PowerBook 1400+Linux...HELP ME!

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
Macinjosh's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 9 months ago
Joined: Feb 12 2004 - 13:05
Posts: 216
PowerBook 1400+Linux...HELP ME!

Wow is this going to be a long initial post. Biggrin

So having grown tired of using OS 8.6 on my trusty 1400c, especially with programs being sooo outdated for it, I decided to check into installing Linux on it. The docs/tutorials/howtos are sparse but theyre around, and before too long at all 'check into' turned into 'must succed...' I think I hit the hay at like 7AM last night after quite a few hours into trying to get it to work. (And yes, I do know it's like practically impossible to get working on a 1400...)

The general plan of attack? To combine an mklinux kernal and installer and Debian 3.0r2 into a working system, as in:

http://www.icedtrip.net/guides/woody_1400.txt
(with the exception of installing from CD, see below)

Here's a brief recap of what I've done so far (or as brief as I can be:)

Found out NuPowr 233MHz G3 was probably causing the hang I was getting trying to boot Linux. Grabbed a few tools and threw the original proc back in (actually I dont even know which it is, the machine is just labeled "PowerBook 1400c" so I'd guess possibly a 117?) and success! Tux smiled at me and I ended up in an installer. (I may be selling the upgrade if I get this to work, original box, floppy disk and instructions included, no tools though. Anyone interested?)

Problem was, didnt have access to my CD-ROM (the "internal"/expbay one) and dont have an external SCSI drive, or enough room on the 1GB internal to stick the ISOs on a partition, so I really need to get to the expansion bay. I switch the kernel over to the ancient EXPBAY (MKLINUX) one, and boot it... w00t! I alter MkLinux's config and tell it the root is the CD-ROM (/dev/hdc) and the light flickers before it tells me /mach_servers/ isnt on there. Biggrin

As you can see the two problems compliment each other, in the worst of ways... one has each of what I need, either access to the expansion bay, or the installer, but not both.

Here's what Ive done to try and get around THAT:

*Used ramdisk.img.gz, vmlinux, vmlinux2.4, and everything else i could think of that might be a RAM disk from the Debian installer CD #1 and fed it to MkLinux and bootstrap.conf by renaming it "vmlinux+installer" (or something REALLY close to that) and putting it in mach_servers. One of these ALMOST worked (like it started to load it, spit a few messages off, then terminated rather than wouldnt load) although i dont remember for the life of me which.

I'm thinking I need a new kernel+installer, one that has support for the 1400 expbay, or I need to make the expbay kernel + an installer into my own custom kernel+installer? I may not though, because I will admit that while this will be the fourth machine Ive installed Linux on, I'm still very much a novice with Linux so I may actually NOT know what I need. Smile

Do the newer MkLinux kernels (maybe I should snag the most recent) have support for my expansion bay? Anyone know?

Here's the web pages Ive been looking at that have worked me thru the task so far, perhaps a gem of info will appear to someone that I overlooked (which I bet Ive done, it was waaaay late:)

http://www.icedtrip.net/guides/woody_1400.txt , of course
http://www.jonh.net/lppcfom-serve/cache/593.html
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/alt.hacker/browse_thread/thread/6df8b4331ea33e86/31c8cb1750b0b0e4?q=linux+powerbook+1400+nupowr&
http://www.clivemenzies.co.uk/selfhelp/nubusmac.html
http://www.hmug.org/pub/mklinux-pre-R1/archives/mklinux-users/2000/Aug/31/pb1400install.txt

Anyone with more knowledge than me care to take a stab at helping me? I have an OS X box should its Unix underpinnings come in handy.

-- Macinjosh

Offline
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:40
Posts: 566
Um...

...couldn't you just get a SCSI CD-ROM drive? They go for practically nothing, and should be pretty easy to find. That would solve all your problems in one fell swoop!

TOM

piltdownman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 8 2004 - 15:14
Posts: 53
He probably needs one of thos

He probably needs one of those funky scsi cables with the little square laptop connector at one end though.

iantm's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 2 2005 - 14:01
Posts: 709
Many Apple shops still have those

Those funky cables are still available at many mac shops (mainly since the last machine to support it shipped in 2000 (lombard g3)). I know that Ray's Connecting Point in Clearwater, FL and MacOutfitters/The Computer Forum in Cranberry and Doylestown,PA carry them for rather inexpensive prices.

- iantm

Macinjosh's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 9 months ago
Joined: Feb 12 2004 - 13:05
Posts: 216
Suppose I Could...

Suppose I could, there'd a university surplus store round here that would probably have at least the drive and perhaps the cable too, the drive probably being like $1. Just seems as though if I knew how to put a expansionbay-capable kernel together with the Debian Installer, all Id have to do is point it at the expbay and be done.

The problem isnt really the $5 it would take... its more that I know Id probably never touch the drive or the cable again, and Ive got sooo much stuff here as it is (two defunct Apple Studio Displays, a 575, most of my old Beige G3 that I upgraded into a B&W, and various drives/cards/etc from the aforementioned...)

Decent suggestion though, and youre quite right about the simplicity part... I'll just have to see if the ingenuity route conquers over simplicity and toy with it a bit (the surplus place isnt open until Tuesday anyhow.)

-- Macinjosh

catmistake's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 1098
linux? Bah!

Quote:
I decided to check into installing Linux on it.

your first mistake...

Linux is really cool, but you almost have to be really really good at using it already, really good at recompliling the kernal, really good at finding drivers, etc. to get it to function in a worthwhile manner for you. (though I've never used it as a desktop... it was always through a terminal window that was sshed to the linux server).

I would have looked for other alternatives... I would have thought seriously about using XPostFacto and Puma or Jaguar (or Darwin from either of those builds)... but being that the lack of RAM is an issue (64MB max?), I probably would have looked hard at NetBSD. The 1400 is specifically not supported... however, I swear, it runs on everything, and the guys working on the macppc port are extremely nice and helpful, and I'm sure if you made any progress (and you would, they have a really good instruction manual) they would certainly help out if you posted to their mailing list.

If you could get NetBSD working, there is all kinds of software out there... the pkgsrc itself is very comprehensive, and has some cool stuff (like a desktop that emulates the look and feel of NeXT... or even Basilisk, which would make it look like a regular mac...) and NetBSD is more like a real *NIX than Linux.

Sorry, I doubt this is helpful, but I think installing linux for a desktop, unless you are an adept hacker, is opening a can of worms... (but I'm sure others would disagree...)

well... shoot... if you can't get it working... I guess... give Darwin (not useful, but cool) or NetBSD (would be pretty useful) a try.

Macinjosh's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 9 months ago
Joined: Feb 12 2004 - 13:05
Posts: 216
Yeah

Not having Open Firmware and PCI underpinnings is the biggest shot in the head for any of those alternatives. Not to mention even if OS X would run on this machine, itd be beyond glacially slow to the point of totally not being useful.

I looked into Rhapsody at one point to see if my PowerBook was ever supported... from what I can tell, it never was. Wouldve loved to eBay it for myself. Smile

The problem here though, would be I could ask MkLinux to boot an installer image... but then i would need a custom image to install for NetBSD, which would mean rolling my own there too, which leaves me at least in the same position I'm at right now. So I think thats pretty slim happenin' right now.

-- Macinjosh

Jon
Jon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 years 6 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
If it were as easy as making

If it were as easy as making your own install image for NetBSD and using the mkLinux loader, I'd think somebody would have already done it over the years. THe main problem I see with that is that NetBSD doesn't seem to support NuBUS and PPC together. PPC machines need to have OF, and thus PCI, so that they can load the image in the proper place, as well as have OF do a lot of setting up for them.

Until you cn get enough info together for it, NetBSD is a shot in the dark. A long time ago they got 601 support added in, and people we glad that (6|7|8)100 system support would be coming soon. It's still not there.

wen
Offline
Last seen: 9 years 6 months ago
Joined: Jan 2 2006 - 23:18
Posts: 4
powerbook 1400

hi
you have the original user's manual?
can i can a copy from you?
i'll pay you for the "staples' photocopying
and to mail it.

do you know how to shut down one's computer when
it freezes at start up?

how to eject media from the different drives?

thank you.

wen

eeun's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1891
Re: powerbook 1400

wen wrote:
hi
you have the original user's manual?
can i can a copy from you?

Why don't you just download it from Apple?
Here:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=50593

Vellos's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 9 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 14:45
Posts: 58
Re: linux? Bah!

catmistake wrote:
Quote:
I decided to check into installing Linux on it.

Sorry, I doubt this is helpful, but I think installing linux for a desktop, unless you are an adept hacker, is opening a can of worms... (but I'm sure others would disagree...)

I disagree. While Linux requires a little knowhow to tweak things as you desire, it's actually a very good solution for older machines. For about a 117Mhz 60x, I imagine you could get Xorg running with something like Fluxbox decently. I've installed and built Gentoo installs from scratch for machines as old and as slow as 75Mhz Pentiums (which would of stayed in use, but I merged it's contents into the other server).

The thing is, when installing Linux or using Linux like that on an older machine, you really have to get a feel for the limitations of the machine. 100+ Mhz generally (as generic, across the board of archtectures) will get you an X server with Flux or Blackbox fairly okay. More RAM the better, Linux will cache things like crazy then and speed things up a bit.

I know the BSD's have their variants, and Debian does too, but for the sake of making things simple, a distro like YDL (Yellow Dog Linux) which is specifically tweaked for the PPC arch with Macs in focus would make a bit more sense, and might work better. Gentoo/PPC is also another option, but I'd strongly recommend building the system on a faster machine, and then putting the hard drive back in the laptop. Complicated, but you can really make that thing perform with the extra work put in.

I'm unsure about the CD drive issue at hand, but I imagine Apple has a nice proprietary CD-ROM driver that is probably making Linux freak out a bit. Those "square weird SCSI connectors" others have been talking about are HDI-30 style SCSI cables, and most often come in an adaptor form, to either Centronics-50 or DB-25. I'd say give that a go. When working with Linux, the more generic, the better.

Log in or register to post comments