How to boot an iBook G4 with Ubuntu…

April 12th, 2008 by steve

I am using Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) to try to boot a Mac iBook (’cause the hd in the mac is whacked). So far, it’s been a real challenge. I am learning that nothing is easy on a Mac when they are broken. It makes me chuckle, when people are asking for help in mac forums, there is inevitably someone who says, “Take it into Apple Care and let them fix it.” If someone was willing to pay for Apple Care, why would he or she be requesting help on a forum?

After a considerable time of searching, I found instructions on the Ubuntu Forums, but none of them worked for this Mac. Finally, adjusting the steps along the way, I found a procedure that works for me:

Insert the Mac version of the Ubuntu boot CD into the iBook CD drive and as you power on, hold down the “C” key until you hear it booting from the CD.

At the “boot” prompt, type:

live-nosplash-powerpc video=ofonly break=top

When the busybox comes up, type each of these lines, waiting for the {initramfs} prompt to return:

modprobe ide_core
modprobe ide_disk
modprobe ide_cd

The CD will start to load and then go silent. During this time there will be lengthy periods (minutes) without any sign that the boot is working. Be patient, it takes this iBook exactly 15 minutes to complete the boot to the live CD.

As always — this information is provided as-is and without warranty, express or implied. Any damage that comes to your computer, your data, your job or even your life as a result of using this information is your responsibility. This worked on the computer I was using, but it may or may not work on yours.

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