Saturday, December 01, 2007

The beauty & the beast - installation of Ubuntu

NOTE: This installation was done on the same day as I wrote my last post. But didn't get enough time till date to write this.

I was too eager to get to get Ubuntu running on the iBook. I had already downloaded and burnt Ubuntu Gutsy (7.10) PPC 'Alternate CD'.
Originally I had planned for freeing up about 15 GB of space by removing photos, songs and some documents. But since my brother was not sure what all things were backed up and I was not interested in spending hours to write backup CDs I decided to go ahead with 5 GB free space.

Put the CD in CD drive and restarted the iBook. 'C' key needs to be pressed while booting to boot from CD.
Started installation in default 'install' mode. The text installer has not changed much since Warty (4.10). Cool. :-)

The installer asks many questions, one of the most important being disk to be used for installation and partitions.
Since I was not sure about what kind of boot partition was needed to have a dual boot I decided to use guided partitioning.
The drive had only one partition of 30 GB so I had to first resize it.
The partition manager asked me the new size of partition. It also told me that it can not be less than 25 GB since the largest free block in this partition was 5GB.
Wonderful. So resize existing partition to 25 GB and then use the 5 GB with guided partitioning to create necessary partitions for Ubuntu.

Nope, not that easy. The partition manager complained that it could not resize HFS+ partition. Stuck. :-(
I don't have a live CD so I can not use it to resize the partition. The disk management program in Mac OS X will not let me resize partition. And alternate CD installer tells me it does not know how to resize HFS+ partition. The worst problem was that I did not have internet access to search the solution.

About 10 minutes of thinking and some trials on my PC and I realized that there was a wonderful tool called parted. Not sure if it can do the job but there is no harm in trying.
I went back to installer menu and executed shell, which is named 'ash'). ash is a POSIX complaint shell with minimal features. Hence it is included on boot floppies and installation disks. (Actually it is dash which is a port of ash to linux)
After executing the shell I started parted program. It showed me the existing partitions and I gave the appropriate commands to resize the HFS+ partition to 25GB.
Wow, it says it will take around 40 minutes to do the job.

Break started.

Listened to some songs. :-)

Washed some clothes soaked up since morning. :-P

Ate 1-2 dry-fruit laddoo. :-D

This is all going on at around 1 in night.

Break ended.

Resizing finished.
Guided partitioning using remaining 5 GB. 1 MB allocated to 'NewWorld' boot partition, 275 MB for swap. Remaining went into '/'.

The installer continues after partitioning. It took around 25 minutes for the installation to finish all the stages and reboot. The boot loader installed was yaboot, not grub as it is usually done on x86 machines. Default boot option was linux obviously which means Ubuntu in my case. :-)

Felt really good to see the familiar screen and colors of Ubuntu on that 12" screen. :-)

Initial goodness:
ATI Radeon Mobility 9250 is supported by Free 'ati' drivers. So compiz works out of box.
Even though the machine is only 1.2 GHz it feels like it runs pretty fast compared to my PC with 1.6 GHz AMD Athlon processor. But this might be due to more RAM or I may be wrong.

Initial badness:
The default installation does not contain :-( (Ubuntu bug 164491)
There is no sound. In fact there is no device created for ALSA to use. (Ubuntu bug 60381)

I realized that there must be some sound module missing (not loaded).
'slocate snd- |grep ppc' told me that there was a module called snd-powermac. So I just loaded module with modprobe command and it was working. I also added it to /etc/modules file to load it on startup.
Surprisingly the sound in Ubuntu is louder/clearer than what iTunes/iPhoto produce in Mac OS X. Not sure if this is problem in applications or Mac OS X.

Soon I installed, many gstreamer plugins, libdvdcss2, thoggen by downloading them at a friend's place.

Now waiting for my phone/net connection transferred so that I can actually start some development work on this beast.
Yes, I have been busy and lazy at the same time. :-D

Coming up next - some nice photos and screenshots when I get the internet at home. :-P