Manual installation MintPPC

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.

If you end up with a black screen after booting, follow this page.

First we need to make sure we have the right PATH settings, so as root:
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin

Then we need to make sure you as user is added to the sudoers list to perform administrative tasks in your system.

The best way to do this, but it doesn’t always work, is to do the following (as root):
usermod -aG sudo your_user_name

If the former does not work, edit /etc/sudoers and add under %sudo ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

username ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL
Make sure you change “username” with the name of the user that you want to grant access to.

We are first going to adapt the /etc/apt/sources.list file:
sudo apt edit-sources
Add the following lines:

for MintPPC32:
deb unstable main
deb ./

for MintPPC64:
deb unstable main
deb ./

Then we update the repo:
sudo apt update

You will see that we will need my public gpg key:

gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring ./temp-keyring.gpg --import public.gpg.key

gpg --keyring ./temp-keyring.gpg --no-default-keyring --export -a > mintppc.asc

rm temp-keyring.gpg

sudo mv mintppc.asc /etc/apt/keyrings

To know more about importing public keys the right (Debian) way, see this link.

Edit the file /etc/apt/sources.list, and in between deb and the url, add [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/mintppc.asc]

For MintPPC32 it will look like:
#MintPPC32 repository
deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/mintppc.asc] unstable main
#MintPPC32 additional repository
deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/mintppc.asc] ./

For MintPPC64 it will look like:
#MintPPC64 repository
deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/mintppc.asc] unstable main
#MintPPC64 additional repository
deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/mintppc.asc] ./

sudo apt update

Now we are going to install MintPPC specific packages and some other packages to install a desktop. During installation select lxdm as display manager instead of lightdm. We will install these:

sudo apt install
task-lxde-desktop lxdm mint-artwork mint-artwork-lxde mint-common \
mint-lxde-default-settings mint-x-icons mint-y-icons mint-l-icons mint-themes \
mint-backgrounds-tina mint-backgrounds-ulyana mintsystem mint-l-theme xdg-user-dirs \
xdg-user-dirs-gtk libglib2.0-bin hfsutils evince \
firmware-linux-nonfree firmware-amd-graphics package-update-indicator \
brasero mtpaint pidgin xpad l3afpad arcticfox sealion sylpheed \
gnome-screenshot mesa-utils mesa-utils-extra mint-cursor-themes \
gnome-themes-extra network-manager network-manager-gnome \
gucharmap galculator scrot preload xserver-xorg-video-nouveau sudo

To download this task and execute it:
chmod u+x task-mintppc

To install the right airport driver have a look here.

Make sure that you have configured the right display (or login) manager, if it has not already been done during package installation:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure lxdm
Select lxdm, then ok

Now we delete the display manager package lightdm if it is present:
sudo apt remove lightdm

Installing MintPPC in the usual way is done within an installer medium and a preseed file. Packages are installed and only after that, regular users are created. In this way, the newly created user gets 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.

You have to either create a new user, or do a trick (in that case skip the following step).

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).

If you don’t want to create a new user you have to copy everything from /etc/skel into your home folder. Go to your home folder and issue:
cp -r /etc/skel/* .
cp -r /etc/skel/.* .

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’.

To get sound working install alsa-utils and launch alsamixer sudo apt install alsa-utils

Then hit fn+F6 (SoundByLayout)
go to the right and make sure you have PCM at 80<>80
ESC to exit alsamixer

You should have sound now…

Do not do the following in virtual emulated environment (qemu):
To tweak Debian to Linux Mint Debian, install debian-system-adjustments:

sudo apt install debian-system-adjustments

Make sure you also edit /etc/apt/sources.list and remove or add an # in front of the deb-src entry for Debian, as there is none in Debian-ports.

To make SeaLion browser work in MintPPC64 do the following in /usr/lib/powerpc64-linux-gnu:
sudo ln -s
SeaLion was compiled in an older version of Debian, therefore we need to soft link the old library to the newer one.

Reboot into MintPPC. At Grub you now see LMDE 6 Faye if you are not in an emulated (qemu) environment. Boot into MintPPC and that’s it folks.
Enjoy your MintPPC desktop!

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.

  9. roland if you ever answer can you tell me if its worth using this over linux 12 remix?

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