on linux and old hardware

awhile back, i wrote a small post talking about installing linux on an old powerbook 1400 i have had since college. I even put together a pretty lengthy, although incomplete, guide on how i went about doing it. since then, i have not done much more, and actually removed the linux os in place of mac os 9 due to the fact that there was no support for the g3 upgrade cards in linux at the time. a couple of days ago, i decided to swing over to the nubus powermac sourceforge site on a whim to see what has happened in the past year and a half.

as it turns out, quite a bit has evolved from since i installed debian (woody) on mine. looking further, it appears that the guide i wrote (that was linked to on the site) has been labeled as the “outdated method.” this perked a little interest and so i decided to dig some more. as i found out, the nubus powermac linux scene has had some major improvements on getting things up and running a bit easier and faster through the use of a bootable iso image with miboot on it with a kernel to boot to the debian (sarge) distro, as well as the 2.4.27 kernel to boot up with once sarge is installed. all of this is thanks to Tobias Netzel. not only that, but there is now support for g3 upgrade cards, better pcmcia support, and full media bay support for the 1400 (and most likely the 5300).

i have once again installed linux on my 1400 running a Sonnet Crescendo 400Mhz G3 card, a Agere Silver 802.11b card, with an upgraded 10GB hard drive. i am still installing several items, and by the end of the weekend, plan on having x windows up and running. once done, i will sit down and write up a new guide to the “new method” since i have yet to find one out there. yes, the new method is pretty easy and straight forward, but a guide that says, “do this” is always of help to anyone looking.

i have run linux on many machines before, including a powermac 8100, 9500, and g4 to name a few, but the main machine i wanted up and running with some form of *nix distro was the 1400. the 1400 is a 10 year old machine that is still capable of a whole lot. yes, the ram maxes out at 64MB, yes it does not support cardbus and therefore will never have usb connectivity, but it works, and works well; especially with an upgraded processor.

i thought i would just jot down these few things before writing up a guide, but once the guide is done, i will certainly post it along with any config files i use for my install. also, any credit will be given to those where credit is due.

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