A relative of mine was having problems with her aging Macintosh (a G4 model) . The machine was running its original OS, Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar). It ran slowly.. VERY slowly. Any system restore disks that might have come with the computer were lost years ago. Her solution was to buy a new Mac, and I was the lucky recipient of the older computer. I know little about OS X, but I do know that almost any computer running the same OS for over 5 years is likely to develop some problems.
My first inclination was to simply dump Jaquar and install a PPC version of Ubuntu. This went well up to a point. Ubuntu installed but the machine had no display, just a blank screen. Some Internet research provided clues on how to bring up a terminal command line followed by a GNOME GUI. Again, this worked but only up to a point. The screen resolution was extremely low and nearly unreadable. I tried some modifications to the xorg.conf file but the problem remained unsolved. What else could I do? Install a different distro? Attempt to install a new Mac OS? Yes, I knew this machine was at least capable of running Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger).
Searching some P2P bittorrent sites turned up several OS X downloadable images. One that appealed to me was a set of four CD iso files. I was uncertain of the old Mac’s DVD capability. Also, I could burn iso files to CDs on my everyday Linux machine. Macintosh dmg files tend to be problems on non-Mac equipment. I downloaded and burned a set of four CDs. Of course the “legality” of doing this is questionable. On the other hand, unlike a Microsoft OS, Mac OS images are unprotected and do not require product keys to work.
On with the installation. It started without problem. I set a language and a time zone and then came the “show stopper”. The installer asked “where” I wanted to install the OS and offered no options. I don’t know for certain but I believe my Ubuntu install had wiped out the Mac HFS partition. Okay, everything I read on the Internet said that the Mac installer was very smart and there had to be a “work around”. Exploring the Mac menus a little deeper revealed a Disk Utility. The options in Disk Utility were not very intuitive and most were grayed out except for Erase Disk. Having nothing to lose I chose Erase disk. Voila! I now had a location for the OS!! In about 45 minutes I had a “new” Mac computer running the Tiger OS.
The final home of this refurbished machine is uncertain. Maybe it will be a starter computer for a student or an older retiree. Maybe I’ll keep it as a Mac training ground for myself. Having upgrading it to Tiger, a further upgrade to Leopard might provide a few days entertainment. I love Ubuntu but you know, Mac Os X is pretty good too!