Posted by: Crowe | April 14, 2007

Ubuntu 7.04 (Beta) on an eMac – Part 1: Installation


I have an older G4 eMac with 512Mb RAM. I upgraded the CD-Rom to a DVD burner and am installing Feisty on it. I did however run into issues just getting to the install. Here are the steps I followed to get a successful install started from the Live CD.

1. Download the ISO from here. (I grabbed the one labeled “Mac (PowerPC) and IBM-PPC (POWER5) desktop CD “).

2. Burn to CD and insert into tray. Reboot eMac and hold the “option” key until your boot options appear. Select the CD.

3. If the LiveCD fails to load the GUI and leaves you at a black screen, as mine did, follow these steps:

Hit these keys to take you to a terminal.


at prompt type

sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Look in the file for the “Modules” Section in there you should have one that says

Load “dri”

change that to

#Load “dri”

Then look towards the bottom of the file for




change the values of these to

HorizSync 30-112

VertRefresh 50-160

Then do ctrl + o then enter

Then do ctrl + x

Then type

sudo killall -HUP gdm

The desktop appeared and I began a typical graphical install. (make sure to select the Macintosh keyboard during setup if you are using one like I am).

This how to was a combination of 4 how-tos I found in the Ubuntu PPC forums.

These are the setting that worked for me. I’d like to thank ZoiaGuyver for all of the work he put into the forums getting people like me straightened out.

…to be continued




  1. Good morning,

    As someone who is working on this presently, I wish you would share your new knowledge with us and start on Part 2.

    I have Ubuntu 6.10 on my machine and I haven’t been able to get it to work. I am downloading 7.04 and hoping that it will work better.

    Thanks for sharing your information.

  2. Thanks. Will be try it at sunday.

    Have eMac-700 (2002 year) with Superdrive Pioneer-108, 1 Gb RAM and 120 Gb storage.

  3. It’s working, thanks!..

  4. Xserver still wouldn’t start when I “fixed” the xorg.conf file. I’m using 6.06 right now because I’m too lazy to download 7.04 but it’s looking like I might have to.

    eMac G4 same as yours 512mb ram. =\

  5. in my xorg.conf file doesnt appear HorizSync and VertRefresh, what should i do?


  6. I’ve got an original series eMac (700mhz, 40gb) and this didn’t work for me.

    I was using a live install disk (from the link provided above, 7.10) and I couldn’t bring up the terminal using the ctrl – alt – F1 keystroke.

  7. Hello, It didn’t work for me either. There isn’t a “Modules” Section on the xorg.conf file, so I can’t do the fix. If anyone can tell me what to do, I’ll be really appreciated.
    My email is:

  8. Thank you so much. I am not sure if this will work for me, but I suspect it will. After about 10 unsuccessful attempts at different releases of Linux, I had pretty much given up. It seems that because of the “economy” nature of eMac’s, they had different crazy and largely unsupported graphics cards. I am a complete newb, but that seems to be what the errors are hinting at.

    Being absolutely unknowledgeable at the command line, I thank you very much for making this so simple. I will try to install ASAP!

  9. The last Ubuntu to support PowerPC architecture was 6.06.2 (Dapper Drake I think). So don’t bother going any higher than that.

    Here is my nightmare. When I try to run the liveCD I get the funky colored ubuntu logo loading screen, then blank screen with the ubuntu loading sound. I’ve tried hitting “ctrl-option-F1” during every stage of that process and it won’t give me a prompt. CRUMB!

  10. There are a couple differences in the eMacs. The Radeon7500 version seems to run ok on 7.04. Every once in awhile booting off a liveCD it will hang at Gnome. I am having big troubles with 7.10 is another story, doesn’t seem to like booting off a CD.

  11. Hello i tried no just this but tree configurations more but in the 8.04 version of Ubuntu neither of them worked for me i even transcript an entire xorg.conf but it was useless can you try the 8.04 in you emac and them help people like us…. please

  12. Are you using the alternate install image for the PPC processor?
    You have to use the PPC version. Also, why not just follow my instructions with 7.04 and upgrade in place?
    Let me know how it goes!

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  14. Reblogged this on anthonyvenable110 and commented:
    interesting solution to a problem

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