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Bug#241228: Oldworld from floppy, installing the kernel fails

On Thursday, April 1, 2004, at 05:57 PM, Holger Levsen wrote:

another mail, same topic:

Is there support for setting open firmware values in debian-installer at
moment ?
Not yet, but you are welcome to provide patches.

We'll see, I will try to setup a d-i build this weekend or next week (should I start with i386 or is it equally easy on powerpc?), but I've also got some
offline stuff todo...

This would be a *very* useful thing to have. Some (most?) OldWorld Apple PowerMac models require open firmware tweaking to get them to boot Linux without the use of MacOS. And all the existing high-level(*) ways of tweaking open firmware parameters require booting either full-blown Linux or full-blown MacOS.

For what it's worth, i386 doesn't use open firmware... So I'd guess that PowerPC is a good place to start.

Apple has provided us with an amazing number of different open firmware implementations (typically at least a couple per each machine model) with an amazing number of different and mutually incompatible peculiarities. So I'd guess that any project that allowed setting open firmware parameters from a boot floppy would have to (at least optionally) take user input online (i.e. from the keyboard) and allow for off-line configuration as well (when -as happens- the open firmware is so badly broken that even keyboard input is impossible before patches are installed -- I'm talking here about those early PowerMac models that default to having the open-firmware console on the serial tty port.)

It would be incredibly useful to have something that took all (known) model-specific peculiarities into account (and was flexible enough to deal with unknown ones) to provided a uniform, model-independent user interface, that could be used in the early phases of booting from a floppy.

(*) Of course, you can boot and hold down command-option-O-F, then interact with the open firmware directly. But I consider that "low-level". Also, there are conditions under which that doesn't work.

Hope this helps!


PS: There are other architectures that use open firmware (Sun's sparc comes to mind.) Once upon a time there was a project to write an open-source "Linux bios" for the i386 architecture. I have no idea what relationship (if any) it had to open firmware.

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