Can I still get Ubuntu for older Macs ( G4_400-500mhz)

Asked by individeol on 2009-07-07

Can I still get Ubuntu for older Macs ( G4_400-500mhz)

I have oldish mac that I want to use for the networking. Its a good machine with a gig of ram. Its running os9 and that says enough. I want to try Ubuntu out on it. is it still possible.

I noticed from the FAQ section that all correspondence regarding this ended in 2008 and the links there are no longer the same versions as specified in the forums.


Brian Waters

EDIT (by midnightflash): Removed the phone-nombers

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Tom (tom6) said : #1

This is a public forum, please take your phone numbers off - sorry i know that wasn't clear when you accessed the site!

It sounds as though a different distro would be better for this machine. My immediate response is to try Xubuntu as a LiveCd session. Just make an Xubuntu cd and put it in the cd drive and reboot
choose the option "Try ubuntu without changes to this machine" (even tho its Xubuntu the message says ubuntu, don't worry). this should get you to a working Ubuntu desktop but might ot if the machine isnt able to cope with Xubuntu either. There are lots of other smaller distros and it might be worth asking in this forum about that instead
although last weeks issue might have some interesting points near the end of the great long thread after "Mandy" asked a similar question but had a higher spec machine
I would also suggest trying out Wolvix as it is a good mid-sized distro

Good luck and regards from
Tom :)

Ps i'm not sure the booting up advice will really work well for a mac but there's got to be a similar page for macs and in the meantime those pages might give a clue at least

midnightflash (midnightflash) said : #2

Iiiiks... (X)Ubuntu is not supporting older Macs with PowerPC architecture any more after version 6.06.

So an other distribution is really the best solution. Debian f.e. would be fine in my opinion. But there are many other out there fitting your needs.


midnightflash (midnightflash) said : #3

But there is a partial official backport to PowerPC:
But as the newer versions of Ubuntu are quite heavy... still other Disto might be the best for you.

pablitofuerte (pablitofuerte) said : #4

- Which Macs are compatible with Ubuntu?
All NewWorld Macs should work. This means iMacs, iBooks, blue & white G3s, Lombard G3 PowerBooks and newer. The minimum system requirements are 256 MB of RAM and 3 GB of hard disk space. Users with less RAM or disk space may try Xubuntu.
- Is Ubuntu supported on PowerPC?
Ubuntu 6.10 was the last officially supported PowerPC version of Ubuntu. Future versions will be community supported.

Here you got some info for PowerPC:

To choose any specific donwload:

The last Ubuntu desktop CD (Jaunty 9.04) for Mac (PowerPC) and IBM-PPC (POWER5)
    For Apple Macintosh G3, G4, and G5 computers, including iBooks and PowerBooks as well as IBM OpenPower machines.

Good luck.

pablitofuerte (pablitofuerte) said : #5

For Xubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)
Desktop CD
The desktop CD allows you to try Xubuntu without changing your computer at all, and at your option to install it permanently later. This type of CD is what most people will want to use. You will need at least 192MB of RAM to install from this CD.

Mac (PowerPC) and IBM-PPC (POWER5) desktop CD
    For Apple Macintosh G3, G4, and G5 computers, including iBooks and PowerBooks as well as IBM OpenPower machines.

Tom (tom6) said : #6

I've asked around on DistroWatch and 2 people have suggested YellowDog linux although it's quite different from Ubuntu and i seem to remember another distro that was also good for this. If possible could you try out a demo of YellowDog without installing it just by using a LiveCd of it?

I thought there was some hardware incompatibility between (X)ubuntu and the G4 but i really don't know so again trying a LiveCd session might be worth testing out.

Good luck and regards from
Tom :)

Best Tom (tom6) said : #7

Oh and now someone ahs shown me a feature of Dw that i had no idea about before. I feel quite dumb now

Most of these distros have a reputation for being quite techie, especially the BSD ones which are a different type of unix-based Operating System. Within linux all the distros have more similarity than differences, when i said YellowDog is quite different from Ubuntu it does also share a lot of similarities. Moving from Windows to linux is quite a step, which is why it's worth doing a dual-boot system so that you can keep going back to Windows until you're quite familiar with linux
the advice in that guide is pretty much the same for any linux distro, not just Ubuntu. Most other unix-based distros also have a great deal of similarity, we all organise our folders in much the same way and put configuration files in similar places and even use many of the same commands on a command line.

From the link i would suggest trying CentOS first, then Gentoo, openSUSE, Fedora, Slackintosh, Debian, RedHat (if you can get it free), then the BSD ones and leave the rest. Assuming you've already tried YellowDog of course ;)

Good luck and happy hunting
Regards from
Tom :)

individeol (brian-individeol) said : #8

Thanks Tom, that solved my question.