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PPC Potato install from hell...

Little note on hardware... I actually wrote this to some friends at 2am
last night...
- StarMax 4000
- Using IDE drives
- PS/2 keyboard/mouse (but I tried the ADB stuff when the keymapping
- Had LinuxPPC 1999 installed before
- Using BootX
- Used one of my compiled kernels a few times when I needed to get it

Now that makes me want to go out and kill things. Debian PPC is in Sid
still for a *very* good reason... it is nearly impossible to install. In
fact there is *no* way to install it with the install images
available... I guess I shouldn't say no way because after 7 hours of
hacking I managed to get a working install.

- the rescue disk image is either corrupted or just don't work... linux
doesn't think there is a valid FS on it (downloaded it twice just to be
- the install program is broke. It's setup to look for the powermac
stuff in a "Power" directory when it is supposed to be a "powermac"
directory. I couldn't get the install to swallow grabbing the stuff
normally on the rescue disk from a modified http source. I had to burn
the tree it wanted on CD to get it to swallow it.
- the install program has some "issues" with figuring out whether or not
a CD is mounted already... behaves really nasty when it gets screwed up
(bumps you back to one of several different screens which seems at
- the install program is looking for keymap's named *.bmp.gz, the file
has them called *.bmap.gz, and I think in reality they are supposed to
be *.kmap.gz... doesn't really matter since it is grabbing the i386
keymap which makes the machine unusable if you ever get the thing booted
off the hard drive (fortunately single user mode is your friend...
deleting the /root/dbbootstrap_settings and
/etc/console-tools/default.kmap.gz files takes care of it)
- the install OS kernel and modules is bogus too... fortunately you can
get enough stuff without modules to get the machine seeing the net

Fortunately it is now installed and behaving happily... hopefully this
torture will pay for itself in the long run with upgrades being trivial.

I'm frightened to think what installing Debian on an Alpha is going to
be like. Makes the Debian i386 installs feel like a nice back massage :)

Brian Macy

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