On a whim, I decided to give the PPC build of Ubuntu Linux ‘Feisty Fawn’ a whirl on my G4 Powerbook tonight. Only using the live CD right now, as I’m going to need to do a bit of
spring summer cleaning to clear off enough space on my internal hard drive.
But anyway, I’m liking what I’ve found so far with the live CD alone.
Compiz (or, as Ubuntu refers to it in its user-friendly GUI, “Desktop Effects”) works straight out of the box on the PowerBook’s Radeon 9700, with no additional package or driver downloading necessary. Yay for fancy 3D desktop cubes and wobbly windows. (Hey, I’m an easily entertained ADDer…)
WiFi doesn’t quite work out of the box, thanks to Broadcom’s reluctance to open-source their cards’ firmware. But with the bcm43xx-fwcutter package saved to a USB stick and a firmware file copied over from the OS X partition, it connects quite nicely, even just using the live CD. I’m running off of the built-in AirPort card in Linux as I type this right now.
I may have to clear off some disk space to officially install this alongside OS X. Runs even better here than it does on the six-year-old Gateway laptop that I’ve been playing around with the i386 build on. Not to mention that the Gateway’s video card is way too out-of-date to run any sort of fancy graphical effects (yes, this is really the first big chance I’ve gotten to actually play with Compiz; I’m so behind the times).
(It’s a shame, though, that Adobe won’t release a Linux-PPC version of Flash Player, and only choose to do so for i386. Puts a bit of a damper on web surfing, what with all the Flash-heavy sites out there these days…)