New powerpc test installer image Debian


Here is a new test image [1] which is supposed to test the proper partitioning
of the HFS boot partition and mounting it to /boot/grub.

Note: This image will *not* install GRUB yet properly. The purpose of this image
      is just to test whether the changes I made to the package partman-auto and
      the new packages hfsprogs-udeb and partman-hfs work correctly.

If everything works as intended, the partitioning program should automatically
create and format a GRUB boot partition and mount it to /boot/grub. If that’s
the case, I can commit the changes to partman-auto and submit the new partman-hfs
package to unstable.

After that, I can work on the necessary changes to the grub-installer package which
conclude the changes necessary to fix the GRUB installation on Apple PowerMac.



 .”`.  John Paul Adrian Glaubitz
: :’ :  Debian Developer –
`. `’   Freie Universitaet Berlin –
  `-    GPG: 62FF 8A75 84E0 2956 9546  0006 7426 3B37 F5B5 F913

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Developer of MintPPC

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    1. Partman is now broken. It doesn’t seem to recognize the boot partition on my G4 Mac mini as being the first primary partition on the hard drive.

      1. Same goes with the snapshot from 2021-04-17. I went back to the one from 2021-02-02. Using the default install, partman worked fine and everything installed correctly, including GRUB.

  1. On my iBook G3 / 900 Mhz / 640MB Ram the image from 2021-02-02 does not work either. Shortly before the installation is complete, I get an error message and the process can no longer be continued.

    1. I am also stuck at the last steps of the installation.
      When looking at the console by pressing ALT-F4
      It fails at install grub-installer because of a missing package called HFSPROGS
      It said it can’t find the package under the PPC architecture (no candidate)

      On Debian site, theres no release for the older PPCs (32-bit)
      Would it be possible to include the proper package inside the install?

    1. I did get the image from the install page. Is there another image on that repo to get? Mind sharing the link?

  2. So if I would install thru the image linked here, I would only need to follow some steps to get GRUB running and make it auto boot?

  3. I have now loaded the image suggested by Thomas and used a default install on my ibook G3 / 900. The installation was completed without any errors. During the shutdown after the installation a kernel panic occurs. When i reboot the hard drive is not found. I have no idea where the problem is.

  4. The installation now boots and ends with a black screen after trying to recognize the ATI Radeon 7500 card …

  5. Günther: try to find an answer in the Debian powerpc mailinglist. Adrian Goubitz is the man.

  6. My experience with Radeon cards is that it’s better to not install LXDE until after rebooting. First update your /etc/apt/sources.list to include…

    # Non-Free (add this if you have an ATI GPU)
    deb [arch=all] unstable main contrib non-free

    Then in stall the ATI firmware with…

    sudo apt install firmware-linux-nonfree

    Then install LXDE.

  7. I hadn’t installed an x at all, I was only in text mode. I wanted to install the desktop afterwards. unfortunately it didn’t fully boot in the textbodus either.

    1. Just out of curiosity, when is the last time you formatted your hard drive with Mac OS 10.4.11? I’ve found that after repeated tries to install Debian, the 1st Apple partition becomes corrupted. This has happened on my G4 Mac mini. Formatting with Mac OS solved the problem.

  8. 4 days ago I installed mac OS 10.4 on this ibook for the last time.
    debian starts in text mode until it tries to recognize the ATI Radeon 7500 card, then a black screen appears. have tried several times always the same result, it’s a bit frustrating.

  9. I tried everything suggested here again, including Thomas’ tip to
    reformat the hard drive in macOS … unfortunately without any
    success. Back then, in 2012/2013 i never had such problems during the installation with debian ppc and mintppc on my old iBook G4 / 1.42 Ghz . I have no idea why this is so complicated on the iBook G3 / 900. I’m currently giving up and have macOS 10.4.11 installed on the book. I will wait a little and watch the forum until a new
    image is available that might work better for my device.

    PS: I’m still grateful for any tip that could help 🙂

    1. This tutorial has helped me to install Debian on all my G4s including one with an ATI Radeon 7500.

      It’s especially important to update your /etc/apt/sources.list with the listed repositories that include…

      # Non-Free (add this if you have an ATI GPU)
      deb [arch=all] unstable main contrib non-free

      That’s the only way to get acceleration for your old ATI Radeon 7500 as for some reason the default repositories don’t include it.

  10. What you need for X to work with radeon cards is installing
    firmware-linux-nonfree and firmware-amd-graphics

  11. I know this. But the system crashes every time after grub loads the radeon in textmode. I can´t do anything, just shutdown the ibook.

  12. I just did an apt upgrade on my model MintPPC iBook G4. Everything still works after upgrading 998 packages. I will now try to install MintPPC with the 17.4.2021 image produced by Adrian on my PowerBook G4.

  13. I just successfully installed MintPPC on a G4 PowerBook with the latest Debian installer image (17.04.2021). I will adapt the installation instructions to point to these images.

    1. I’m curious whether or not you created the partition scheme manually or did you let the partitioner do the job automatically? The install image from 17/04/2021 doesn’t automatically create a boot partition that is recognized by the installer as being the first primary partition. It stops the installation at that point. The one from 02/02/2021 doesn’t do that.

        1. On my G4 Power Mac, the new Partman doesn’t create a partition that can be used as a “NewWorld boot partition” That is no longer an option under “use as:” like there is under the old Partman. How did you get around that?

          1. I just said use whole disk and it created all the partitions automatically. I didn’t try manual partitioning.

  14. Jeroen: thank you for your efforts.
    Sometimes I think it has something to do with the G3 book. Maybe it just doesn’t work on those particular iBooks.

    I will test the image from 17/04/2021 anyway if I have time.

    1. Following Jeroen’s comment that the 17/04/2021 image works as an installer for MintPPC, I made a CD-RW installer of the image to install MintPPC on my Pismo G3 powerbook.
      Points to note:
      1) I used install option 2 (Automated Install) with Jeroen’s presseed.cfg
      2) Manual partioning does not work because there is no ‘NewWorld boot partition’ option to create a boot partition that is recognized by the installer as being the first primary partition. It stops the installation at that point.
      So I used the ‘Guided – use largest continuous free space’ option to ensure that nothing happened accidentally to the 32.3 kB Apple driver partition.
      3) The installation was successful (inc. GRUB), with working WiFi via Broadcom PCMCIA card (as B43 firmware and cutter pacakges are installed successfully) using ‘Connman Settings’.
      4) However, mouseemu is no longer installed automatically in /etc/default/ to enable ‘Right-Click’ via Ctrl + Click and ‘Middle-Click’ via Apple Key + Click.
      So I downloaded and manually installed mouseemu_0.15-10_powerpc.deb from (as this way I have an archive copy because AFAIK I think mouseemu has /or is going to be deprecated?).
      However, using ‘apt install mouseemu’ may have worked still?

      1. I also used the “automated” install to successfully install MintPPC on my G4 PowerBook. When the installation came to the point where I got the message that the boot partition was not located on the first primary partition of the hard disk, I replied no to “Correct this problem?”

        Everything installed beautifully and I am replying to your post on the G4 PowerBook.

  15. I’ve successfully installed MintPPC manually on my G3 Pismo using the 2021-02-02 image, and manually partitioning. Unfortunately, although grub was installed and shows my MacOSX install in the grub menu, it won’t boot MacOSX through the menu. Option-booting works, so I haven’t put any effort into troubleshooting. The latest problem is that the Linux kernel was just updated, but installation fails when attempting to update the grub menu. The first error message is:

    usr/sbin/grub-mkconfig: 257: cannot create /boot/grub/ Read-only file system

    There are further messages that seem to be as a result of this error. I checked permissions on /boot/grub/ and they look OK, but attempting to create a dummy file as root in this directory yields a read-only file system error. I’m left with an incomplete installation. Ideas?

  16. I did an installation with the 17.04.2021 image today. The partitioner on this image is badly broken. It did not allow any manual partitioning or editing of the partitions presented under guided partitioning. Any manual changes, when telling the partitioner to do the partitioning, led to a dialog which would seem to be asking whether to continue, then sent the user right back to the partitioner. When I did a guided partitioning for the whole disk, it presented a warning about the boot partition not being the first partition, and that it might not be recognized. I continued anyway, and once the automated installation (with preseed) was done, rebooted. Upon boot, my Pismo flashes a folder icon with a question mark, then flashes a Macintosh folder icon, then the grub menu appears.

    There was another error at the very end of the install:

    ‘Execution of preseeded command “in-target export PATH=$Path:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin” failed with exit code 127.’

    I have no idea what this message was trying to tell me, but so far my Pismo is running fine on the new image. It appears that the problem with write-protected grub has gone away, also. In my previous installations (I have two hard drives that I have experimented with) configuration of debian-system-adjustments has failed with what I now understand to be a write-protect error. This time debian-system-adjustments configured fine, and I have a minty grub menu.

    There are several applications (including default installs) that don’t launch at all (and haven’t since I started using MintPPC about a month or so ago. Would you like a list of those?

    1. Don, I’ve found that using the default installation method on the 17.04.2021 image, if you just ignore the warning about the boot partition not being the first partition and hit continue, everything installs just fine. That said, I still went back to the 02/02/2021 image as it gave me more control over partitioning.

      1. Thomas – I agree that the 02/02/2021 image is superior because of the partitioning control. However, what prompted my latest adventure was the fact that my grub folder was read-only on the installation from the 02/02/2021 image, and the latest kernel update failed because the grub menu couldn’t be updated. I’ve temporarily given up my dual-boot into Tiger on this hard drive, but I have a clone of my Tiger partition on a Firewire drive, so no real loss.

        1. What particular machine do you have? I am writing this from a G4 “Quicksilver” with an ATI Radeon 9000 video card. I’ve found that MintPPC doesn’t install at all on a G4 “Mirror Drive” with dual processors. Also, with the Radeon card I have to install the firmware update BEFORE I install the GUI. It’s important to include the none-free port in your /etc/apt/sources.list as it isn’t included by default.

          1. I’ve done the installation(s) on a Powerbook G3 Firewire (a.k.a Pismo). It seems to install just fine, depending. I reinstalled from the 02-02-2021 image because I like to have a separate home partition, and I couldn’t do that with the 04-17-2021 image. I’m _playing with_ the Pismo as a tool to learn some things about Linux, and for some mundane tasks such as looking at game camera photos, and a few other tasks that don’t require high performance. It’s surprisingly usable, if slow, for a 20 year old laptop.

            By the way – I saw a comment about LibreOffice crashing upon reopening saved documents. I have also experienced it, but in Writer and Calc, changing the saved document type to Microsoft Office types circumvents the problem, as LibreOffice seems to only crash for me when opening OpenDocument formats.

            – Posted from ArcticFox on my Pismo.

  17. Has anyone noticed that tasksel no longer installs LXDE or any other GUI except for Xfce? Makes no difference if one installs a base system first, plus the firmware updates, and then the GUI. Is this just temporary or has LXDE reached EOL in Debian?

    1. perphaps…. XFCE is, after LXQT, the best less demanding DE, of course, if we could compile the CDE (which is still updated….) for use in early models it would be awesome… but in any case, when I receive a Powerbook which is coming, I will see… have you tried the latest 06/06 debian installer?

  18. Yes, I have tried the 06/06 installer. It fails to install GRUB, even with the larger boot partition. I went back to the 02/02 installer which installs GRUB just fine on my G4 Mac mini.

    1. Instead of trying to install the full LXDE GUI using tasksel, I installed lxde-core and then manually installed MintPPC on top of that. This worked fine and I’m commenting from Arctic Fox on a fully-functioning MintPPC installation.

      1. Huh, wonder if they can fix the installer… Perhaps there is chaos because of the Debian 11 release? In any case, do you use libre office on your mini? Since I’m not able to find the libre office package in the powerpc Debian repo, I don’t know if there’s even a libre office for PowerPC 32bit anymore..

          1. Also, I reinstalled Debian again, this time choosing the LXDE GUI. The installation broke down at…

            Err:1110 sid/main powerpc youtube-dl all 2021.02.10-2
            File has unexpected size (1109600 != 1109640). Mirror sync in progress? [IP: 2a04:4e42:10::644 80]

            Hope someone in the know can make sense of this.

          2. As I don’t know any better, I might say it’s an error un Debían’s repo, so retry later… Mirror sync in progress should mean that the repos are being either updated or maintained, or anything else entirely… Good luck Carl

  19. Has anyone noticed that Netatalk no longer installs in Debian 11? This is the message I get…

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    netatalk : Depends: libtracker-sparql-2.0-0 (>= 0.10.0) but it is not installable
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

  20. Thomas: are you still able to have a working MintPPC if you do your installation and some packages don’t install ?

    1. Yes. But I always use the 2021-02-02/ cdimage to install a base system first. Then I update /etc/apt/sources.list to include the firmware-amd-graphics package, install lxde-core, and finally mintppc manually. Works every time on my G4 Mac mini. The only thing that still doesn’t install is the firmware-b43legacy stuff.

  21. hello,
    i am puzzelled with all these tips,
    one thing i can say is, i am yet not abble to properly install mintppc following main instructions for dual boot.

    dd install method goes to a memory error message at boot ( usb and hd drive)
    debian installer method fails to install grub

    can someone please edit an up to date fail-safe step by step guide

  22. Is there any way to provide a newer live image that has the “mintppc32-live.img.gz” onto it? 16gb USB 2.0 flash drives are readily available still… and should be more than enough to hold both the bootable portion as well as the compressed live image. This would be very useful since my particular iMac only has one USB port available. That is to say, the first USB port is occupied by the keyboard, and the mouse is daisy-chained off of the keyboard.

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