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Linux MintPPC Forums • View topic - A little homemade install CD image for Old World Powermacs

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Did this CD image allow you to install MintPPC on an Old World Mac?
It didn't work at all. 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
It boots, but install fails partway. 14%  14%  [ 1 ]
It installs, but I have trouble booting the new install. 29%  29%  [ 2 ]
It works similar to how the regular mini.iso does on New World Macs. 29%  29%  [ 2 ]
Other (please explain). 29%  29%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 7

A little homemade install CD image for Old World Powermacs
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:34 am 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Well, I don't know if this has been covered in a previous forum post, but here goes.

I wanted an easy way to install Linux on Old World Powermacs. It seems all the major distributions think it isn't worth installing on any Mac that is not New World. That is sad. I know why Apple and Microsoft try to keep everyone on the upgrade treadmill, but I thought one of the core principles of open source was to allow hardware everyone else writes off as obsolete to be useful!

Some time ago I made a CD image which could boot an Old World Mac with the netboot installer for Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10. Well by now that is horribly out of date, since Karmic was not an LTS release. Not to mention Ubuntu is getting heavier and more demanding with each new version.

So I redid the CD image, but with MintPPC 9.3 as the starting point, and it works on my Powerbook G3 Wallstreet (233mhz/12.1"). This is the second oldest G3 Powerbook in existence, after the original G3 Series. It has SCSI and Serial Ports instead of Firewire and USB like the newer models. If the CD boots on this, the chances it will boot any other PCI based PowerMac are very good indeed.

In a nutshell, you download the .iso (about 56mb with lots of useful Goodies to make moving data from Mac OS to Linux easier). http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3809776/MintPPC_9_Nano.iso
MD5 sum also available: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3809776/mintppc93imgmd5sums.txt

Burn it. Boot holding the "C" key down, or 'command(apple)-option(alt)-shift-delete(backspace' (it actually boots on Old World Powermacs!) And you are launched straight into the MintPPC 9.3 installer in all its glory. The only slightly tricky part is how to boot after install with bootx, but I've included the post install kernel and ramdisk on the CD to be copied to an HFS partition.

I'm asking that if anyone wants/needs to install MintPPC on an Old World Mac, you try the CD image, and leave brief feedback in the poll about which models worked or did not work.


Last edited by lubod on Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A little homemade install CD image
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:08 am 
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Lubod: this is excellent! I linked this post to the official MintPPC 9.3 / 9.2 instructions.


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Re: A little homemade install CD image
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:08 am 
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Very Neat! Thanks for your contribution!


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Re: A little homemade install CD image
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:02 am 
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You're welcome! I made it for myself, but since it has the potential to help others, I wanted to share. :-)

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of the desktop Macs it will boot:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac/

Anything with any type of PowerPC 603 or 604 CPU. Generally speaking, all of those have PCI expansion slots, so the kernel and ramdisk supplied with MintPPC will boot with little or no modification, only sometimes requiring extra kernel boot parameters. The ones marked 'Processor PowerPC 601' unfortunately have Nubus instead of PCI, thus they almost always require a custom kernel (Not that it is impossible, it just requires having a running PowerPC Linux system to compile a custom kernel! Ditto really old 68K based Macs either with a cross-compile (crosstool) toolchain or already running on a 68K Mac!). And of course all the Beige G3s which also can't boot like New World Macs, in spite of having a G3 CPU.

And here are the laptops (Powerbooks) that will work:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/p ... rbook.html

Anything from the Powerbook 2400 on down. The 1400 was apparently considered "Nubus" based (see above).

My Powerbook G3 has SCSI and serial, the next series had USB and SCSI, and the final major revision had USB and Firewire. Every Powerbook G3 before the final Pismo model, which had Firewire and USB (New World, or so I've heard), is Old World and therefore would work with my CD.

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/p ... ok-g3.html

As an aside, the first Powerbook G3 (aka Kanga or Powerbook 3500) actually is unsupported by OS X! Thanks Apple! And thank you Linux!

When I get bored, I may compile custom PowerPC kernels for Nubus PowerMacs, or even custom kernels for 68K Macs. The Nubus PowerMacs have 60-110mhz CPUs (ouch!) and I no longer own one, or a 68K Mac, though my main workstation was a Quadra 650 until 2002 (heavily upgraded of course!).

P.S. I think this makes MintPPC the first Linux distribution that can say 'we have a CD that boots Old World Macs!' The CD can boot any Linux PowerPC distribution with the right kernel and ramdisk, but I haven't modified it for other distributions, yet except for Karmic Koala (obsolete even by Linux standards!).


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Re: A little homemade install CD image
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:50 am 
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Thanks for the explanation. I wholly support the idea of making a NuBus compatible one. Though, you would definitely need to custom compile a kernel, b/c the last one in the normal ppc-nubus site is on the 2.6.X tree and most everything in wheezy now wants a 3.x.x kernel. Hopefully, most of the patches will build ok into the newer 3.x.x kernel.

While it would be cool to see MintPPC for 68k Macs, it is both out of our project goal and out of that hardware's means. Not many 68k Macs have the 128 minimum we need for a desktop environment. Now, this isn't to say that if you could actually get a nice booting for 68ks that we wouldn't help you out, but it is pretty far off on the radar atm. We would also need an alternate de, not that I mind a standard lean & mean x framebuffer, but many people do mind it.


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Re: A little homemade install CD image
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:20 pm 
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If i still had my PM 6100 with both the Sonnet G3/500 and HPV video cards, it would've been something to see it boot MintPPC... but for the life of me, I couldn't get the damned thing to boot Yellow Dog Linux 2.3.x or 3.x without first removing the G3 card... which made using Linux lethally slow... with or without a GUI. And the next worst part about it is that it still requires a working Mac OS 7.x-9.x system to install the kernel and boot image in order to even boot. ahhh... the lack of open-firmware...

The website www.kan.org/6100 indicated that people who were lucky enough to own the first line of NuBUS G3 upgrade cards made by NewerTechnology, those were actually able to boot Linux and enjoy the G3 speed... the only glitch being a buggy system clock.


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Re: A little homemade install CD image
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:31 am 
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Very interesting.........I agree that Linux should be about extending the useful life of old computers rather than increasingly (as it seems to to me) focussing on competing with Windows and OS X.......I am very happily running MintPPC11 on my Pismo G3 laptop with WPA2 WiFi......which has now made MintPPC a viable daily use option for me........ :D

Shame about the NuBus/RAM/speed issues as I have two 6100 Macs and a Quadra 610...........but when I get some time I will try it on my Beige G3 desktop......


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Re: A little homemade install CD image
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:14 am 
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I was debating if this should be a separate forum thread, but it is related to the install process for my custom little MintPPC 9.3 CD, so it seems that it would be appropriate to leave it in here.

Notes/problems/solutions (if known) to the 9.3 install process on Old World Macs: (some may be fixed simply by using MintPPC 11 or newer)

When you decide to partition, think ahead. Are you trying to create a dual boot Mac OS/Linux setup? Then you need:

Whatever size partition you want for Mac OS. In most cases 300MB is more than enough, if you want to minimize even 64MB or less may do.

At least one HFS (standard not Plus or Extended) or ext2 partition approximately 64MB to store kernels and ramdisks in a way that can be read from both Mac OS and Linux with ease. HFS is easier to access from either OS out of the box, but there is a very old ext2 mounter called MountX for Classic Mac OS. Yes I have a copy, since it is almost impossible to download from anywhere anymore! Ditto many other similar Mac OS utilities like BootVars. These are some of the extras I put in there that make the 56MB instead of the usual 14.

The rest of the disk can be dedicated to Linux, but it should be at least 4-5GB for a full blown system with X11/LXDE.

If you are OK with Linux only, boot from the CD or other medium into the installer, let it create the partitions. It seems to make the /boot partition 8MB, which is too small! I had to erase the other partitions, make /boot 64MB (make sure it is ext2 and on the first hard disk!), recreate /root, swap and /home. Of the three guided choices I recommend the middle one, one partition for everything seems too simplistic and a hassle to back up /home, and 5 or 6 partitions seems overkill unless you think you'll fill /tmp or /var and kill your system!

When it partitions, it says "the current kernel does not support lvm. You may need to load the lvm-mod module. I did not investigate further, as my setup is not yet complex enough to require lvm. Critical if you require disk level encryption or RAID but not otherwise. My laptop does not need RAID for one disk, and I'll settle for file level encryption like truecrypt.

It goes almost without saying, but wired ethernet is way simpler for the install, no WEP/WPA to deal with, no driver issues (almost all known wired ethernet interfaces built into Old World Macs have an existing, working driver in the kernel), and if DHCP fails, you can configure manually! As an aside, plugged into Mac OS 10.5, DHCP worked, but the same setup with 10.4 failed. I suspect the dhcpd in 10.4 is too old/buggy, but as long as manual IP assignment works (it did for me), why bother?

And of course after it is done you do have to do several housekeeping chores like add youself to the sudoers group, but there is ample documentation for those steps already.

Well, this is beginning to feel like I'm posting by myself, for myself, not that I mind. Even if this post only saves me hassles later, it has done its job. It seems I can't get the Debian installer (with or without auto url=mintppc.org) to install Quik, even with every partition, not just boot, being ext2. Good thing I can use BootX when Mac OS is installed, but I want a Mac with no Mac OS aside from MOL, Qemu, Sheepshaver, Basilisk II, vMac or the like. I want to boot directly into Linux. Stumbled on to mkvmlinuz in synaptic, looks promising. Says it can convert the regular ELF kernel that Quik/BootX/Yaboot use to a COFF format that can be booted directly from Open Firmware. Makes it necessary to redo on every kernel update, but it says it compresses the kernel too.

Trying to keep these notes relatively short, so as not to drown out the comments/suggestions of others.


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Re: A little homemade install CD image
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:41 pm 
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By chance I have had another go to install Linux on my old Wallstreet, I have been trying for two years with little to no sucess with all sorts of problems too numerous to get into.

By chance I thought I would have another go and have stumbled upon this post. THANK YOU it worked!!

Using the CD drive (not tried the DVD as I know it usually does not work) I booted and installed via Wi-Fi using an ORiNOCO Gold card (Dell TruMobile 1150 actually).

Machine boots to the desktop fine.

Machine specs:

Wallstreet 266mhz (with Wegner Media 500mhz MPC 7410 G4 upgrade)
384mb Ram
Apple CD ROM

I do not seem to able to log in as root or sudo, can somebody please point me in the right direction for some post set up docs as I am fairly new to Linux, also how does Mint PPC 11 run on these and is it possible to upgrade from 9 to 11?

Again thank you!
brams


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Re: A little homemade install CD image
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:10 pm 
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Great that the installation CD works !

Thanks to Theos911 (he wrote a number of nice manuals) you can learn about root privileges:

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=712
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=436


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