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Re: Old world mac

Rikard Borg wrote:
> Hi
> Rick Thomas Wrote:
> >
> >Any one of these three bugs will render debian-installer unusable for
> >anyone with anything but a "plain vanilla" hardware or networking
> >environment who doesn't have help from a competant System
> >Administrator, or have such skills personally.  Since I'm the only one
> >on this list who cares two figs about OldWorld PowerPC hardware, and I
> >have UNIX SysAdmin experience going back 25 years (including some
> >pretty unusual hardware!), I guess it's not a show stopper...  Still,
> >there *might* be some folks out there in the "real world" (TM), who
> >will be disappointed that they can't figure out how to install the new
> >Debian release on their particular old Macintosh hardware.  You never
> >know!
> I'm one of those out there.... waiting with a 7200 box at home.
> Rikard Borg
> --

Hi Rikard,

Here's a workaround.  (Thanks! and a tip of the hat to Christian Leimer
<christian_leimer@web.de> and Jens Schmalzing <j.s@lmu.de> for putting
me onto this.)

The 2.6 initrd has many more drivers than are recognized by the hardware
discover and hot-plug phases of debian-installer.  In particular, two
that are often needed for OldWorld PowerMacs are the drivers for the
"mesh" scsi chip, and the "mace" ethernet chip, frequently used on the
OldWorld Apple motherboards.   Along with many others, they are located
in the /lib/modules/2.6.7-powerpc/kernel/drivers/ area of the initrd.

So, if you are in that boat, all you have to do is:

1) Boot with the "DEBCONF_PRIORITY=medium" option in the BootX (or other
boot-loader) kernel options line.  Then, just before each of the "detect
network hardware" and "detect disks" phases, switch to the Option-F2
console and do a "modprobe mace" or "modprobe mesh" respectively, then
go back to the main menu on console option-F1 and proceed as  normal. 
If your ethernet chip is not a "mace", but some other one that isn't
automatically recognized, substitute the appropriate driver for it in
place of "mace".  Do the same, mutatis mutandis, if you have an odd-ball
SCSI chip.

2) Since you loaded the drivers "behind the back" of d-i, it doesn't
know to put them in the "/target/etc/modlues" file before the reboot, so
you have to do that manually.  Just before it reboots, switch one more
time to the option-F2 console.  Do a "chroot /target" and use vi (or
whatever) to edit /etc/modules.  Add lines for your respective "behind
the back" drivers. Once you are safely out of the editor, you can exit
the "chroot" by hitting ctl-D.

3) I boot using MacOS-9 and BootX, so for me there's one more step I
have to do behind d-i's back.  That's to  mount the (hfs) MacOS
partition and copy the kernel and initrd from /target/boot into the
appropriate places in the "System" folder on the MacOS partition.  [[In
order to do this, I have to choose the "hfs" file system driver when d-i
gives me a list of optional drivers to load, and I need to have
formatted my MacOS-9 partition as hfs,  not hfs+, when I was installing it.]]

I haven't yet figured out what to do if your new boot disk needs a
"behind the back" driver.  (You're in a catch-22 situation.  You need
the driver to read the /etc/modules file that tells it to load the
driver!)  I think you have to edit the "/etc/modules" file on the initrd
to have it load the necessary modules before it mounts the "real" root. 
That's not difficult to do if you have a functioning Linux you can boot
into with  access to the initrd, but if you are installing from scratch,
I don't think you have that option.

Let me know if you have any trouble with this procedure.  I'll try to
help any way I can.



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