Re: MAC Performa 6400/180 PowerPC, and office suites.

Subject: Re: MAC Performa 6400/180 PowerPC, and office suites.
From: Scott Parrish (
Date: Fri Jul 07 2000 - 21:38:56 MDT

>What's the "best" linux for his machine?

All of the distributions are very similar. SuSe is the newest right
now so you might pick it cause it would have the most "new" stuff
out of the box. Mklinux is the most significantly different (uses
the mach microkernel instead of linus's kernel). Support for it
seems to be waning and is primarily in the 1st generation powermac
line (X100 X=6,7,8). I believe there are also versions of NetBSD
and OpenBSD for PPC...I cant comment on those, however.

>How Stable are the MAC (PowerPC) Linuxes?

I am running YDL 1.1 and RedHat 6.1 (Intel) both are heavily upgraded
and both are extremely stable (I use stable kernels). So bout the
same as PC.

>How compatible with the "mainstream" Linuxes (read PC Linux) are the
>MAC Linuxes?

The are NOT binary compatible. Like Alpha or Sparc linux, code must
be compiled to run on it. The vast majority of programs compile and
run well on PowerPC linux with little or no effort (ie ./configure,
make, make install). Binaries are available for most commonly used
software at any number of ftp sites. Aside from that, if you didn't
know what hardware platform you were on you couldn't tell the
difference between intel and PowerPC linux...they are identical
to the user (assuming the same versions).

>Can he run WordPerfect 8 for Linux on his MAC if he loads Linux on it?

NO, that is one of the few exceptions...WP8 is intel only because it
uses WINE. WINE only runs on intel machines. Some of the other
exceptions are a few of the games out (Quake is one I think).
Usually exceptions are commercial (i.e. closed source) and make
assumptions/use hardware tricks that would require significant
effort to get it to work on non-intel platforms.

>What office suites can he run?

Applix, AbiWord...others that I may not know about. I believe
StarOffice is in the works but I havent heard a definitive answer on
this. KOffice will probably work ok when the 2.0 stuff is stable

If he really likes WP he could run WP for MacOS under MacOnLinux
(Similar to WINE but for PPC Linux).

Graphics support for older Macs seems to be a bit of a trouble spot.
Like PC linux the hardware that is the most supported is the hardware
the programmers have....the 6400 wasn't a wildly popular box with
the code geeks. Chances are you can get X acceleration working fine,
apple mainly used mach64 chipsets in macs of that age and price range.

BTW, its Mac or mac....not MAC. Most mac folks consider MAC to be
insulting. While you might choose to insult the average mac user,
I don't think you want to (and I don't believe you intended to) insult
the folks on this list. (My apologies to the RS6k folks who probably
couldn't care less about macs).

Good luck with your friend!


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