An ideal test subject for the latest Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on a non-mainstream computer (which has 1 GB RAM so it should be able to run Linux well).
The live cd does not configure X correctly, but the netboot image has a textmode installer, which installs a working X.
I found the following:
- The Ubuntu 12.04 live cd does not configure X correctly so it was unusable on this particular iMac, but the netboot image has a textmode installer, which installs a working X.
- The default X configuration shows a black screen when rebooted, but this model has a VGA connector in the back, so an external monitor could be attached showing the 1024x768 screen. This mean that the modelines deduced by the graphics driver do not hit the limited range supported by the built-in monitor.
- The Rage128 graphics card is not supported by Mesa (the 3D component in X) anymore so all the graphic niceties are rendered in software, which is simply too slow. Switching to Unity-2D in the login screen (click the tiny Ubuntu logo) did not help noticeably.
Conclusion: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS expects much from the graphics card. Elderly machines without supported hardware accelleration does not give a good user experience.