Manual installation MintPPC

As I am not yet able to successfully install MintPPC with an installer medium, I will give some guidance on how to manually install the Mint layer on top of Debian sid. Debian sid can be installed as described in my other post.

We are first going to adapt the /etc/apt/sources.list file:
sudo apt edit-sources
Add the following line:
deb unstable main
Then we update the repo:
sudo apt update
You will see that we will need my public gpg key:
gpg --keyserver --recv-keys D7A223ABAA7CE436
gpg -a --export D7A223ABAA7CE436 | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt update

Now we are going to install MintPPC specific packages and some other packages to install a desktop. As times passes by, I will add more packages to the repository. For the moment we will install these:

sudo apt install

mint-artwork mint-artwork-lxde mint-common \
mint-lxde-default-settings mint-x-icons mint-y-icons mint-themes \
mint-backgrounds-tina mintsystem arcticfox xdg-user-dirs \
xdg-user-dirs-gtk libglib2.0-bin firmware-b43-installer b43-fwcutter \
firmware-linux-nonfree firmware-amd-graphics package-update-indicator \
firmware-b43legacy-installer yaboot hfsutils abiword leafpad evince \
brasero mtpaint pidgin transmission xpad guvcview debian-system-adjustments \
gnome-screenshot playerctl mesa-utils mesa-utils-extra \
dmz-cursor-theme shiki-colors gnome-themes-extra faenza-icon-theme \
gucharmap galculator scrot preload xserver-xorg-video-nouveau sudo

Installing MintPPC in the past was done within an installer medium and a preseed file. Packages were installed and only after that, regular users were created. In this way, the newly created user got all the MintPPC specific tweaks. As we now start from a system where user(s) are already set up, installing these MintPPC specific packages will not affect those users. So, in order to have a nice desktop, we have to create a new user which will be you. Give that user administration rights and then after everything is set up, delete the old user account. Users can be created and deleted from the Menu, Preferences, Users and Groups. After the new user is created, logout from this session (Menu, Logout and click Logout).

Now log into into LXDE with your new user account and choose the Mint-LXDE session. You will then see the MintPPC desktop. For some reason I don’t know yet, the file manager PCManFM does not display the icons the first time I log in. After logging out and in again, you will see the nice icon set in the Home folder. There is one thing I don’t like, which I have to fix, is the background. Right click on the desktop and click Desktop Preferences (can also be done via the Menu, Preferences, Desktop Preferences). Choose Wallpaper mode ‘Stretch and crop to fill the monitor area’.

Debian installs lightdm as display manager. If you think this is too heavy on the resources, you might want to try lxdm.
sudo apt install lxdm
sudo dpkg-reconfigure lxdm
Now select lxdm as display manager. Reboot, or, as root in a tty:
service lightdm stop
service lxdm start

and you will have a lighter display manager (login screen).

I hope that you will enjoy your new desktop. Please give me feedback!

Published by admin

Developer of MintPPC

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  1. Just so you know…

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    firmware-b43-installer : Depends: b43-fwcutter (>= 1:019-7) but 1:019-6 is to be installed
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

    1. Hi ! please help!
      i try to install mintppc (debian10) on imac g5 in automatic, but have error – mirrow dont work, please change.. second mirrow dont work too/// what i can do?

  2. Hi Bob, for what its worth, I was able to install Debian 11 (not 10), using the snapshot from 3-March 2020. I’m away from home so I don’t have my notes… but I at least remember that the Debian repo should be something like ‘’ and then the screen immediately following it should say ‘debian-ports’. You might also want to look at this post on MacRumor ( If you decide to follow those instructions, take care to make sure you use the right Bash script, since you have a G5 and not a G3/G4.

  3. The snapshot from 2022-03-28 finally installs Debian 11 with GRUB 2 working. As far as I know that hasn’t happened since 2021-02-02. Amazing…

  4. My son and I just did the MintPPC install on an old G4 tower. It seems to have installed ok. Even without the seed file (could not access for some reason). However on first boot, it takes us to a login screen, and we don’t have any login credentials… because we never created any. Is there a default admin password or something??

  5. Owen, are you using the current Debian installation disk?


    I’m using it right now and it requires root and user passwords. There is no default password.

    1. Wow, talk about timing! I just found your site as I’m trying to get my old PPC 20″ ‘Desklamp’ iMac running. Hope the site stays up a bit longer, but if not, thank you for all your hard work!

    2. Perhaps a message by you summarising the current situation and giving a download link regarding an installable G3/G4/G5 mintppc-flavoured DEBIAN 11 image with a working GRUB 2 installer will enable you to gauge the continued level of interest in keeping MintPPC running?
      I say this because personally my interest faltered after my initial successful installation because I ‘lost track’ of what latest images incorporating a GRUB 2 boot loader version would actually work first time when installing on my other PPC computers and I do not have the time to try various images to find one that works….

      1. Thanks for the reply. I agree with you. Maybe Thomas can help here. I haven’t done an installation for ages. I emigrated this year. All my stuff is in boxes.

          1. Hi all,
            After a long break I am finally in the possession again of my MintPPC developer PowerBook. I moved from The Netherlands to Thailand. All my stuff is still in boxes but this laptop I found now. I can start playing around again. I am pretty sure that a lot of stuff in MintPPC won’t work anymore. I will do my best to get into this. As I am writing this post, the PowerBook is upgrading 1593 packages…
            So, welcome back you all.

        1. Bringing this project up-to-date would be wonderful. I have just managed to install MintPPC via USB Live stick and image you provided for ppc64 straight to the hard drive of my newly recovered Power Mac G5. Fixing some issues with up-to-date repositories and boot abilities (other than texting via OpenFirmware) would be awsome, but even despite this I consider MintPPC as the best user experience I could get on this hardware nowdays. Keeping my fingers crossed for this project not to end.

          1. Nice to hear that it still works. Next year when I move to my new house I will be able again to setup everything for MintPPC. I am in a small house now and most of my stuff is still inside boxes.

  6. Hi,
    I am using Mint PPC on my ibook G4, libreoffice got broken dependence after June, is there any old ppc version which can be installed? Thank you.

  7. Hi all,
    first of all, thanks for the excelent work regarding the MintPPC. My old laptop is still alive.
    After 2 days of attempts, I was able to boot my PowerBook G4 5.8, 1.67 GHz and 15″ monitor.
    The boot was only possible over the Open Firmware of the laptop. Is there any possibility to do it directly?
    My second problem is with the external monitor, connected from the Laptop-DVI to HDMI. I’m not able to connect it over the moniotor settings. LXDE can see the monitor, but by activating it…nothing happens.
    This was not a problem under OS X 10.4.11 ans alos under VOID PPC .
    Best regards from Germany / Brandenburg,

    1. Problem regarding the external monitor solved. After shutdown and reboot with connected external monitor, it runs very well. 2560×1440 bz 120Hz.

  8. Also in my 32-bit MintPPC installation, Synaptic cannot anymore update the depot indexes, there appears an error message.

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