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Re: linux-mac68k email list problems

On Tue, Jan 14, 2003 at 01:42:32PM -0600, John Steven Sobtzak wrote:
>  Hello, I am trying to get some info on installing Potato on my PB520 and 
> email the lixux-mac68k@mac.linux-m68k.org list serve but get an "unknown 
> user" error.  Can anyone tell me what's up with that address??

I've been on that list for ages, but I haven't seen anything on it
for a few months. And I haven't seen anything at all from the person
who owns the server in a lot longer.

I'll attempt to answer a few of the questions anyway...

>  Hi!  I'm trying to install Linux on a Mac Powerbook 520 and have a couple
> of questions that I am hoping someone can help with (i.e. please forward to 
> correct people ;-).  Let me start by saying I am NOT a software guy, I am 
> an electronics engineer, but I do have
> a good understanding of how hardware works.  I am trying to get a LaTex
> editor on my old Powerbook so I can use the portability of the PB as I
> write a Masters thesis.  In addition to LaTex, I need a way of
> moving/printing files from the PB, ideally over the Ethernet port and/or
> even the floppy drive.  That's the goal

The floppy drive is totally out of the question until someone takes
the time to write the driver. The only machines anywhere close to
having support currently are the IIfx and the Q900/Q950. Apple
finally made the documentation available, but this project doesn't
get much time from anyone. I know I spend most of my Linux related
time on ppc.

The ethernet may or may not work. There is a driver for the Sonic
chip, which is what I believe was in this machine, but it may not
work properly on all machines. Apple was inconsistent about how
they used it, so there are a ton of little tweaks in the driver
for every different model.

>  1)  First of all, I am extremely limited on HD space (~250MB) and have
> found in the Debian Installation Manuals and Mark Scott's Installation
> Instructions that the only way to install Linux on my Mac is to download
> the install files (macinstall.tgz and base2_2.tgz) onto my MacOS partition
> and run the installer from there.  This chews up quit a bit of my hard
> drive (~55 MB, with a minimal installation of OS 7.1.1).  Is this correct,
> in that its the only way to install?

Yes and no. You need MacOS to boot Linux. However, you wouldn't have
to have the install and base files on the MacOS partition you're booting
from. It just needs to be somewhere that both the MacOS and Linux can
read the files. If the ethernet works in Linux, then that could be on
a server. Otherwise, it could be on another partition (initially HFS)
that you could later reformat for use in Linux.

>  2)  What I'd like to do is install Potato from the MacOS partition, go
> back and delete the install files, then shrink down the MacOS partition and
> increase the Linux root partition.  Is there a tool in Potato that will let
> me do this without having to reinstall either system?  Is this even
> possible?  Mark Scott's Instructions suggest leaving ~10MB for MacOS, but
> how is this possible if I must download the install files into my MacOS
> partition?  Or can I put some files into the Linux root partition prior to
> installation?  If so, how and which ones?   Ideally, if I read everything
> right, all I need in the MacOS partition (after installing Potato) is a
> minimal system to boot into MacOS then I can start Linux from there, to I'd
> like to eventually get my MacOS partition down to less than 10 MB.

There is no tool to resize HFS partitions in Linux, although it would
be theoretically possible. You don't really have a Linux root partition
until you install Linux, and several of the "install" files are actually
for the MacOS, not Linux. In particular, Penguin (which is the bootloader)
is a MacOS program, and must be on an HFS partition, most likely the
same one with the MacOS system folder. You also need the actual kernel
file there so Penguin can read it. If you are using a ramdisk, that
needs to be loaded by Penguin as well.

>  3)  Finally, being new to Linux, what is the difference between the
> Kernel and Base install?  Does the Base use the Kernel?  My understading is
> that the Kernel is the core of the OS and the base sits atop the kernel,
> i.e. is the kernels interface?  I ask because reading some of the
> literature on http://mac.linux-m68k.org/ and found out that the kernel in
> the Potato release (2.2.17) does not have support for my built-in ethernet
> port on the PB520, which I would really like to use.  However, the webpage
> does hint that the newer kernels (2.2.23 and 2.4.x) may have the support
> that I need to run the Ethernet port and/or floppy drive.  Is there
> software on the http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=11666
> page that would let me do this?  It says, "If you have a Powerbook, you'll
> want to try a 2.4 series kernel to get support for ADB."   ADB?   Also, I
> look out at the http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=11666
> page and see the various files but have NO IDEA what they are, i.e. which
> ones are kernels, what the rest do...  Are the System*.map.gz files kernels
> and base systems?  The extent of my knowledge so far is with the install
> files from Debian: linux file = the kernel (2.2.17), root.bin = ramdisk (is
> ramdisk just used in installation?), the various base files = base system,
> and device.bin = device drivers?

The kernel is the most fundamental part of the system. It is usually
called vmlinux, although other common file names are linux.bin and
vmlinuz (for a compressed version). This is what actually talks to
the hardware, manages resources, and other such things. The base
install is the files you need to have a useful system, such as
configuration files and basic command line utilities. Everything in
a UNIX based system effectively sits on top of the kernel while
it is running.

ADB is the "Apple Desktop Bus" and was used by most older Macintosh
models (from the Macintosh SE up to but not including the iMac) in
order to attach keyboards, mice, and other low bandwidth input devices.
Without a driver for the ADB controller, you have no keyboard, and
therefor no usable console. The controller in the PowerBooks is very
touchy, and mostly undocumented.

System*.map.gz are files used for debugging the kernel. They list
every symbol (functions and data) in the kernel itself, including
the address. With this, you can interpret a kernel oops and figure
out what is breaking in your system. You don't need it for normal

The file linux would be the actual kernel, which is loaded into
memory by the bootloader (Penguin) in order to start the system.

The file root.bin is the ramdisk which contains the installer, and
is only used when you first start an install.

The base.tar.gz (or other similar name) file is basically an
image of the root filesystem for a minimal system. This is written
out to the partition you tell the installer to use as root during
the installation process.

The device files are kernel modules, which can be dynamically
loaded into the kernel after the system has booted, and are
normally drivers for various hardware. Often you will find that
mac68k kernels have everything compiled into the kernel, so there
won't always be anything you need in these, but the installer
is too dumb to know that...

I hope I've answered most of your questions.

	Brad Boyer

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