What the hell is this?

This page has three simple objectives:

1) Instead of simply take some notes of my work on a paper I'm going to loose anyway, make sure that these notes remain easily accessible and share those with people that may have the same needs than me.

2) Demonstrate that a good old iBook Clamshell can be a perfect development platform for a near to zero cost (and have fun using it!).

3) Practice my english.


Ok. I inherited an old Gaphite iBook clamshell from my wife a few days ago. It is a 366 Mhz G3, 32 Mo RAM, with a dead battery, under OS-9, a worm eating its flesh from the inside.

Save my data !

Before being able to play with my new toy, I had a impotant duty: save my wifes's data on the PC. The simplest solution I found was to :

  • save the data files and the e-mail files using a RAR for mac,
  • then transfer them to the PC using FTP
  • burn a CD.

Saved. I thought. But I still had to transfer the mails from this old crapy Outlook express 4 for mac to my beloved thunderbird. And this, my friends, took me a few hours before beeing able to find a solution tha works.

The solution came from a great shareware, emailchemy:

Now my wife can work again, and I can play! Yepee!

Install Ubuntu

My first linux installation without any problem. Ubuntu for powerPC is great. All the settings are the default ones. I'm running Warty. The iBook is happy like a puppy. The big troubles came from the installation of the wireless...

Installation of my wireless

This dusty USB Wireless device (a Linksys WUSB11 v2.6) would be great to free this laptop from the RJ45 leach... I am a linux+PPC newbie, and it took me hours to make this run. Eventually I managed to do it.

The driver

Wow... Linux drivers, it seems to be a quite frightening world. I tried everything I could to avoid a compilation, so I tried a lot of binaries to finally conclude that I will not have the choice.

  • The chip inside the WUSB11 v2.6 is an Atmel one. Basically two drivers can be used: The atmelwlandriver or the berlios atmel driver at

  • The second one is the one that worked for me, but the only solution was to compile it manually.
  • I have taken the latest CVS Tarball of the source code, using cvs (synaptic to get the package cvs): just follow the instructions at (just the login and co commandes are needed).

The compilation

  • Tadaaaa! Time to do my first compilation. make. Do not work: I need a compiler and the kernel headers (thanks to Kryss for its contibs in the news groups):

    • Synaptic to get the package build-essential

    • Synaptic to get the package linux-headers- If you have a doubt about the version, try the command uname -r.

  • make starts and crashes... Darn! A compilation error this time. The compiler claims that it doesn't find the file asm-m68k/setup.h

    • gedit /usr/src/linux-headers- to edit the faulty file.
    • comment the faulty line

  • make again... Then it works as written in the manual. To configure the network, the gnome tool networking is very easy to use for the lazy like me. For instance the WEP key is entered in binary, without - or space, as it is entered in the router.

The price to pay

After all these efforts, I really needed a sweet... Let's go and buy a USB hub, to have both the mouse and the wireless plugged at the same time. I know, it is an insane luxury. But, I really had to.

The ''}~{|]@[''! iBook's keyboard

The issue

I intend to program with this computer, but I really miss some keys to do that. How to do all these little funny characters on a iBook? (I even had to copy and past the characters in the title, can you imagine that?).

The tools

MultimediaKeys gives a lot for this subject.

  • xev shows you the events: Great to catch the code of a key.

  • xmodmap -pke > xmodmap.conf produces a description of your keyboard.

The rational

I use the keyboard macintosh-No decription in the french layout. The "5" in this layout is the keycode 14 (check with xev, if you don't believe me).

What can I read in my fresh new file xmodmap.conf? keycode 14 = parenleft 5 braceleft bracketleft

Everything is there, but how to access? If Only we had a Alt-GR key... gives a solution:

Let's change the Apple (115) key to a Alt-Gr key: {{{!keycode 115 = Meta_L keycode 115 = Mode_switch}}} in the file xmodmap.conf then xmodmap xmodmap.conf et Voila! Even | is there (play with L to see it).

To make this change permanent

Once again I make reference to MultimediaKeys Briefly:

sudo cp xmodmap.conf /etc/xmodmap.conf 
cd /etc/X11/gdm/PostLogin 
sudo cp Default.sample Default
gksudo gedit Default 

And add the following line to the file

# CSO load the new keyboard layout 
xmodmap /etc/xmodmap.conf

My auto Q/A

  • Source navigator: Launch the project browser with the command snavigator. Another manual to read!

Comming soon

Who am I?

A short brief

From AlainSchwab Wed Apr 13 18:25:15 +0100 2005 From: Alain Schwab Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 18:25:15 +0100 Subject: Another Gaphite iBook clamshell Message-ID: <20050413182515+0100@>

Hi there! I got exactly the same old ibook and I agree with you that it works just fine with ubuntu for ppc. However, I have a little problem with mine: my battery is completly fucked up and that's why my hardware clock is always reset to 1.1.1901. This fact causes the crash of my desktop settings when I start up the machine without beiing connected to the internet. That's very annoying, because sometimes I'd like to work with my ibook in a place where I haven't got a internet access. Do you have a suggestions how to fix this? I don't want to buy a new battery for my old ibook, it's way to expensive (ca. 145€). Looking foward to hearing from you. Greetings Alain

MyIBookClamshellAndMe (last edited 2008-08-06 16:59:38 by localhost)