Debian 8.1 installation on an iMac G5 rev c (iSight)

Some hints to get all the components working under Debian 8.1 ppc64.


WiFi will not be available during installation because of a missing firmware. However you can install it afterwards. You will have to add the contrib repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list first. After that, execute:

# apt-get update
# apt-get install firmware-b43-installer

X11 with native Radeon drivers

Debian will use a framebuffer driver (radeonfb) by default, which is pretty slow even in 2D. To use the native radeon driver instead, perform the following steps:

echo "radeon" >> /etc/modules

Add the following line to the Linux section in /etc/yaboot.conf:

append="video=radeonfb:off radeon.modeset=1 video=1440x900-32"

After that, execute the following commands:

# ybin -v
# reboot

After the reboot, you will have no X11 at all. Switch to a console (<ctrl><alt><F1>) and reconfigure X:

# service lightdm stop
# X -configure
# cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf
# service lightdm start

This will give you at least native radeon with 2D acceleration. However, due to an unfixed bug, all OpenGL applications will fail. There are two possible workarounds for this. The first one is to rename the file /usr/lib/powerpc-linux-gnu/dri/r300_dri.so. This will leave you with software rendering. glxgears (from mesa-utils) will give you a crawling 30-40 fps. The second possibility is to reduce the default color depth to 16 bit. Add the following line to the "Screen" section in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

DefaultDepth 16

Even then, glxgears will only give you 60 fps. If anyone has a better solution by now, please let me know.

iSight camera

To get the iSight camera working, it is neccessary to extract its firmware from a Mac OS X 10.5 installation. The file can be found under /System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext/Contents/MacOS/AppleUSBVideoSupport. There is an extraction tool named isight-firmware-tools, however it is not available as .deb package for ppc64, so either you have to compile it yourself or perform the extraction on an x86 system. The extracted firmware is named "isight.fw" and has to be copied to /lib/firmware. After that, it can be loaded by the uvcvideo kernel module, so add this to /etc/modules:

echo "uvcvideo" >> /etc/modules