openSUSE on iMac A1058 (PPC G5)


I am very comfortable with Linux on x86 / x86_64 architecture. I have so few problems as of late (outside of periodic annoyances) I have been pushing openSUSE on the computer-apprehensive. It is so low maintenance anymore I rarely need to help ANYONE with their Linux issues. That said. I picked up a PowerPC G5 iMac, Model number A1058, and there is ZERO support from Apple on it. Completely abandoned by the company. Kind of sad, really as I think it is still a decent piece of hardware.

I know NOTHING about installing openSUSE on a Mac or any other distro. Is there anything I should be aware of that is not widely documented? Pitfalls, issues, etc?

Any advice or links to point me in the right direction would be great.

So far, I’ve been reading upon the openSUSE wiki and pretty versed there.

Thank you for your time,

I think you may be out of luck here. openSUSE Leap is x86_64 only and Tumbleweed is available for i586 and x86_64. There are some pages on the wiki that reference 12.3 or 13.1, which are pretty old.
Now, if you had an Intel Mac… Boot Camp that thing and go to town. :good:

Actually there are ports to PPC:
(you can find the Leap 42.1 isos and repos along-side 13.1 and 13.2 in the distribution subfolder, and Tumbleweed is in tumbleweed)
Leap and Tumbleweed are only available for PPC64 AFAICS, but a G5 should be 64bit AFAIK.

I have absolutely no experience with those though.

I talked to a big time Mac guy I work with and he said the only way I can effectively use the machine is to abandon the Mac OS just as Apple abandoned PPC. So, I am going to give it a spin and see how it goes. At this point, I can’t do much with it and my experience with openSUSE / Linux is that it works just fine on minimal hardware. I have 1.8 Ghz processor and 2GB RAM which I believe should be enough.

The other issue is the Nvidia video card in it but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I will report my journey here as I go through it with this foreign piece of hardware.

Thanks again!

That page should be linked to from the other page, unless I missed it. :stuck_out_tongue:

I see PPC64 and PPC64LE as architecture types. Any idea what the difference is? I looked it up and the LE stands for “a pure little-endian mode that has been introduced with the POWER8” but that means nothing to me. I also looked up little-endian and POWER8 but I have no indication as to whether or not that is compatible with the G5.

I am downloading both ISOs and will try them both. What’s the worst that can happen? :slight_smile:


The Apple G5 is going to have an IBM PowerPC 970 in it which is ppc64. Worst case is the ppc64le DVD won’t boot. :slight_smile:

I can’t work on the thing until tonight but as I learn and understand more about this process I am intending on contributing to the opensuse wiki to help others… though, I might be the only one that cares to keep old hardware relevant.

You make me wish I still had my 12" PowerBook. Alas.

The oldest thing in my house is a MacBookPro 1,1 that is running LinuxMint Debian Edition 2 since Leap came out as 64-bit only. I could go the Tumbleweed route…

An update to my journey of bringing an old iMac G5 to the Linux fold: No success yet.

The internal CD Rom drive is not functional. Popping in a CD will yield nothing so there is some sort of hardware failure. It also will not boot from USB but there is supposedly a work around by going into the OpenFirmware. For reference you can start up the machine in Open Firmware by . Hold Command-Option-O-F right after the machine is turned on. I have also read Command-Option-F-F but that is not what I used.

I’ve used several sites, like this as a guide but no dice on getting the machine to boot from USB.

My next course of action is to set up a TFTP server with the image running on it. I have not ever used TFTP but it looks like this will work. If I just can’t get it working, I can buy a firewire drive and try to boot from that but I would like to do this on a budget of $0.00.

Looks like the SDB on TFTP hasn’t been updated since 11.3 so I may make some updates to that while I’m at it.


Try with just holding the option key to select the boot medium, that’s what i use on my MacBook. You say CD ROM, then burn the NET install iso image and try booting from that.

Does it have osX on it?

Holding down the Option key to get to the boot screen is where I started, it won’t recognize USB as a valid boot media. The CD Rom is has a hardware failure as such that even in Mac OSX it can’t read anything. It will recognize the USB medium but not the CD Rom.

I am hoping for TFTP as my next step. I’m reading up on it now and configuring a system to do it.

I am probably going to use some of the information here and add to the openSUSE wiki once I test out how it’s done for myself:


USB DVD/CD-ROM instead of USB flash drive, maybe?

It might work but I don’t have one. I will add it to my list of possible solutions.

I have macbook PPC G4. I will try as well.


My success with Linux on this iMac G5 has been quite lack-luster. I was able to configure the OpenFirmware to boot from USB, finally. I had to make USB a valid boot device and write it to the nvram. It really wasn’t a big deal to do once I understood what it was I was doing.

I can’t explain to you the excitement in seeing the openSUSE install screen. I clicked through, wiped out the contents of the drive and had the install automatically set the partitions. Unfortunately, I received a bunch of errors on the pre-flight checklist.

It went through the install process but it was an incomplete installation as the system will not boot.

I went through the process again trying the NET iso starting from scratch by wiping all the partitions in hopes that maybe the install didn’t put the Mac partition needed to boot. I had the same issues but didn’t get quite as far as the install process stalled at partitioning the drives.

I thought I’d try the 13.2 and 13.1 but both images failed to get me to the install setup screen. Also true with trying to install Debian 8.5.0.

I did download the latest Tumbleweed image to see if that works but I haven’t yet had the time to try it out.

If this doesn’t work I’m not sure what to do next.

Any suggestions to help me get this hardware to cooperate further would be very welcome.