Heroic follies and epic failures – MacPorts on a blue-and-white Macintosh G3

The Lament For Icarus (1898) – Herbert James Draper

For completeness, I’m including all the detail but if you don’t want to be bored witless, just skip down to the “Conclusion” below.

I successfully installed Ubuntu 8.04.1 on a separate disk in a 350 MHz blue-and-white G3 (circa 1999) with 384 Mb RAM and 6 Gb HD. FFMpeg installed fine, although I have not carried out any performance tests yet.

In order to compare performance, I installed OS X 10.4.11 on the other HD, also 6 Gb. After installing Xcode 2.5 and MacPorts, I ended up with less than 400 Mb free disk space even after trashing everything that I dared. MacPorts seemed to be working fine but FFMpeg failed to install due to (I assume) lack of disk space.

MacPorts 2.0.3 for OS X Tiger is available from the MacPorts website.

Xcode is required to run MacPorts and upgrading to 2.5 is recommended. Download it here:

I tried the same OS X setup on a 400 MHz blue-and-white G3 with 512 Mb RAM and 12 Gb HD.

After about a day and a half of failure to get FFMpeg to install on either machine I decided to move onto gPhoto2. After all, I am hardly likely to be compiling of compressing movies on an old G3, but might want to capture from digital still cameras. Unfortunately, gPhoto2 would not install either, as it seems to rely on glib2 as well. Please let me know if you know different but MacPorts does not seem to be viable on the old blue-and-white G3s, at least not for my needs.


MacPorts is not viable on blue-and-white Mac G3s.

Stay tuned for the next thrilling episode when I install and evaluate Ubuntu Linux on the same machines.

FYI here are some other epic failures, easily avoided.

Using a two-input monitor and thinking that your computer is not starting up because the monitor is switched to the other input.

Plugging your camera into a different computer that is not switched on, and then wondering why it cannot be detected by the one you are working on.

Not reading the instructions, too many examples to include here.

Forgetting to take vital installation disks to where you are working on-site.

Not using a proper Mac keyboard, connected directly. KVM switches don’t necessarily send the correct keystrokes to a Mac, so trying to boot from CD can be a frustrating experience. Also, the Mac keyboard layout is different from your average PC keyboard which makes it difficult to reproduce some of the key combinations in Linux.

To be continued…

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