Adventures in Apple Titanium Powerbook IV land

The TiBook IV was the last model before Apple launched the 12” and 17” Aluminium PowerBooks, It’s also the last model that comes with a Radeon Mobility graphics chipset, as Apple switched to the nVidia GeForce4 chipset with the new models.

This page contains notes from my adventures into the world of the PowerPC, specifically the TiBook hardware, and how I got the machine to behave how I wanted. I use Debian, and much of the information here comes from the help of the members of the debian-powerpc mailing list.


The processor is a 1GHz G4, which can run at either 1GHz or at 667MHz. At boot, your processor will be probably running in powersave mode. You can change this by using the following command (as root):

# echo "0%100%100%performance" > /proc/cpufreq
# cat /proc/cpufreq
          minimum CPU frequency  -  maximum CPU frequency  -  policy
CPU  0      1000000 kHz (100 %)  -    1000000 kHz (100 %)  -  performance

This tells the kernel to run CPU 0 at a minimum of 100% of top speed, at a maximum of 100% of top speed, and lean towards performance when trying to pick a speed between those two. Most of that is obviously redundant in this case.

To switch back to powersave mode, use:

# echo "0%66%66%powersave" > /proc/cpufreq
# cat /proc/cpufreq
          minimum CPU frequency  -  maximum CPU frequency  -  policy
CPU  0       667000 kHz ( 66 %)  -     667000 kHz ( 66 %)  -  powersave


Benjamin Herrenschmidt maintains the PowerMac port of the Linux kernel (i.e. the PowerPC port specifically tuned to Apple hardware). You can get a copy via rsync by doing

mkdir -p ~/src/linux/benh
rsync -avz --delete ~/src/linux/benh

Build the kernel using Manoj Srivastava’s make-kpkg, by changing into the kernel directory you’ve just rsync’d:

make-kpkg --revision=hostname.1 --config=menuconfig kernel_image

Then install the kernel-image-KERNELVERSION package that’s now sitting in your parent directory.


You’ll want to install these packages from Michel Daenzer’s apt repository (deb ./): xserver-xfree86-dri-trunk, drm-trunk-module-src, xlibmesa3-gl1-dri-trunk.


So, the TiBook only has one mouse button, how do you right click?

In /etc/sysctl.conf, you can set kernel options (of the same name as they appear in the /proc filesystem). So, make sure you have CONFIG_MAX_EMUMOUSEBTN=y set in your kernel, and add the followin lines to /etc/sysctl.conf


This sets up your F11 and F12 keys as the middle and right mouse buttons.


Don’t put your TiBook in the oven.

Further Reading describes a Yellow Dog Linux installation on the same hardware. describes more general Debian PowerBook installations. describes Branden Robinson’s method to install Debian on an iBook without using any physical media, this works for the PowerBook too. tells of Matthias Schmidt’s experiences installing Debian onto one of the new 12” PowerBooks.