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Our iMac 4,1 (early '06 edition) was getting obviously long in the tooth, due more to the changes to the Internet and lack of further updates than anything else, so I thought it might be a nice project to try to install Debian to bring some more life into it.

I installed rEFInd without incident, and after a lot of adventures with making a suitable boot drive and such, managed to finish the installation using the 32-bit 3 gig build, with non-free firmware.

It boots up, to a point, whereupon the screen glitches out and it is apparently inert from that point on. A bit curious, considering that the graphical installer worked just fine.

Incidentally, during my research into figuring this out, I found a very similar set of symptoms that a Fedora user encountered back around 2011. That was a different version and a different machine, but the display problem looked so similar that I thought it was worth mentioning here for reference.

https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=765954

closed as unclear what you're asking by Jeff Schaller, Kiwy, Dmitry Grigoryev, terdon Mar 19 '18 at 11:29

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I ended up uninstalling and reinstalling rEFInd, and reinstalling Debian, and that got me to the GRUB start menu.

This is related to successfully booting being a problem an old Mac user is likely to encounter, so I'll mention it. It is not unlikely that even after this it'll apparently freeze during the boot process. Entering the boot command editing screen (by pressing E at the GRUB loader), I turned off 'quiet', being advised that doing so would be good for debugging. This tipped me off to there being trouble with the b43 drivers and the graphics. I put in b43.blacklist=yes and also nomodeset, and those were able to get it to finally boot successfully.

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