PowerBook 5300 FAQ

AlkSoft / Contents / Software / Operating Systems

1.1) Operating Systems

1.1.1) What OS shipped with this computer?

All PowerBook 5300 series computers originally shipped with System 7.5.2 and PowerBook 5300 Enabler.

1.1.2) What systems will run on this computer?

Any system from System 7.5.2 with PowerBook 5300 Enabler up to Mac OS 9.1 will run on the PowerBook 5300 series. That includes System 7.5.3, System 7.5.5, Mac OS 7.6, Mac OS 7.6.1, Mac OS 8, Mac OS 8.1, Mac OS 8.5, Mac OS 8.5.1, Mac OS 8.6, Mac OS 9, Mac OS 9.0.4, and Mac OS 9.1. It maybe be possible to boot systems earlier than 7.5.2 or newer than 9.1 (excluding OS X) by using 3rd party software to facilitate the operating system installation or by employing some sort of ResEdit software hack. However, such installations are not officially supported.

1.1.3) What system version is best for this computer?

That is largely a matter of personal preference, although System 7.5.2 or 7.5.3 and Mac OS 9.x are probably poor choices of system software for this computer. It is generally recognized that System 7.5.5 and Mac OS 7.6(.1) are stable, responsive, and not resource intensive. Mac OS 8.5(.1) and 8.6 provide modern features (including CarbonLib support) that may be more attractive to you, although these versions require more resources and may feel less responsive than earlier versions. Mac OS 8.1 is probably a good compromise of features and resource conservation. If you are resource concious but like OS 8's look, you can run 7.6(.1) with OS 8's Appearance control panel and extension to get the same platinum interface. I personally run Mac OS 8.6 on my 5300ce and Mac OS 8.1 on my 5300cs.

1.1.4) Do I need a system enabler?

Almost certainly no. PowerBook 5300 Enabler was incorporated into System 7.5.3 and subsequent versions. Unless you intend to use a system prior to 7.5.3, you do not need a system enabler.

1.1.5) Where can I get a copy of Mac OS for this computer?

Apple made System 7.5.3 and System 7.5.5 Update available for free a few years ago. If you have about 40MB of free disk space, you can download the 7.5.3 software from Apple's FTP (or http://download.info.apple.com) server as a 19 part download. [System 7.5.3 | System 7.5.5 Update]. No other versions of the system software supported on this computer are available for free. You may buy any version of the Mac OS from Apple, although Apple will still probably want $99 for the software. A better bet may be to try Apple resellers such as Small Dog Electronics. Many versions of Mac OS are available in quantity on eBay.

1.1.6) Where can I get a Disk Tools disk for this computer?

You may be able to find a Disk Tools image on a Mac OS CD if you have access to one. If you don't have a CD on hand, though, the only Disk Tools image you'll ever need is the Mac OS 8.1 Disk Tools PPC image from Apple's website. Being based on OS 8.1, this version of Disk Tools will work with almost any PowerPC based Mac and access, format, and repair HFS (Mac OS Standard) and HFS+ (Mac OS Extended) format disks. It can be foundhere [download.info.apple.com]

1.1.7) Will Linux run on this computer?

The answer to that question is a qualified yes. One can install and boot Linux on this computer, but it is a complicated project with dubious utility. As of this writing, MkLinux is supported on this computer. Other distributions such as Debian, Mandrake, Yellow Dog, and SuSE can also be made to run on the 5300 if the standard Linux kernel is replaced with one compiled with support for the NuBus architecture. Basically, if you can run it on a 6100, you can probably run it, with some effort, on a PowerBook 5300. Again, as of this writing, several PowerBook features are unsupported: The PCMCIA controller doesn't work, expansion bay devices (floppy included) are not supported, the sound hardware is not supported, and PDS expansion cards are unsupported. There are also some issues with the 5300 greyscale LCD.

A good source for PowerPC Linux and especially NuBus PowerPC Linux information is Nubus.TuxPPC.org.

The current NuBus enabled kernel may be found at nubus-pmac.sourceforge.net.

For a step-by-step recount of of I installed MkLinux on my 5300ce, see the Appendix.

1.1.8) Are there any other third party operating systems that will run on this computer?

I am unaware of any other 3rd party operating systems (besides Linux) that will run natively on this computer. However, there are a handful of 3rd party emulators that can allow you to run other operating systems, albeit with a sizeable performance hit. MachTen emulates a version of Unix, SoftPC and RealPC emulate Windows and DOS respectively, and Virtual PC emulates the hardware of a PC, allowing you to run any "standard" PC operating systems such as Windows 3.1 or Red Hat Linux. However, each of these emulators has significant system requirements. Virtual PC (any version) isn't supposed to be run on anything slower than a 180MHz PowerPC 603e. Clearly, one shouldn't expect great, or even good, performance from these emulators.