Old firewire hard drive and iMac

I bought a used iMac G4 1ghz and wanted to transfer the files from my dead iBook that I had backed up to a Buslink MFW20 firewire drive. I hooked it up and expected it to just work, but nothing appeared. I checked the cable, it was fine. I shut down, unplugged, the hard drive, then replugged it, and turned on the iMac. That didn't work either. I reset the PRAM and that didn't work. It doesn't show up in the Disk Utility. But if I use System Profiler and click on the Firewire section it shows up there, so the computer can see my drive, it just can't mount it. I started up in single user mode and tried a fsck just for the heck of it.
The Buslink drive has all its lights come on, and none of them blink to indicate an error condition. I don't have another computer here I could try it on, although I'm thinking of installing Ubuntu PPC on my spare partition and seeing if that can recognize and mount the drive.
Does anyone have any ideas?

I would not install Linux. If you want to see if it's something caused by the iMac G4's current system, start it up using your Mac OS X installation disc, the one for Tiger if you are currently running Mac OS X 10.4.11.
When you get to the first Installer screen (after language selection), go up to the menu bar and select to run Disk Utility. Connect the drive (if not already connected) and see if it appears in the Disk Utility sidebar. If it does, there is obviously something not right with the current system on the iMac. But you can use Disk Utility to make a disk image of the external drive and save the image file on the internal drive. Then, you will have access to the files in the disk image when you boot normally.

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