MintPPC on G series iMacs

Apple iMac G5 screen, keyboard and mouse

This advice is more for Tubbs Computer Supplies for handling the older iMacs they receive as donations. The Intel Macs can be wiped and have Linux Mint Vanessa on the 64-bit models and Tricia on the 32-bit models,  but the older PowerPC models have a MintPPC version for both the 32-bit G3 and G4 as well as the 64-bit G5.

Apple G3 iMac monitors showing in the 5 colours of lime green, strawberry red, blueberry blue, grape purple and tangerine orange
The G3 iMac colours

G3 iMacs

G3 iMacs are those that look like old fashioned TV sets in bright colours. These are the ones that Steve Jobs liked because they were really cheerful in their colours and disposed of the floppy drive to bring just a CD or DVD drive and USB ports on the side.

These iMacs have a 32-bit PowerPC processor and can use the MintPPC 32-bit version and Debian 32-bit known as PowerPC.

Apple G4 "Sunflower" style display on stalk
G4 iMacs "Sunflower" design

G4 iMacs

G4 iMacs introduced a flat LCD display, and were known as the sunflower because the screen was suspended above the computer.

These are also 32-bit PowerPC systems.

Apple iMac G5 screen, keyboard and mouse

G5 Polycarbonate iMacs

In 2004-2006, Apple released the last line of PowerPC G5 iMacs just before the partnership between Apple, IBM and Motorola collapsed. These machines were 64-bit PowerPC systems given the Monika of Powerpc64el under Linux.

This means that the G5 uses a different version of the MintPPC than the G3 and G4 iMacs.

Intel Polycarbonate iMacs

To make life more interesting or to make identification more difficult, Apple released their new Intel iMacs in the same polycarbonate shell as their PowerPCs models they replaced. However, under the foot will be a code that starts with an A, which tells you that it is an Intel model.

The 32-bit processors are those that have a Core Solo or Core Duo, and can only have Linux Mint Tricia (19.3) installed on them, because that is the last with 32-bit support.

Those with Core2Duo, Xeon and Core i processors will be 64-bit so can have Linux Mint Vanessa (21) installed on them. Note that the 2006 iMacs have a 32-bit boot loader so you need to follow the video above to add the 32-bit boot loader to the ISO.

Installing MintPPC on a G3, G4 or G5 iMac

The link to is dead, so this is the current homepage for MintPPC. MintPPC is closer to the Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 than the mainstream Linux Mint edition and the installer is far more complicated than using the x86 Linux Mint as it has to be done from Open Firmware, the boot loader system on PowerPC Macs.

You are better off using either a CD boot or USB boot rather than the network boot shown in Youtube videos.

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