This iBook (14-inch "Snow," released July 2006, featuring a Radeon graphics chip) is model A1134 (order number M9848LL/A).
Its motherboard includes the PowerPC processor (an initialism for Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC – Performance Computing). So the selection of suitable current operating systems is limited.
Already, the iBook was running Debian 7 ("Wheezy"). However, that release reached end of life April 26, 2016. Also, I wanted to update Wheezy's version of Firefox. So, I thought I would try to upgrade it to Debian 8 ("Jessie").
The upgrade to Jessie went fairly smoothly, except for one problem. (Presumably, you'll also experience the same problem, if you do a fresh install on an iBook.)
By default, Jessie's Xorg detects the iBook's Radeon graphics chip, and thus selects the Xorg Radeon X-Windows driver. However, it assumes—without verifying this—that the chip will handle 3D graphics (OpenGL/DRI2). Something about this hangs the iBook.
I found two ways of handling this problem.
- Tell Xorg not to use hardware acceleration with the Radeon driver; or
- Tell Xorg to select the "modesetting" driver instead.
Also, if necessary, you can access the iBook's command line by:
- The second time the Yaboot loader pauses, type 'Linux init=/bin/bash';
- Type 'mount -no remount,rw /';
- (Here's where you type whatever you want); and
- Type 'exit'.
Then, per Debian's Xorg wiki page, do the following steps:
- Stop your display manager (e.g., gdm3) by typing 'sudo /etc/init.d/gdm3 stop';
- Type 'sudo Xorg -configure';
- Type 'sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf'.
- Uncomment Option Accel, and change its value to "False" (including the quotes); or
- Change Driver to "modesetting" (including the quotes).
Copyright (c) 2017 Mark D. Blackwell.