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Setting OpenFirmware boot params on a 6500


Could someone give me a hand explaining how to proceed in having my Mac boot
linux? This is my story so far.

I've finally installed Debian on my Power Macintosh 6500. Thanks to the
manual, the installation went without problems. The manual authors did a
fan-tas-tic job. Congrats!

However, the last step: "Make System Bootable" did not work on my particular
PowerPC. Thankfully, I noticed a pretty good message on the mailing list:
tml which explained how configure OpenFirmware manually.

Unfortunately, configuring OpenFirmware did not work for me -- one of the
problems I have is that I cannot get the OpenFirmware prompt. This is most
likely because I don't use the built-in video-card, but a newer one with a
VGA connector.

In short, I completely screwed up my OpenFirmware settings. I was not able
to boot anymore (even not from any CD by holding down the c key) or
resetting the OpenFirmware settings (holding down command-option-p-r). All I
saw was the MacOS welcome screen "Welcome to Macintosh" if not for the fact
that the welcome text did read "y*8#%$(#@$%$(^" (it was in fact even less
readable then that) :-(.
Finally, I managed to boot again. I don't know what did the trick, probably
it was resetting the firmware by pushing a tiny button on the motherboard --
one you are supposed to press when adding new hardware.

So, now I can boot again in MacOS. This is what I got now:
* 2 (external) SCSI disks, one of them containing a partition with MacOS
9.1, where I can boot from.
* 1 internal IDE disk, containing 9 partitions. /dev/hda2 should now contain
a bootable version of Debian Linux. One of the other partitions, /dev/hda7
is reserved to put MacOS on, if needed.

So I can now change my OpenFirmware settings using the BootVars program.

However, I fear screwing up again. I don't care if I use either quik as
bootloader or BootX. I don't need MacOS on this machine anymore, I first
went for Quik, but after the OF problems, I opt for BootX.

Unfortunately, when I start BootX, I get the message "Error, could not find
a suitable kernel file"

This is possibly because BootX is on the system on the SCSI disk, and Linux
is on the IDE disk, and none of the partitions of the IDE disk is mounted.
Even not the HFS partition, presumably because it's not initialized.
Regretably, Apple's Drive Setup is not able to mount it without intializing
the whole disk.

So now I'm wondering what to do next. Here are my options:
1) Change the OpenFirmware parameters using BootVars ("Boot Variables"). It
currently lists "/AAPLE,ROM" at boot-device. I think I should change it to
"ata/ata-disk@0:2", but I am not 100% sure, let alone if and how I should
change the other parameters, like boot-file (now empty), boot-command (now
"boot"), output-device (now "ttya", suggested is "/bandit/ATY,264GT-B", but
that's for the internal video card, so I think I ought to leave it like it
is -- I have no clue what to use for my PCI video card), input-device (now
"ttya", I may need to change it to "kbd") and load-base (now 000040000, but
I read I have to change it to 100000)
2) I can reformat the disk again using Apple's Drive Setup, put MacOS (with
BootX) on one of the partitions, and then start the installation over using
the other partitions.

Any suggestions on which strategy to pick are welcome. (Or if you know
another option, please let me know as well).

Freek Dijkstra

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