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Re: Bug#685414: installation-reports: Hangs while searching drives on a Mac Mini G4 (PowerPC)

See my suggestions at the bottom of this report...

On Aug 20, 2012, at 9:40 AM, Gunnar Wolf wrote:

Package: installation-reports
Severity: important
Tags: d-i

In case it matters: The computer's CD drive is broken and it cannot
AFAIK boot from USB media, so I downloaded the files and instructed my
existing yaboot to launch the installer.

Once the installer starts, it asks the questions regarding locale,
but as soon as it switches to "Searching for an installer ISO image",
gets stuck at "mounting /dev/sda1".

/dev/sda1 is not a Linux-usable partition (fdisk reports it is an

I don't know if this happens on other PowerPC systems, but does not
allow my install to proceed any further.


-- Package-specific info:

Boot method: From the hard disk
Image version: Wheezy Beta 1 hd-media (downloaded on August 9)
Date: <Date and time of the install>

Machine: Mac Mini G4 1.4GHz
Partitions: <df -Tl will do; the raw partition table is preferred>

Hi Gunnar!

I'm fairly sure there is some magic you can apply in the Open Firmware on the Mac Mini G4 to make it boot and install from a USB key. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to try it out on my own Mini right now, but I've done it successfully on a G4 tower that was obsolete before the Mini was even a gleam in an Apple designer's eye. I'm CC-ing this to the debian-powerpc list incase somebody there remembers the magic.

In any case, the reason it's asking for /dev/sda1 [*] is that the bootable CDs have no apple partition map, they are all one big filesystem image.

So try this:

Take a USB key you don't need and dd the businesscard or netinst iso to it:
    dd if=debian-6.0.5-powerpc-businesscard.iso of=/dev/sdx
where /dev/sdx is the device for the flash drive. Be careful! If you get this wrong, you could wipe your hard disk. Businesscard is just an example. Other installer iso's will work just as well, of course.

Do your yaboot magic to boot off the hard disk. When the installer comes to searching for the CD it *should* find the USB key and use it for the remainder of the installation.

If that doesn't work, maybe by then somebody on the list will have remembered the Open Firmware magic for booting directly off the USB key.

Hope this helps!


[*] On a hard disk, /dev/sda1 *is* the Apple partition map -- Apple reserves a slot in the map for the map itself -- it's always partition 1.

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