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Re: MacOSX & Debian dual boot questions...

I have Debian and Panther on a G4/350, but I have the luxury of having 2 internal HDs, which might be more difficult with a PowerBook. Anyway, I first installed Panther on hdb and used Disk Utility to wipe hda clean of all partitions. Then I unplugged hdb so that there was no way the Debian installer could *$!@ with it, and installed from a set of 14 Sarge testing CDs. After reconnecting hdb, the small bootstrap partition on hda is still the first blessed partition on the system, so yaboot is loaded first and I get the dual-boot menu.

The main reason I'm writing this note is because I got into a little bit of nastiness when I needed to upgrade OS 9, which I use 99% of the time from the Classic environment in Panther. In order to update QuickTime in OS 9, I had to use the "Startup Disk" control panel and choose the OS 9 system folder to reboot into pure OS 9. The problem is that this process "unblessed" the bootstrap partition on hda, and I no longer had the dual-boot menu to get into Linux.

I found a "bless" shell command in Panther, but found its man page confusing and I didn't really want to fry my whole system. I'm not even sure if this command would bless a non-Apple OS partition, anyway. So I booted from the first Debian install CD, started the installer, and went through to the partitioning phase. At that point, I chose manual partitioning, and told it NOT TO TOUCH any of the existing Linux (or Panther) partitions except swap, then went to the next step, which is, I think, the point where you must give the final OK to install the base system. At this point, I kept selecting "Go Back", until I had the option to abort the installation, which I did. After that, I rebooted, and voila! the bootstrap partition was re-blessed, and I had my dual-boot menu back. Phew.

I admit that the process is a little hairy, and I probably wouldn't have done it if I had anything really important on that machine. Does anyone out there know of a "less hairy" way to reliably re-bless a bootstrap partition? New-world macs, as far as I know, won't boot from an external USB floppy drive, so the only way I can think of is to make a bootable Debian CD with yaboot on it, set to boot the root partition on the HD. Any hints on how one would create such a "rescue disk"?


I am wanting to install Debian on my PowerBookG4 but I am confused...

Should I (in OSX) repartition and leave a blank partition (for Debian),
reinstall MacOSX, then install Debian?  If so how does my Mac know to use
yaboot instead of proceeding down OSX's 'boot path'?  I have intalled just
Debian on a G5 and it works GREAT but I am confused and apprehensive about
doing a dual boot install w/ OSX.  Any suggestions and insights are much

Thanks in advance as always!!!!

Charles Read

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