Installing elegance, Slackintosh 12.1

Long have I been a fan of Slackware. It’s a wonderful distribution, fast, clean and free of much of the bulk and cruft that plagues other Linux distributions. Lately, though, I have not had a Slackware box on which to play, and that has bothered me. My main server currently runs Ubuntu server edition 7.04 (yeah, I know, old), my main laptop runs Ubuntu 8.04, my home workstation runs Ubuntu 7.10, my wife’s laptop runs Ubuntu 8.04, my picture frame runs Ubuntu 7.10, my kids eMac runs MacOS 10.4.something as does my iMac. Notice a pattern here? The only thing I currently had running different was one of my test machines running CentOS 5.2 and another running RHEL 5.1, both leftovers from my semi-recent RHEL exams. Well, that and I keep telling myself I would like to run something similar at home to what I need to support at work in order to help keep my skillset sharp. Speaking of work, other than running all my servers on RHEL, I even run Ubuntu 8.04 there on my workstation. As you can see, I certainly need my Slackware fix!

Enter this weekend when I was staring at my iBook G3 500. I bought this iBook used, broken, and cheap. I fixed it up and use it frequently to mostly check my email and rss feeds from bed. It did the job adequately, however, a little on the slow side with MacOS X. I grabbed up the iBook and surfed over to Slackintosh’s Website. I had run Slackintosh years earlier on an oldworld PPC along with Debian, both with great results. Since Slackware, as a distribution, ranks very high on my list, and I already have my fill of Debian based machines, I decided then and there that Slackintosh was going to be my new OS on my iBook. I also must say that I think the translucent snow iBook is probably one of the best looking laptops that was ever made. That + Slackware, one of the best operating systems ever made, is elegance if I ever heard of it.

Installation, if you have ever done a Slackware install, is the usual business except for the partitioning. To partition a macintosh, you use mac-fdisk (suprise)! There is a decent document about using mac-fdisk at http://penguinppc.org/bootloaders/yaboot/doc/mac-fdisk-basics.shtml which is very well written. The short and quick version is do an “i” for initialize the drive (I am not running OS X, just Linux). Do a “b” to create a mac boot partition. Then, create your linux partitions with “c”. I made a partition named “swap” and a really big one named “root” then saved the whole shebang. When I ran setup afterwards to do the actual OS install, the setup program detected the swap and root partitions correctly and did what it was supposed to with them.

Once that was all taken care of, the install completed normally. I found only 2 small problems post install that I had to correct to get things really moving the way I liked. The first was that X would not start. This had to do with an incorrect config. To fix, I simply needed to add:
HorizSync 28-51
VertRefresh 43-60
to the Section “Monitor” and make sure that the default display depth was 16 and set to 1024×768. After that X started right up into a nice fast KDE session. The last problem was I had no right mouse button. Of course, the iBook has only 1 mouse button, so right-clicking is problematic. I remember long ago there was a function key that served as the right button on a Yellowdog install, so I tried them all to no avail. After a little digging I found that adding this:
dev.mac_hid.mouse_button_emulation = 1
dev.mac_hid.mouse_button2_keycode = 125
dev.mac_hid.mouse_button3_keycode = 96
to your /etc/sysctl.conf file would do the trick. These will map your middle mouse button to the right apple key and the right mouse button to the enter key right next to the right apple key.

Once all that was going I was in great shape with KDE chugging along, sound, networking and all. I am sure I’ll have more to say about this as I go along, but that’s all for now. If you have an old PPC laying around, you sure couldn’t do better than to give Slackintosh a try!

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7 Responses to “Installing elegance, Slackintosh 12.1”

  1. stvbckr Says:

    Thanks for the review! It inspired me to revive my old iMac and install Slackintosh.

    One problem I’m having is getting Apache to run PHP. Is this something you were able to get working?

    I get this line in my apache error log:

    httpd: Syntax error on line 117 of /etc/httpd/httpd.conf: Cannot load /usr/lib/httpd/modules/libphp5.so into server: /usr/lib/httpd/modules/libphp5.so: R_PPC_REL24 relocation at 0x1dcb920c for symbol `SSL_get_fd’ out of range

    Google hasn’t been very helpful except to point an old bug that may mean I’m out of luck (http://bugs.php.net/bug.php?id=39002)

    any hints you have would be great!

    Thanks,
    Steve

  2. linc Says:

    Honestly I haven’t tried it yet, but I will try and remember to do so tonight and let you know what I find out!

  3. linc Says:

    Well, I am afraid there is bad news about that problem. Apparently, this is where Slackintosh and Slackware differ. The web server goodies in Slackware just work, and in Slackintosh this bug/problem has been an issue for some time and has never been resolved, that I can find. Truely disappointing.

    Also, noticed that the default httpd.conf file on Slackintosh is probably one of the nastiest that I have ever seen. Truely absolutely no thought has gone into getting apache actually usable as a web server on Slackintosh in a very long time.

    I, myself, am so disappointed with this that I am having thoughts about trying Yellowdog or Debian again.. 🙁

  4. stvbckr Says:

    I tried Debian on this iMac, but got lots of errors during install.

    I tried OpenSUSE too but it was painfully slow to use KDE.

    I just downloaded the Gentoo ppc image and might try it, if Gentoo works I’ll name the machine Linc in your honor 😛

  5. linc Says:

    I am honored 🙂
    I, however, did a little tooling around and found out that Ubuntu 8.04 is actually available for PPC. I tried the live cd and it works pretty well. I *almost* installed it. I may still. It’s just hard for me to give up my Slackware – even if it is broken 🙂

  6. stvbckr Says:

    Well, the gcc screen saver OS isn’t playing nicely for me.

    I was hopeful Slackintosh would do what I needed. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never run Slackware for any length of time and this was going to be my chance.

    It was supposed to be a wiki server for organizing tech notes and such for myself. If I can find another use for it I might keep Slackware.

    I might give Ubuntu a try (I’m still not sure I can think of it as anything but a desktop OS)

  7. stvbckr Says:

    I think I’m going to give OpenBSD a try on the iMAc.

    It looks like it has what I’ll need and I really should learn one of the BSDs anyways.

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