Ubuntu: Installing Ubuntu on Macintosh PowerPC, no CD-drive, USB boot not working


I've got a Macintosh PowerPC G5 running on Mac OSX 10.4, it's a bit too old to upgrade to 10.5 and 10.4 doesn't have compatibility with much.

I decided to install Ubuntu instead, I have attempted to make a bootable USB install however it didn't boot through the USB and I wasn't able to access the boot priority because it required a password (this is a hand-me-down I decided to try and fix up).

I also burned a bootable CD installer however it turns out the CD-Drive on the PowerPC seems to have died off.

Is there any other method to get Ubuntu onto this Mac OS X 10.4 PowerPC? I tried installing rEFIt as was mentioned in other posts but apparently it's not compatible either.

Any advice greatly appreciated, thanks :)



I just did this with an iBook G4 (PowerPC CPU) and did a whole blog post about it! You can install Ubuntu via USB, but it requires some tricky hackery. You can read the whole post here, but I'll provide the basic steps in this answer.

  1. Download the correct ISO & make a bootable USB stick however you want.

  2. Stick the USB stick in the Mac & start the Mac up while holding Command + Option + O + F. This will boot the Mac into Open Firmware. Once you see the screen go white with some text on it, you can release those keys.

  3. Type boot ud:,\\:tbxi and the Mac should start booting from the USB.

From there, it's relatively smooth sailing, depending on your hardware. If you have any issues, comment on my answer and I'll do my best to help you!

If you're the more DIY person and want to figure out solutions on your own, read the PowerPCKnownIssues wiki page - it's a great help.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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