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-   -   FreeBSD on 867MHz 12" PBG4 - recommendation on desktop environment? (http://forums.macnn.com/104/alternative-operating-systems/498158/freebsd-867mhz-12-pbg4-recommendation-desktop/)

 
shifuimam Feb 16, 2013 04:28 PM
FreeBSD on 867MHz 12" PBG4 - recommendation on desktop environment?
Compiling xorg as we speak on my PowerBook G4.

We're thinking about using Enlightenment as the desktop environment. Ubuntu and Xubuntu were both unbelievably slow, mostly because of how graphics-intensive they are.

Any suggestions on a lightweight environment? What have you used?
 
mduell Feb 18, 2013 05:06 PM
No. Why? Why? It's 2013! No. Don't do it.
 
besson3c Feb 19, 2013 01:38 AM
How about no window manager at all, and doing X11 forwarding from another machine?
 
cgc Feb 19, 2013 07:01 AM
I'd put LXDE on it which is what I install in my VM though Enlightenment is ok.
 
shifuimam Feb 19, 2013 10:51 AM
I gave up. Turns out that FreeBSD has shitty support for the GPU in my PowerBook.

I ended up going with Debian Squeeze. I was going to try Wheezy, but again - GPU support was a problem. Squeeze with the default Gnome 2 window manager is running surprisingly well, and there are still a lot of PowerPC applications available through apt. I had to find a third-party compiled version of Firefox (and it's only v15), but everything else was in apt.
 
cgc Feb 19, 2013 05:54 PM
Why you go with Linux on your G4? There's another thread on MacNN discussing modern web browsers for PPC if that's your need. I've used Linux for eight years and still feel like a noob...so much is identical to OSX yet there's too much command line still. OpenSuse is supposed to have very good support for laptops and devices BTW.
 
besson3c Feb 19, 2013 07:18 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by cgc (Post 4218255)
Why you go with Linux on your G4? There's another thread on MacNN discussing modern web browsers for PPC if that's your need. I've used Linux for eight years and still feel like a noob...so much is identical to OSX yet there's too much command line still. OpenSuse is supposed to have very good support for laptops and devices BTW.

I don't think very much is identical at all actually. Can you elaborate?

On a different note, and a lot of people seem to make this mistake, operating system makers like OpenSUSE or whatever else don't provide support for certain hardware or make stuff work, it's more about the philosophy of the OS that impacts this. In theory if you can build/obtain/install the optimal version of X.org, the ATI/nVidia driver for your video card (if applicable), etc. on any Linux OS the experience will be pretty much identical (and the BSD experience will be different than the Linux experience). It's just that some Linux distros are very conservative about doing more rigorous testing before updating and not abandoning older hardware more than others. So, if the most ideal version for you is something rather bleeding edge, you'd be better off with, say, Ubuntu than with Debian.

For older hardware you are probably better off with a more conservative distro, since the maintainers of OSes like Ubuntu usually don't fuss over catering towards older stuff as much. Besides, if you are running obsolete hardware you probably aren't going to reap any of the benefits of newer drivers anyway, so you might as well stay conservative.

My favorite conservative Linux OS is Debian. If Debian supports PowerPC, I'd be surprised if you were able to find something better suited.

I don't mess around with window managers. I've never installed or played with KDE, Xfce, or any of that stuff. Still, the bleeding edge vs. conservative philosophical thing rears its head even outside of the GUI world. My extent of experience in the GUI world is mucking around with media center type stuff in Ubuntu (MythTV, VLC) and playing games via WINE/PlayOnLinux. This has required getting the optimal version of the nVidia driver and getting sound working, but beyond that I don't do any point-and-click stuff on the machine.

Still, I believe everything I've said here about the importance of the conservative vs. bleeding edge thing to be true based on my readings and experience.
 
besson3c Feb 19, 2013 07:20 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by shifuimam (Post 4218121)
I gave up. Turns out that FreeBSD has shitty support for the GPU in my PowerBook.

I ended up going with Debian Squeeze. I was going to try Wheezy, but again - GPU support was a problem. Squeeze with the default Gnome 2 window manager is running surprisingly well, and there are still a lot of PowerPC applications available through apt. I had to find a third-party compiled version of Firefox (and it's only v15), but everything else was in apt.

I would say that the ATI driver is more the problem than the OS. Lots of people have bitched about the ATI driver, it's lagged behind the proprietary nVIdia driver which also isn't great. Apparently the new open source driver is starting to gain 3D support, so it is possible you might have some luck with it, but I'd be surprised if it supported your old video card beyond providing very generic, low resolution support.

I'm assuming of course that your G4 had some sort of ATI video card and not an nVidia one?
 
besson3c Feb 19, 2013 07:22 PM
Then open source driver is called Nouveau, but it only works with nVidia cards:

nouveau Wiki - FrontPage
 
cgc Feb 20, 2013 07:38 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by besson3c (Post 4218260)
I don't think very much is identical at all actually. Can you elaborate?
...
OSX and Linux have a lot of the same tools, both command line and GUI, that operate and look identically as if OSX or Linux recompiled the other's version which I bet they did.
 
shifuimam Feb 20, 2013 12:04 PM
My PowerBook has an Nvidia GeForce 420 Go 32MB GPU. The nouveau driver is documented as having poor support for that particular card. The nv driver in FreeBSD had problems as well. The nv driver has been working spectacularly and can drive 24-bit color at 1024x768. I haven't tried anything 3D or even movies, but I'm not expecting that stuff to perform well at all on this machine.

The main reason I put Linux on it is because Leopard ran like crap, and Tiger is just too old - plus I already have two G3 laptops with Tiger on them. I didn't really want a third.

Only thing not working right now is ACPI, so it won't sleep or hibernate. Shouldn't be too difficult to get working, though.
 
besson3c Feb 20, 2013 01:41 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by cgc (Post 4218311)
OSX and Linux have a lot of the same tools, both command line and GUI, that operate and look identically as if OSX or Linux recompiled the other's version which I bet they did.

They have some of the same CLI tools, although even then there are a number of notable differences, but that's about it, no?

What GUI tools did you have in mind in saying this?
 
cgc Feb 20, 2013 02:46 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by besson3c (Post 4218421)
They have some of the same CLI tools, although even then there are a number of notable differences, but that's about it, no?

What GUI tools did you have in mind in saying this?
Quite a few of the preferences and basic apps included with the OS. I really don't have time to go through them all but I remember there being a lot of similarity between those tools (in Gnome 2) and in OSX 10.6. The CLI tools are all nearly identical across almost every distros and OSX but who wants to do much via CLI...
 
besson3c Feb 20, 2013 02:58 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by cgc (Post 4218441)
Quite a few of the preferences and basic apps included with the OS. I really don't have time to go through them all but I remember there being a lot of similarity between those tools (in Gnome 2) and in OSX 10.6. The CLI tools are all nearly identical across almost every distros and OSX but who wants to do much via CLI...

But they're not.

In addition to the things that OS X does differently than any other OS, there are a number of differences between GPL vs. BSD tools. You can find a listing of some of these things here:

Unix Toolbox

There are differences in all forms littered through the CLI environment - a very substantial number of things. There is 114 instances of the word "BSD" on this page.
 
cgc Feb 20, 2013 04:17 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by besson3c (Post 4218445)
But they're not.

In addition to the things that OS X does differently than any other OS, there are a number of differences between GPL vs. BSD tools. You can find a listing of some of these things here:

Unix Toolbox

There are differences in all forms littered through the CLI environment - a very substantial number of things. There is 114 instances of the word "BSD" on this page.
Geez, looks like everyone loves a good witch hunt. I still contend that if you know the CLI for OSX you're not going to have much to relearn using any other mainstream CLI. Same goes for for basic system prefs and basic applications. I go from OSX, to Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora, Mandriva, etc. without any fundamental differences (installing via CLI is one obvious difference but none are too difficult). If you want to nit pick we can say they're totally different and count a number of specific differences, but if we generalize like I did I think they are similar enough to hit the ground running with a shallow learning curve. Now please put your torches and pitchforks away and disperse your angry mob.
 
besson3c Feb 20, 2013 04:48 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by cgc (Post 4218460)
Geez, looks like everyone loves a good witch hunt. I still contend that if you know the CLI for OSX you're not going to have much to relearn using any other mainstream CLI. Same goes for for basic system prefs and basic applications. I go from OSX, to Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora, Mandriva, etc. without any fundamental differences (installing via CLI is one obvious difference but none are too difficult). If you want to nit pick we can say they're totally different and count a number of specific differences, but if we generalize like I did I think they are similar enough to hit the ground running with a shallow learning curve. Now please put your torches and pitchforks away and disperse your angry mob.

I'm not angry at all, nor am I looking to pick a fight. I think I agree with what you are saying generally, I just disagree with how you put it.

I think what you are trying to say is that once you are comfortable with the principles and designs of a Unix based operating system, having, say, different letters/numbers used as command line arguments is not going to throw you off when you move between BSD and Linux OSes. The way of thinking and working in a command line environment is the same, but the specifics of syntax and the tools used are quite different. If you memorize commands and don't understand them you will have a hard time making the switch, but if you understand how to figure things out you'll be fine. It may sound like I'm splitting hairs, but there are people that just understand commands by rote without understanding what they are typing.

Once you understand the principles of a Unix based operating system you can handle everything but Windows, and even then you'll find the odd similarity (such as the hosts file).
 
shifuimam Feb 20, 2013 11:54 PM
If you don't want to get too fancy, OS X does have a lot of the same stuff any well-rounded Linux distro has - like SSH, fsck, dd, ps, grep, less, and other crap that I can't think of off the top of my head. Plus it uses the same basic syntax as any Linux distro, so you don't have to remember how to view a file listing from the command line.

I can't even begin to count the number of times I've opened a command prompt in Windows and typed "ls" instead of "dir" - and I've done the same thing the other way around on my Macs and Linux machines far too often. :D
 
besson3c Feb 21, 2013 12:09 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by shifuimam (Post 4218538)
If you don't want to get too fancy, OS X does have a lot of the same stuff any well-rounded Linux distro has - like SSH, fsck, dd, ps, grep, less, and other steal that I can't think of off the top of my head. Plus it uses the same basic syntax as any Linux distro, so you don't have to remember how to view a file listing from the command line.

Yup, the same is true of any modern non-Windows OS.
 
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