Linux on PowerBook FAQ

This FAQ deals only with the new PowerBooks with the USB keyboard, the ones after February 2005!

My FN key doesn't work

Compile your kernel with CONFIG_USB_HIDINPUT_POWERBOOK, Debian kernels don't currently have this enabled, see might be helpful if you need to build a custom kernel for Debian (but ignore all the junk about lilo etc.).

How do I change the FN key behaviour

See the pb_fnmode parameter to the usbhid module (if compiled with CONFIG_USB_HIDINPUT_POWERBOOK). You can change it at runtime via /sys/module/usbhid/parameters/pb_fnmode. The valid settings are:

0 (disabled) fn key disabled

1 (fkeyslast) pressing just the brightness-up/F2 key results in brightness-up, FN-key results in F2

2 (fkeysfirst) pressing just the brightness-up/F2 key results in F2, FN-key results in brightness-up

You can also create a file in /etc/modprobe.d (eg. /etc/modprobe.d/usbhid) to automatically switch the mode when the usbhid module is loaded. The content should be: {{{options usbhid pb_fnmode=2 }}}

For kernels 2.6.20 and higher this will not work (in fact, usbhid may not load due to this!), there it should be: {{{options hid pb_fnmode=2 }}}

Help! I opened the start-up disk settings in OSX and now I can't boot Linux

Just hold the option button during boot, and select linux (which loads yaboot). Then don't forget to run ybin again or you'll have to do this every time.

I get crappy sound on my PowerBook5,6

Turn PCM to less than 70% and then use master to control it.