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beige g3 etch install

Hello all,

I have been working with Debian for quite a few years now and using powermac G3 machines with extra network cards in them as routers and firewalls, etc. These machines were set up back in the days of Woody and have been kept uptodate with security updates, but otherwise pretty much left untouched. Due to the issues around the firmware in these machines and because it was useful, I always set them up to boot initially into mac OS9 then use BootX to hand over the Debian. This worked a treat.

However, I thought it would be good come up to date by installing Etch instead. I used a free machine that was not actually in use and ran the install using the current network install ISO. Things have changed since the days of woody and it now seems that floppy images (boot image and root image) are no longer used. Hence, I copied the initrd.gz file over to the mac HD and set that as the ram disk for the install. I also copied across the linux kernel and put that into the kernels folder in the system folder. Using that allows me to boot into the installer and using the installer I deleted the previous linux partition (hda7) and swap (hda8) and made new ones. Then installed the base system, etc,etc all the way through to where it runs tasksel. I just leave that at the basic system for now. Following on some more, finally we get to the point of trying to install Quik (which I don't need) and it gives an error anyway, since I have selected ext3 file system that is not supported in quik. I therefore say to carry on without a boot loader. Everything goes fine all the way to rebooting into the new system. However, when I do that, OS9 will not boot up. I just get the flashing disk symbol with a question mark on it. Popping the OS9 CD and booting off that and then running disk setup shows me that the HD has somehow been altered so it is not recognised properly as a mac HD. During the partitioning step, I did not alter anything other than hda7 and 8.

I have found that I can reinstall the apple hard disk driver onto the disk and this then gets OS9 up and working. However, I cannot then boot into Debian, since the boot process gets a little way in and then I get a kernel panic at the point where it tries to mount the file system (error about no file system at /dev/hda7).

I have done this several times now and the same thing happens every time. The install goes fine but then I end up with a completely unusable machine.

I am wondering if I am going about the install process wrongly (ie using the initrd.gz file). I can't find anything really useful in the install manual or using Google. I will probably end up looking really stupid when someone points out an obvious mistake I have made, but I can live with that.

If anyone has got etch installed on the beige g3 (its a 266 mhz machine, but I can't tell you the firmware version, etc. Would need to find out how to get at this) and can share their expertise, it would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance,



Dr. N.R. Helps
Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation Unit
College of Life Sciences
University of Dundee

t: 44 (0)1382 384745 (office)
t: 44 (0)1382 388019 (lab)
f: 44 (0)1382 388729
e: n.r.helps@dundee.ac.uk
w: http://www.dnaseq.co.uk/
w: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/lifesciences/mrcppu/


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