Installing Ubuntu on an eMac

Sometime last year I bought a second hand eMac for R500, thinking it was about time that I started learning non-Microsoft products.  The machine was great and for the first few months everything ran great and I learnt quite a bit about Mac OS X 9.x.  The same person then gave me an iMac that was taking up needed space in his garage.  I got the iMac home, tried to switch it on, but it was dead, and clearly not serviceable by mere mortals.  So that got tossed, but I kept the software that came with it seeing the eMac had nothing.

I noticed that the iMac's software package included an upgrade disc for OS X 10.1 (Jaguar I think), and the tinkerer in me woke up immediately.  I had to give this a try, see what changed.  I booted with the disc, went through the process and made my first mistake on step 1.  Where you choose the partition on which to install, you also have the option to clear it out.  Guess what, that was the first thing I did, happily continued with my installation, only to be told, sorry for you, there's no prior version of OS X on this drive, cannot install.

No problem I thought, just boot up with the iMac's install disk for version 9.2, install that and then do the upgrade.  Only the iMac's disk would not boot on the eMac.  No I had a nice big white doorstop on my hands. 

Plan B was to get a copy of Tiger and install that, but the importer & distributors of Apple products in SA had another plan for me.  Since there is supposed to be an upgrade released in October, they thought it would be wise to stop importing and stocking any copies at the end of 2006.  So every shop I went to had the family pack in stock, but no single licenses.  I only have one machine capable of running OS X, so why the hell would I pay double the price for 3 licenses.  Still had a big white doorstop on my hands.

Fast forward a few months, I take delivery of a set of Ubuntu disks, some non-microsoft technology I can learn on a machine that is serviceable by mortals.  But lo and behold, included in the package there's an Ubuntu disk "For your Mac".  Had to try this.  So I fired up my big white doorstop, had to eject the CD drive with a paperclip because the eject button on the keyboard did not work witouh any OS installed, and booted up with the CD.  Now the install I did on a VPC worked fine first time, and looked to be working fine on the Mac.  Until it started loading X to get to the installation icons.   X did not like the eMac and failed with a particularly ugly error message, I can't quite remember the wording.

Time for some serious googling.

I found a few articles on installing Ubuntu on the eMac, but none of the advice worked, until I downloaded the alternative ISO mentioned in this article.

Ripped it to cd, booted the doorstop, and have never seen an easier installation.  After selecting a few basic options like language and machine name, the install did the rest, and I now have a working eMac again, although not with the intended OS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *