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At the new Simply Computing at Willowbrook Mall they have some used iBook G4s; like mine, except for a faster processor. Last I saw they were asking around $500 for them.

This is just another sign that I do not get the whole Mac/Apple mentality. When I saw that I said “you could get a cheap Dell with a better chip, bigger harddrive, and a faster processor for only about a hundred buck more…” and Paul replied “but it wouldn’t be a Mac.”

I like Macs. I like how they look, and once I remember how to use their software I like it as well. But not enough to pay that much more for a computer or laptop.

I’m not really a fangirl of any computer manufacturer or operating system. Sure, I have problems with Microsoft and Windows, and I think more people should be open to the idea of trying out open source software. But I’m not going to get in a knock-down, drag out argument about it.

(In my head I might think unkind thoughts, but that’s a character flaw I will never fix!)

Anyways, the point of this post: $500 for a 5 year old, underpowered iBook is insane.

Before starting off on this journey, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I had installed Ubuntu on my (crappy and old) desktop myself with no problems, so I didn’t see why installing it on a laptop would be any different. It wasn’t until I announced my intention that Paul wondered where I had found a PowerPC version of Ubuntu.

Power what now? I should have realized: it’s a Mac. I was planning on installing off of one of the many Live CDs we have hanging around and upgrading to Hardy Heron.

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…but I have wfi, even though I’ve gone week without it. I thought that the AirPort Extreme card needed to have some firmware added, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to work.

Tonight I went back through the support documentation, which says:

With YDL v.6.1, getting online is effortless with little to no pre-configuration steps when you use the Wicd Network Manager to automatically detect wireless networks.

  1. Launch the Wicd Network Manager:

    YDL Menu ==> Applications ==> Internet ==> Wicd Network Manager

  2. To set a preferred network, select the Automatically connect to this network checkbox.
  3. Simply click the Connect button and you are connected.

Note that Apple devices require the addition of firmware beforehand. See the HOWTOs for specific assistance with configuration.

As of YDL v5.0 and forward, Apple’s AirPort Extreme is supported.

It was that last line that I missed. Everything above it made me think I had to download firmware (as I did for Xubuntu).Oh well, c’est la vie; and I can surf from the comfort of the couch again.

Adobe doesn’t support Flash on PowerPCs. I’m not sure if this will change now that Yellow Dog can be/is being installed on PS3s.

I have gnash installed, but it doesn’t work for everything (Youtube is right out). Apparently, you can do a bunch of stuff to view it on your computer, but I have no idea what that’s all about. I’m going to look into this tommorrow and see what I can do. According to the gnash page:

Why doesn’t Gnash work with YouTube?
It sure does! Make sure you’ve got the right Gstreamer codecs installed or ffmpeg.

Dear Apple Customer,

Thank you for ordering a replacement battery. Your request (Order number #######) is currently being processed.

It will take approximately 7 to 9 business days for your replacement battery to arrive. Please note that shipping time may vary due to availability of your battery model.

Battery Exchange Program details and an FAQ may be found at:

We appreciate your cooperation with this exchange program.


The battery on the iBook is a shot. But it looks like I may be able to get a replacement for free from Apple! There is a battery exchange for certain battery serial numbers. Since my laptop hasn’t overheated in the four years we’ve had it, I’m guessing it’s okay, but saving $100USD on a new one would be pretty awesome.

So the Xubuntu install is gone. Critical parts of my desktop kept crashing (Thunar), and neither Paul or I could find a fix for it. So off we went in search of something else. I quickly found out that my only options were Mandriva, which I’ve used before as a Live CD on my desktop, Debian, and Yellow Dog Linux.

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I have successfully installed Xubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10 on Paul’s old 12″ iBook G4. Thank goodness he added more RAM when he bought it; I think there’s about 600mb rather than the factory-installed 256.

Let me tell you how much I hate everything to do with PowerPCs; I didn’t even know what they were until this afternoon.

Things went rather smoothly considering at the beginning I couldn’t get the Live CD to boot (you have to hold down “c” during the boot up sequence: who knew), and I have to type in esoteric commands during the boot up.

There are still a number of things that need to be tweaked (booting directly into Xubuntu would be nice), and apparently Flash doesn’t work on the PPC version of Intrepid Ibex; but I now have a pretty decent netbook! Sure, it’s a little slow, and the battery is toast, but these are things that can either be fixed or lived with. Besides, I don’t have a spare $1200 lying around for that Dell XPS that I’ve had my eye on, anyways.

I’m running the Mandriva Spring 2008 (One) Live CD on my Linux box (the one that normally runs Ubuntu). It’s the first time I’ve used KDE.

So far so good…although things generally go well or very badly in the first five minutes….

I forgot how slow live CDs are to boot or do, well, anything.

It doesn’t seem too different from Ubuntu; at this point it’s certainly not worth going through an installation.

(I really just wanted to try out the colour changing desktop. Somehow it’s not as cool as I thought it would be.)