Monolithic Linux on the PCI Power Macintoshes




Powermac/Linux is a monolithic linux kernel ( >2.1) for the PCI based Power Macintosh Computers. Currently it is known to run on the 7200, 7500, 7600, 8500, and assorted clones. There are drivers for most of the standard io devices (see below) and X support too. Powermac/Linux is binary compatible with mklinux and the other PPC linuxes. This should make a dual installation of linux-pmac and mklinux fairly easy

the monolithic kernel has consistently proven to be faster than the Mk kernel(s) in the benchmarks that I've seen (if you have evidence otherwise, I'd be interested to know)


To Do:


Check it out: comp.os.linux.powerpc

List Archives:

  • A searchable linux-pmac archive at linuxppc by Scott Sams
  • List Archives at Samba
  • Fred's linux-pmac Mailing list archive
  • (this list is dead) linuxppc-dev list archive

  • Mailing Lists

    There is a mailing list for users of native/monolithic Linux on PCI-based Power Macintosh (Powermac/Linux); to subscribe, send email to with a line in the body saying

    subscribe linux-pmac [your name]

    to unsubscribe; do the same; but say 'unsubscribe' instead, and omit [your name]

    by OZEL Information about the Debian lists can be found at

    Linux on PowerPC FAQ-O-Matic (info mecca)

    Bug Track


    a page with (mostly) Linux benchmark results.



    Paul Mackerras
    Dept. of Computer Science
    Australian National University.

    Paul is the primary author of the PowerMac port. (you, help!)

    The first port of Linux to PowerPC was done by Gary Thomas.

    People, and the stuff they do

    (I know* I'm missing people, but not intentionally, so if you have something that belongs here, let me know)

  • Geoff Keating, egcs, gcc, binutils
  • Anthony Tong, ati, misc patches
  • Wesley Joe, StarMax Info.
  • Fabio Riccardi, 2400 & 3400
  • Fred Dushin, The "official" Bootvars source

    Check the official STATUS.

  • Supported machines:

    check the status (mentioned above)

    Getting Started:

    There are three ways to install Powermac/Linux:

  • get the Linux/PowerPC distribution (from, which includes both Linux/PowerPC and Powermac/Linux, plus it does most of the install from the Linux side using rpm (RedHat Package Manager). best way to do this is to buy the CD. you could also download the packages you want/need. look around at to find out more about this option. I had this running on a 170M drive, without X... without shared libraries either
  • get the PowerMac MkLinux distribution, install it, then install Powermac/Linux over it. basically you need to add the pmac specific things to a mklinux installation. i wouldn't recommend it.
  • see what the debian folks are up to.

  • Getting the source

    The kernel source and a bunch of useful/necessary stuff can be ftp'd from the ftp site:


    even better, a US mirror (well, if you're in the US):

    Or a european mirror: (what happened to the french mirror?)
    Or in Japan:
  • [f][ht]tp://

    sorry, had to say it.

    How To Boot

    The Name:

    ;-) a.k.a linux-pmac.


    External Info:

    Local Info



    mike .. tesch. i was working on random things, keeping this page current (haha, that's a running joke, i've been saying it for 2+ years now and i'm maybe not the best at it), kgdb, bootvars (i have various stages of enhancements to it, none of them complete of released, just no time). If you want me to add anything to this page, add a link to your (powerpc and linux) page, whatever... send me a note: and NO, i DONT want any pheremones in a bottle.

    this page last updated: (nov 3 '98) it has been hit many times since sunday june 29 '97, i think it averages about 1000 hits a week, but i lost my counter (and am too lazy to make another) and besides, hopefully people are using web caches so a counter wouldn't be accurate anyways

    penguins (and kangaroo) (c)1996 OZEL
    and if you're going to use them elsewhere, you need to give credit to their source... sheesh. that means leave the signature on the image.

    ".naidnE elttiL etaH I"