/install/yaboot" and pressed enter. Some code scrolled quickly across the screen, and then a white screen with a gray "no" symbol (a circle with a line through the middle).


I don't have any DVDs to burn and boot from, just a flash drive. Where did I go wrong, and what other options (in terms of Linux distros and other versions of Ubuntu) do I have. If anyone else has done this successfully, any help would be appreciated.





PowerBook, Mac OS X (10.4.11), 800 MHZ, 768 MB RAM, 40 GB HD
  • 1. Re: Ubuntu on PowerBook G4
    romko23 Level 2 Level 2 (395 points)



    When you downloaded Ubuntu for PowerPC, did you use Disk Utility to copy the image to the USB thumbdrive? You should not be selecting any compression schemes at all. Just use the "Restore" to restore the image to the USB thumbdrive.


    Assuming, this is the only USB device you are using, go into open firmware and type the following:


    devalias or dev /ls = What you will be looking for is anything that says "ud" in it. Lastly, once you find the "ud" type this:


    boot ud:\\:tbxi - this should boot ubuntu, eliminating the need to type "boot usb1\disk@1:1;:/install/yaboot". Remember, you need to look for anything that says: ud,ud1, etc.. ud=ud0 which is the 1st USB device.


    Let me know if this works for you.




    P.S.: I have been booting USB on my PB G4 and PowerPC macs for almost 5 years now.. Its not hard at all.

  • 2. Re: Ubuntu on PowerBook G4
    123456789abcdefghi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    I did all of this except the way you copied the disk image. I'll try that and see if it works.





  • 3. Re: Ubuntu on PowerBook G4
    123456789abcdefghi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ii copied the disk image and did what you said, however I could not find "ud" anywhere in open firmware, so I did it the old fashioned way and still not working. Perhaps I should try an older version of Ubuntu.

  • 4. Re: Ubuntu on PowerBook G4
    stevenwiseguy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am getting exactly the same result as 123456789abcdefghi. I get the circle with the line through the middle. Please let me know if you have solved this problem. I think it could be the iso I am using, or the fact that I didn't use Disk Utility to copy the image to the usb thumb drive. I only have one machine that can run osx and that is my PowerBook G4, which currently has a broken hdd and broken optical drive. So I don't have access to Disk Utility. I am using Windows and have tried 'Rufus', 'UNetbootin' and 'ISO to USB'. None of them worked.


    If you could point me to the iso you have used to create a working installer and whether you used Disk Utility or some other loader like the ones I have mentioned then I would be very greatful.


    Let me know.




  • 5. Re: Ubuntu on PowerBook G4
    stevenwiseguy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I wish you could send PM's on this forum. Like with vBulletin.


    I would send romko23 a message asking him directly how he does it.

  • 6. Re: Ubuntu on PowerBook G4
    FranTer Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Has anybody any reference of this being possible? To boot Linux from USB on a PPC Mac? I haven't read about it, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible.


    I know Linux doesn't boot as OSX from an external firewire CD or drive. But FreeBSD does, but I'm not far in my FreeBSD knowledge so I won't be able to help past the command line. But to there it's really very easy from CD. You may download an USB image specially made for PPC but I don't know if it will boot from USB. If somebody want to try.


    If the PPC Mac is without internal drives I'd rather go for external firewire devices, smaller drives can be had second hand and even firewire CD drives. I got one really cheap and was surprised to find it capable of booting PPC Macs, it's a Dell SEM-Q10E CD drive. I also had another slim drive so I upgraded it to DVD/CDRW combi, but this won't do for all slim drives as I tried another one first which didn't boot.


    In any case I would rather try Lubuntu with the less demanding LXDE desktop than plain Ubuntu. The Ubuntu-family installer requires 750-1000MB RAM depending on what you do, so installing a Linux in the Ubuntu-family requires a powerful computer. In use Lubuntu will be able to get going at 256MB RAM. Installing Debian is easier and less demanding on ressources, but then it's less easy to add software with Debian. To my knowledge for Linux you require an internal CD and/or hard drive, unless someone manages to boot from USB.