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Re: debian-powerpc: g4 installation woes.

On Thu, Apr 06, 2000 at 12:37:11PM +1000, Brendan J Simon wrote:
> I have just purchased an Apple PowerMac G4/450, 256MB RAM, 20MB IDE Hard
> Drive, Zip Disk and DVD-ROM.  I want to install Debian Linux on it but
> it is proving to be a nightmare.  I have read and read and read the
> mailing list archives but I can not get linux running.  Can someone
> please help.
> I beleive that I need to use yaboot/ybin for the newworld mac.
> I have download the latest versions of these from Ben and Ethan's
> web/ftp sites.
> I have tried the latest BootX with Bens kernels.  It started booting the
> kernel but then hung.  It didn't get to the stage of mounting the root
> filesystem compressed image.
> Anyway I think I want/need yaboot.

yes bootX does not work very well on G4s

> Ethan recommends creating a 800K bootstrap partition.  I haven't been
> able to find out how to do this.  I have been using Drive Setup from my
> MacOS 9.02 CD ROM.  I have been trying to partition the disk into 3
> partitions (1 bootstrap, 1 MacOS, 1 Linux Home to be split up using
> linux fdisk).  Drive setup only allows me to enter values in units of 1
> MB.  No big deal but if I enter 1MB, Drive Setup changes it to 32MB.
> How can I get 800K or 1MB instead of wasting 32MB.  Is it possible ?

yes, first you cannot create the linux and bootstrap partitions with
Apple's drive setup.  every other OS on intel and most other
archetectures always say to use the native OSes fdisk to create its
partitions, that is don't use BSD's fdisk to create linux or DOS partitions
and don't use linux's fdisk to create BSD or DOS partitions.  Powerpc
hardware is no exception, don't use linux's fdisk to create macos
partitions and don't use apple's fdisk to create linux partitions.  it
does not work well at all (i have had crashes and corrupted partition
tables attempting to create linux partitions with apple's drive

so this is what you should do, i assume you want to dual boot with
macos (you don't HAVE to you know!) 

decide what linux partitions you want to have, total up the sizes for
all of them.  say you want 64MB / 1GB /var 2GB /usr and 1GB /home you
end up with 5060MB.  

use apple's fdisk (Drive setup) to create two partitions both HFS, the
FIRST is the size you came up with in the previous step, 5060MB.  you
will delete this partition when you boot linux to do the real linux
partitioning. create the second partition whatever size you want for
macos, probably the rest of the disk.

reboot into linux (however you are accomplishing that. a topic for an
entire discussion :))

run mac-fdisk and print the partition table, so you can see what the
real partition numbers are.  delete the first HFS partition you

use the C command to create a custom partition:

Command (? for help): C
First block: 6P
Length in blocks: 800K
Name of partition: bootstrap
Type of partition: Apple_Bootstrap
Command (? for help):

notice the 6P for First block.  this means use the start of partition
number 6, which in this case was a apple_free partition created when i
deleted the dummy HFS partition.  apple_free is renumbered to 7 after
the bootstrap partition is created.

now create the rest of your linux partitions with the c command:

Command (? for help): c
First block: 7P
Length in blocks: 7P
Name of partition: /

in this case the / filesystem would take up all the rest of the space,
not a good partitioning scheme IMO, so i would reccomend using 64M for
Length in blocks: instead. use the xP length for the last partition so
you don't waste any space.

repeat for as many linux partitions as you like.

once your done use p to print the table again and if all looks good
use the w and q commands to write the table and quit mac-fdisk

> I can download base2_2.tgz to a MacOS partition.  How do I get linux to
> boot so I can uncompress it into my linux partition.  I need to run
> linux fdisk first though.

its annoying without a floppy, probably the best bet for you is
install macos on your macos partition, put yaboot and your kernel on
it, and boot it from OF directly:

boot hd:X,yaboot

where X is the partition number of the macos partition.  hd: should be
pretty universal.

> I have created boot floppies but I don't have an inbuilt floppy drive.
> I borrowed an external USB floppy from a friend but have not been
> successful in booting from either the root.bin image or the
> boot-floppy-hfs.img.  Maybe I should be using the rescue.bin image.
> Please advise what to do.

USB is not bootable IIRC.  see above.  or if you have access to a CD
burner i could get you a image to burn that will boot your system.

> I don't have access to LinuxPPC or YellowDog Linux so I can't use any of
> these methods to get Linux running (nor do I want to).

good! ;-) installing debian by itself without slopping it on top of
another distribution is a very satisfying experience once you get it

there is probably more questions you have feel free to ask.

Ethan Benson

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