Friday, July 11, 2008

Ubuntu 8.04 On iBook G4

My 4-year old Apple iBook G4 is now on dual-boot Mac OS X 10.4.11 and Ubuntu 8.04.

And therein lies a tale...

I wanted a Microsoft Access style database (light and dumb), specifically the ability to use multiple sub-forms and separate top-middle-bottom formatting for Forms and Report.

Base in NeoOffice (and Open Office) is fine but I had a difficult time coming to grips with sub-forms and It appears to be not as flexible in page formatting as Access.

And NeoOffice Base is sloooooow... even without X11.

Off to Google, two candidates popped up promising Access-like ability: Glom and Kexi.

Then I had a radical thought: use Ubuntu on the iBook!


So I downloaded Ubuntu 8.04 Live CD version, but it will not boot.

Off to Google and found out I needed to load the 'live nosplash-powerpc video=ofonly' kernel.

I'm in!

But no WiFi.

Off to Google and found out that Dlink did not only hate Macs buy Ubuntu as well. "Tough shit cheapskate", I imagined Dlink people chortling.

Off to Google for a work around. Found driver from the chip maker, utility, instructions. I exercised my fingers in Terminal, and BOOM! Ubuntu displayed symptoms akin to Muscular Dystrophy when I plug in the Dlink USB WiFi dongle. I tried moving the cursor and it would lag badly.

Tried two more times (maybe I was out of typing practice), still the same stuttering, jerking, halting symptoms.


Deep Thought part I.

Aha! Why not waste time with Macports!

Why not, indeed... Off to Apple to download one-stinking-gigabyte of Xcode, for two days (hey, this is Philippines and not heavenly Japan or South Korea with cheap-cheap-cheap 50 megabit per second DSL).

Finally, had Macports up and running and started a to compile (Port) Glom.

After 7 agonizing hours... I got errors. Oh yeah, the reward of cheapness are errors.

Off to Google and I found a tip to force install, -f.

But I hedged this time. I also installed Maports on my faster iMac. Further reading of countless posts, threads and how-tos revealed a possibility of compiling a Universal version. I recalled seeing a Universal variant of Glom.

Go! 3 hours later on my iMac (see? Told ya it was fast) I got errors.


Deep Thought part II.


Deep Thought part III.

Why don't I just dual-boot? I get WiFi with Mac OS X and I get the database with Ubuntu.

Two days later (I had to dig out the Mac OS X install disc) I have divided my iBook's hard drive into two partition. Install Mac OS X, updates, updates, updates...

Now to install Ubuntu 8.04 on the second partition. Let's see... How do you set up a boot loader...? After digging through yet more posts, threads and how-tos, it turns out Ubuntu handles it using Yaboot. Sheesh... the install menu could have said so.

And which file system? Digging again through more posts, threads and how-tos... I picked ext3. Don't ask why.

I said don't ask why.

In the end, I got it Ubuntu 8.04, boot loader, Kexi... Kexi? Um... turns out Glom is not included in Ubuntu's Synaptics and I am too fagged out to even think of attempting a manual install.

Ah... finally done. Screen seems a bit dim, better adjust it...

Um... doesn't seem to work...

Oh bother...