Installation instructions

Let’s get started with installing MintPPC. We first download the
mintppc-cd.iso at the following links:

32-bits MintPPC (G3, G4)

64-bits MintPPC (G5)

The image can be either burned onto a CDROM or dd-ed onto a USB stick. I refer to the internet how to burn CD’s. Flashing USB sticks is quite easy under OSX or Linux with the following command:
dd if=/path/to/mintppc-cd.iso of=/dev/sdx
(x being a number).
Please consult the internet if you want more information on this subject.

Before you continue, make sure that your computer is connected to a stable fast internet connection with an ethernet cable. If the downloading of a package fails during installation, you will have to start the whole thing again.

We then have to boot into the CDROM or the USB. For booting CD’s, you normally hold down the ‘c’ key after the boot chime. The 32-bits installer won’t boot this way though. The solution is to boot into Open Firmware by holding down the “Command,” “Option,” “O” and “F” keys simultaneously as the computer boots, and then at the 0 > prompt, type

boot cd:,\install\yaboot

and then press Return/Enter.

Booting into USB requires some fiddling. Again, there are numerous posts on the internet how to boot from open firmware into USB sticks, normally it’s:
boot usb0/disk@1:2,\\yaboot or:
boot usb1/disk@1:2,\\yaboot

You will see the MintPPC installation menu and then just press enter. The default is good enough for installing MintPPC on G3-G5 machines.

The first thing you need to do is to partition the drive you are going to install MintPPC onto.

In the case of G3,G4 I have the following setup, which I created manually:
#1 32.3 kB Apple driver partition
#2 1.0MB B (flag) boot bootstrap
#3 1.0 GB swap swap swap
#4 39.0 GB ext4 Linux /

It’s important to leave the Apple driver partition from an old Apple OS installation. Create a 1 Mb bootstrap partition for the yaboot installer and create swap space at least the size of your RAM. The fourth partition we will format in ext4 and will give it the / (root) mountpoint.

For G5 it is important to create an ext2 /boot partition. Make the following partition scheme:

Partition #1 should be the 32kb Apple Partition Map.
Partition #2 should be a 1mb NewWorld boot partition flagged as bootable.
Partition #3 should be a 1gb ext2 partition mounted at /boot.
Partition #4 should be a 10 or 20gb ext4 partition mounted at /.
Partition #5 should be a <installed RAM amt. + 500mb> swap partition mounted at swap.
Partition #6 should be a 10 or 20gb+ ext4 partition mounted at /home (size depending on what / how much you want to store within it).

After the partitions are made, the installer will install the base system.

When asked which mirror to use, scroll to the top and select “enter information manually’. You don’t need to do set anything yourself. The installer will then do the apt-setup automatically and add Debian-ports as well as the MintPPC repository and install the right keys.

It will then start installing the rest. At one point it will ask which display manager to use. You can select ‘lightdm’, which looks a bit nicer than lxdm but uses more resources. If you are not sure, just select lightdm. You can always change your mind later when you think that you would like to have the other one.

At one point everything is installed. Debian-installer then tries to install the Grub bootloader, which will fail. Don’t worry! This is to be expected. Grub does not work yet for us PPC users. We will now hack the installation process a bit to our needs. Select ‘execute a shell’ from the menu.

Do the following in case you are installing MintPPC on G3 or G4. When you are in the shell:

cd /tmp
udpkg -i yaboot-installer_1.1.39_powerpc.udeb

You will see something on the screen, not really readable, but it will install yaboot into the right partition, in my case #2. Let yaboot-installer do the magic trick. If this is done, simply go back to the menu by entering:


When you want to install the yaboot bootloader on G5, do the following. Continue without Grub bootloader. Let is all finish, reboot and start up from the MintPPC image again. Now use ‘rescue’. You will be asked where your root resides, this is /dev/sda4. Mount the /boot partition.We are going to install yaboot manually now. Enter ‘Execute a shell in /dev/sda4’ and do the following:

yabootconfig -b /dev/sda2
ybin -v

After you are done, you reboot the system. Continue with the instructions for logging in.

Now select ‘Finish the installation’. It will create the users and clean stuff up.

Then reboot into MintPPC.
People having a G5 with a Radeon video card will experience a problem when booting. X won’t start. Go to a tty (CTRL – ALT – F1 for example) and login as root. Do the following:
apt remove xserver-xorg-video-nouveau
service lxdm restart

Replace ‘lxdm’ with ‘lightdm’ if you chose the default lightdm display manager.

At the display manager (login screen) use your username and password and select ‘Mint-LXDE’ as session.
After logging in, we want to fix the PATH for root:
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin

That’s it folks. Enjoy your MintPPC desktop!