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These notes are NOT up to date. I have installed LinuxPPC 2000 Q4 and everything is working out better now. I will update my notes soon

Here are my notes from my on-going Linux install on my new G4 Titanium Powerbook. By no way is this a complete tutorial on how to install Linux on this machine. I soon found out when I attempted to perform this install that there was a severe disjunction of information on this topic. Hopefully this document will help save people some time which I wasted. For this installation I choose Yellow Dog Linux Champion Server Edition 1.2.1 which I got from Linux Centeral for $2.

1. Use Apple's Drive Setup Utility to repartition your hard drive. For my install I created the following seven partitions (follow the included instruction on exactly how to perform this):

  • 2G HFS Partition (Mac OS 9.1) (/dev/hda9)
  • 2G HFS Partition (for Mac OS X) (/dev/hda10)
  • 100mb HFS Partition (for Yaboot - currently unused) (/dev/hda11)
  • 2G Apple_UNIX_SRV4 Partition (for Linux root) (/dev/hda12)
  • 128mb Apple_UNIX_SRV4 Swap Partition (for Linux swap) (/dev/hda13)
  • 1.6G HFS Partition (to allocate at a later date) (/dev/hda14)
  • 1.6G HFS Partition (to allocate at a later date) (/dev/hda15)

2. Download Apple System Disk utility from:
There is also a good link about this utility from the Net/BSD site:

3. Use the Apple System Disk utility to change the Open Firmware configuration in order to 'stop boot at Open Firmware prompt'. Save this setting and close the utility.

4. Insert the Yellow Dog Linux CD into the cd/dvd drive. Open the YDL 1.2.1 Disk icon and go into the Install folder. Select the following files and copy them into the System Folder of your Macintosh HD:

  • bootscript
  • ramdisk.image.gz
  • vmlinux
  • yaboot
  • yaboot.conf

5. Open the yaboot.conf file and change your configuration so that it has the following lines:

					image = hd:,\\\\vmlinux
					    label = linux

					image = hd:,\\\\vmlinux
					    label = linux-novideo

Save the yaboot.conf file and close the SimpleText application.

6. Reboot your Mac from the Special menu (make sure to have the Yellow Dog Linux cd still in the machine).

7. Upon reboot you will end up at the Open Firmware 'OK' prompt (kind of like a Sun huh ;). To boot the Yellow Dog Linux cd installer type the following:

				boot cd:\\:tbxi

At this time you could instead boot into Mac OS by typing:


8. You will now be at the yaboot 'boot' prompt. In order for the installer to run you must supply the novideo argument to the installer. The 'install-novideo' configuration should (and must) be already in your yaboot.conf file. At the 'boot' prompt type

				boot: install-novideo

9. You should now see kernel message displaying on the console window. If you only see the message 'Booting ...' then you haven't specified the novideo option. Please go back and check over your yaboot.conf file for possible errors.

10. Follow the general instructions for installing YDL. If you have ever successfully installed Red Hat Linux then the install shouldn't cause to many problems. Pay attention when using fdisk to further reformat your hard drive. Make sure not to delete your Mac OS partitions. The fashion in which Macintosh computers format their hard drives can confuse people. The first user created partition is actually the ninth partition on the disk. When describing the partition I used above I noted the partition numbers such that /dev/hda9 is the 9th partition on the disk. In my case I need to delete ('d') the 12th partition and create ('c') a new partition labeled 'root'. I also needed to delete ('d') the 13th partition and create ('c') a new partition labeled 'swap'. Once you finish repartitioning your hard drive you should then force reboot your Powerbook. Follow the instructions starting at step 7 to get back to this point.

11. Once your instillation is completed (mine only took a blazing 12 minutes to install everything) boot into Mac OS in order to perform some last changes to the yaboot.conf. Edit the yaboot.conf file in Macintosh HD -> System Folder. The 'default' method of booting should now be changed to 'linux-novideo' instead of 'install' or 'install-novideo'. I made another configuration change so that yaboot would reference the kernel in the Linux installation and NOT the kernel in the Mac OS System Folder (this just makes more sense to me.. and doesn't require that you copy new kernels onto your HFS partitions). On my machine this change is show below:

				default = linux-novideo

				image = hd:12,/boot/vmlinux
				    label = linux

				image = hd:12,/boot/vmlinux
				    label = linux-novideo

12. Once your install is completed you must figure out how to execute Linux. You could continue to use the Open Firmware and yaboot prompts in order to boot Linux but that is a pain. Instead you may use the 'bootscript' which you copied into your System Folder. bootscript allows you to boot Linux by holding down your space bar instead upon booting. If the space bar isn't depressed the machine will then boot into Mac OS. To install the boot script boot your machine to the Open Firmware prompt. At the prompt type:
(Note: before doing this you may want to record your current boot-device variable by typing: 'printenv boot-device')

				setenv boot-device hd:,\\bootscript

Then type 'boot' and depending on the position of the space bar you machine will boot into either Mac OS or Linux. This step is outlined in the YDL's PDF installation guide.

13. Once your satisfied w/ the workings of the bootscript you should boot back into Mac OS and turn off the 'stop at Open Firmware prompt' by using the Apple System Disk utility.

14. I the installed OpenSSH, OpenSSL, zlib and sudo in order to make the laptop productive.

What left to do:
  • get X windows working correctly (currently upon typing startx the colors are off
  • rebuild a kernel, not sure if i'm going to go 2.2.x or 2.4.x. either way i'm going to build them and not use rpms.
  • find out how to slow down the cpu
  • get the machine to sleep, especially w/ the sweet glow effect which Mac OS has
  • get sound working
  • get the dvd player working
  • and the list keeps on growing..
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