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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Tue, 08 Feb 2011

What happened to Debian Live images for PowerPC?

I remember writing about the novelty of the Debian Live Project’s inclusion of PowerPC among the architectures for which it was producing Squeeze alpha images.

If you look at the Debian Live releases page and click through the links. You’ll see that live images for the PowerPC architecture were made for 6.0 Alpha 1 and Alpha 2. But the betas, the release candidates and the final release are i386 and amd64 only.

What happened? I praised Debian Live for taking care of PowerPC users in a way that most other distributions do not. These days you can’t even get an “official” Ubuntu ISO for PowerPC. Fedora dropped PowerPC, too. In my tests, Debian was always the best distribution for older PowerPC machines anyway, and the project still supports the architecture with installers.

But the live images were something else. It’s great to be able to “audition” a live image before committing to a full installation.

At this point, it looks like PowerPC users can’t do that anymore.


Comments from the original FlatPress post

Jeroen Diederen Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 16:35:16

I have tried several times to get support for powerpc Debian live. I always got the answer that he (Daniel Baumann) was on holidays. Never heard of it ever since. I guess you cannot stay in your holidays forever… This project is as dead as dead can be. In Debian Squeeze you cannot even get the easiest live cd made for PPC using the scripts. That’s the reason you don’t see those images. It’s sad, but there is no active support anymore.

steven Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 19:07:01

The fact that they had PowerPC support for the live images was so novel, I hardly could believe that they did it in the first place. At least with the Alpha images you can see how your PowerPC system responds to Debian Squeeze before deciding whether or not to install from the non-live (but up-to-date) PowerPC ISOs. I’ve written many times - I ran a G4 on Debian Etch for awhile, and it was a very nice OS for the hardware.

Kyle Reynolds Conway Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 19:06:23

So is Etch the thing to run on an ailing PPC Mac Mini? Live images really do ease the nerves though.

klhrevolution Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 19:32:25

While it would be nice I’m grateful for what we’ve got as this release is going well on the old eMac. Hopefully powerpc can be supported for years to come and if a live-image is spit out every now and again then even better.

steven Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 20:05:56

Don’t worry so much about the live image. I would just do an installation of Squeeze. Debian itself still supports PowerPC - and very well, too. It’s just the live images that aren’t available for the final release. The reason I’ve been keeping an eye on the Debian Live project is that I thought it novel that they were introducing a PowerPC live image just as everybody else was dropping PowerPC entirely (Ubuntu, Fedora).

I definitely encourage all PowerPC users to try the Alpha 2 image for Squeeze, or just jump right in and do an installation from the regular ISO.

Etch was great on my G4, and I think Squeeze should be just as good. I let the G4 go months ago, so I don’t have anything at the moment on which I’d run a Linux distro. I’m pretty much sticking to i386/amd64 these days.

zoobab Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 13:50:11

Debian developers still do not understand that users wants livecds, not debian-installer where you have to click 200 times to get your installation done. Kyle Reynolds Conway

Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 14:01:36

Sort of an update — I installed squeeze onto my ppc macmini to great success. The only two problems I’ve noticed is that wireless doesn’t work out of the box (any suggestions there?) and that bluetooth acts very strange indeed (recognizing devices and even setting them up… but then they don’t work at all). Can’t say I’m displeased though. Much happier than I was with the sluggish, no longer upgradable and increasingly obsolete mac os on that machine. Thanks for the help!

steven Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 20:45:05

Here’s my suggestion for wireless: Add the non-free repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list.

Try to figure out what kind of wireless card the computer is using. Add the firmware for that. It could be Broadcom http://packages.debian.org/squeeze/broadcom-sta-common …

You could also add the firmware-linux-nonfree package http://packages.debian.org/squeeze/firmware-linux-nonfree, which enabled my ATI video chip to use DRI and hence make suspend/resume work.

If you do a little bit of searching, I’m pretty sure you can get the proper firmware or driver to make wireless work.