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Here is a brief listing of the more popular distributions that run on PPC. I will add links to specific guides, and may add my own, if appropriate.


- Distribution Homepage: http://debian.org
- Current Version: 3.0 (Woody)
- Free Download? Yes.
- PPC and m68k support? PPC64, PPC and m68k
- Package Management? Deb
- Blurb: Until someone can prove me wrong, I'd be willing to bet that Debian bundles the largest selection of packages with their distribution in every release. At the same time, many will acknowledge they are the most stable as well. Development, while active, is slow. Between releases, Debian can lag several months behind in getting the most recent version of a package into their stable release. For this reason, most experienced Debian users prefer to use testing or unstable releases instead. Thankfully, it looks like they've finally deprecated the much maligned and unintuitive dselect in favor of apt. apt is better equipped to solve dependency problems and to keep your computer up to date with the latest versions of your software.


- Distribution Homepage: http://gentoo.org
- Current Version: 2004.2
- Free Download? Yes.
- PPC and m68k support? PPC64 and PPC
- Package Management? Centralized Source Based Distribution
- Blurb: Gentoo is the only source based distribution in this list, though others do exist. I chose this one in particular because its package manager was the easiest to configure of all the distributions I've tried. More importantly, it also has excellent support for both PPC and PPC64. For the unitiated, source based distributions focus on optimizing every package for your particular mix of hardware. Small speed improvements are immediately noticeable, and you get to have complete control over what is or is not installed. This leads to lower overhead for the maintainers, and thus faster turnaround time for getting updates to your computer. However, there are a few downsides. Though not strictly required, broadband internet is highly recommended. A popular office suite, Open Office, is roughly 100MB. Additionally, compiling each package one at a time can be time consuming. Nevertheless, most people find that the improvements they notice are worth the tradeoffs.


- Distribution Homepage: http://linux-mandrake.com
- Current Version: 8.2
- Free Download? Yes.
- PPC and m68k support? PPC
- Package Management? RPM
- Blurb: Originally strictly a Redhat clone, Mandrake is now much more of an independent distribution, with a large following, primarily due to its acclaimed "user friendliness" both in the installer and in system maintenance. Let your own experience guide you, but this may be a good place to start for Linux Novices. My only qualm is how far behind the PPC release can sometimes get when compared to their more actively developed i586 distribution. Some complaints have also been made that Mandrake does not do as good a job as some other distributions in testing for stability. Many happy Mandrake users yet abound, however, so be of good cheer.


- Distribution Homepage: http://suse.com
- Current Version: 7.3
- Free Download? Yes, but CD Images are not available
- PPC and m68k support? PPC
- Package Management? RPM
- Blurb: I do NOT recommend this distribution, at least on PPC. It's quite obvious that SuSE is not interested in pursuing a PPC distribution, though they have released one and will offer commercial support for such. A look at the PPC section of their website reveals no updates since at least 2001, if not 2000. If you really want to try SuSE, you will need a supported ethernet or modem card in your Mac to download the software from their ftp server. If you prove me wrong and they do update their packages, by all means, let me know.

YellowDog Linux

- Distribution Homepage: http://yellowdoglinux.com
- Current Version: 2.3
- Free Download? Yes, but delayed slightly
- PPC and m68k Support? PPC
- Package Management: RPM
- Blurb: I have been the most successful with this distribution out of all the distributions I have tried so far. It's a Redhat clone, but one dedicated exclusively to PPC platforms. They're a commercially based distribution, offering some services such as commercial support, reams of print documentation, and Apple computers with YellowDog Linux preinstalled. Actively developed and kept fairly current. So far, its track record with me has been poor in their installation cds, which bomb out in creative ways on my iBook2. Once I had gotten through the initial install, however, the OS itself is decently polished. Expect good things from here in the future.

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