Ubuntu 9.10 on G4 Cube

A while ago, I acquired a G4 Cube off Canterbury Freecycle. Having tried to install Tiger and Leopard on it (all the PPC media I could find) and neither working, I decided to try Ubuntu.

As it’s rather old (2001) and doesn’t have much memory in it (128M) and is only a 450MHz G4 (slow!) I thought I’d try the “alternate” XUbuntu. After some effort, I got this installed (trying off a USB stick cos the 9.10 installer is just over 700M and wouldn’t fit on my CD-Rs just didn’t work) so I went for the 9.04 xUbuntu installer which was only 650M… much nicer.

This installed ok, but then I couldn’t log in. Bummer.

Broke into the system (init=/bin/bash saves the day once more) and tried resetting root’s password… failed.

Turned out (after a lot of anger and two reinstalls with various extra flags to the installer) that PAM doesn’t like having a date set before the epoch … 1904. It looks like the PowerPC had reset the system clock before to time began.

Then X … needed some extra hand-holding as I was just getting a blank black screen… http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=772808 worked for me.

Having forced the time to be correct (2010 — over a hundred years in the future!) it all worked fine.

Dist-upgrading to 9.10 then “just worked”. Well, I say, “just worked” — it thought I was using ATI rather than the Rage 128 driver for X.

So now I have a reasonably nice looking (it’s Apple, after all) system, albeit old, but still useful 😀