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Re: Recipe for installing Debian on powerpc (G4, 32-bit) Mac? [failed installation -- looking for advice]

On Sat, Dec 18, 2021, at 12:19 AM, John Paul Adrian Glaubitz wrote:
> Hello Rick!
> ...
> Why didn't you use any of the snapshots that you previously used and 
> that are known to work?
> Use a different, known to work image.

OK, on Adrian's advice I used the NETINST iso from October 6, 2021, which I had successfully used on a mac-mini-G4 previously.  In short, it worked.  But the long story is more interesting:

The CD booted fine.  I chose the text-mode default installer.

I accepted all the defaults until it came to time to partition the disk.

I chose "guided - create LVM - use entire disk" for the partition scheme.
All went as expected until it came time to write the partition tables to disk.  At that point it complained about not having a /boot partition.  I remembered hearing somewhere that a separate /boot partition was not strictly necessary as long as there was a /boot/grub partition that the firmware could access, because modern grub programs were able to find stuff from /boot even if it was buried in the root partition and the root partition was itself buried in an LVM partition.  I verified that there was indeed a /boot/grub partition of type hfs in the proposed scheme.  So I told it to ignore this problem and continue the installation without a /boot partition.

It went ahead and created a /boot directory in the root partition, and put the kernel/initramfs and stuff there.

A bit later it complained "Your boot partition is not located on the first primary partition of your hard disk ... Go back to the menu and correct the problem?"  I remembered Adrian saying that we should ignore this, so I answered "no"

It went ahead with configuring the package manager and installing Grub, all of which occurred without incident.  I accepted all the default answers.

It finished up and rebooted into the installed system without problem.

If it's true that modern grub can dig into an LVM containing root containing /boot, why is there any reason to want a separate /boot partition at all?  Is this a feature that only applies to grub for powerpc?  I really like the feature of having /boot be a directory in root, because it allows me to update kernels without first checking that there's enough space in the /boot partition for another kernel and initrd.  I'd like to see it be at least an option, and (IMHO) preferably the default on all installs.

This particular powermac-G4 is reserved for testing, so I'm happy to rest anything new from Adrian's workshop!

Thanks for all the hard work,

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