1. My Hardware
1.1 I custom ordered my G3 266/MT from the Apple store. I left out the Zip drive and added a 56K modem, choosing to keep the audio/video board for multimedia development, and brought the memory compliment up to 96MB. Apple put the DIMMS in the wrong order though, slowing down the boot and overall operational speed - the smaller (32MB) DIMM should be in bank0, the larger (64MB) in bank 1.
1.2 I had an external Performantz1.0G drive from a previous configuration, that I had used to hold the BeOS at one time. I purchased FWB's HD Toolkit and reformatted it, since the un-hacked Apple HDSC wouldn't do it, and I didn't then know how to hack it.
1.3 Many usenet and Linux site messages had said memory configuration was an issue, but I found that it wasn't, for the method of installation that I used. I left m I used. I left my G3 configured with the 96MB of RAM it had from the factory. I disconnected all SCSI devices except the target external SCSI drive, and set it for SCSI ID 5.
2. Software: Preparing the Target Hard Drive
2.1 Launch the Mac application "pdisk" from the "macosutils" folder of the LinuxPPC v4 CD,:
2.2 Type "l" (lowercase "L") to list the original partition map - mine looked like this: (commands that I typed are in bold red, my explanatory notes in blue)
2.3 I had read somewhere that if you are going to be the only user and the machine will not be used as a server, you can get by with simply two partitions, 'root' and 'swap'. Using pdisk I partitioned the external drive like this:
If you have larger drive and want to do software development or other space-eating work, read up on 'pdisk' and structure your own partitions. There is enough documentation on the ver4 CD to do this; if I could do it, so can you!
3. Booting the g3Installer.coff
3.1 The best boot results are to be had by using BootX 1.0b5 with the version 2.1.125 'vmlinux' kernel and ramdisk to boot the g3 installer file from a floppy. The versions on the v4 CD are too recent.
3.2 I got BootX 1.0b5 from http://calvaweb.calvacom.fr/bh40
3.3 To ensure that I got them in binary rather than text format, I used Fetch301 ftp utility from the v4 CD and checked the "binary"t;binary" radio button:
3.4 The kernel/ramdisk files come as Gzip'ed archives, "vmlinux.gz" and "ramdisk.image.gz". MacGzip on the v4 CD will unzip them. These files should have generic icons, like the files on the CD:.... When ramdisk.image.gz is un Gzip'ed, it will look like a Mac disk image file.
3.5 Put "vmlinux" and "ramdisk.image" at the root level of your normal MacOS System Folder and rename the "ramdisk.image" to "ramdisk.image.gz" - Yeah I know, it's unGzipped, but BootX won't find it if you don't replace the ".gz". Put the BootX 1.0b5 application (ignore the extension for now) in your Control Panels folder in the MacOS System Folder.
3.6 Format a fresh Mac 1.4M floppy, titled "installer" (or whatever - it doesn't matter). Make sure the formatter doesn't say anything about updating for bad blocks. It will be just big enough if it's a good floppy. Drag a copy of the "g3installer.coff" binary file from the v4 CD /RedHat/Images folder onto this floppy.
3.8 Launch the "Boot Variables" application and replace "/AAPL,ROM" with "fd:g3installer.coff". This tells Open Firmware to use the installer file on your floppy.
3.9 With the CD in it's drive, and the "installer" floppy in the slot but not fully inserted, go to the Apple menu and select Control Panels/BootX App. When the BootX dialog box opens, check the ramdisk box; if you CAN'T check it, BootX has been unsuccessful in locating the "vmlinux" and "ramdisk.image.gz" files in your MacOS System Folder, or they aren't binary types.
3.10 Click the "Linux" button.
3.11 Shove in the "installer" floppy at the moment that the screen goes black. The timing here is somewhat critical; I have had to reboot several times. If you see a Linux penguin above a column of "AWACS....." scrolling error text, your timing was off. Press "cmd-ctrl-power" to reboot into MacOS and start over at step 3.8. (You may also have to hold down the cmd-opt-p-r keys to reset the PRAM to /AAPL,ROM.)
3.12 &bsp; Answer the installer's prompts as needed to describe your system to it. When you are asked to enter a password for the root, be sure to write it down! Write it before you enter it, so you don't forget.
Boot device: scsi/sd@X:0 - X is the scsi ID of your external drive
You should get a screen congratulating you on passing the installer exam, then it will blank and start installing. Click OK or press return several times to dismiss the various inconsequential alerts that appear...and Voila! You get an X Windows desktop!
How to select an OS at start up:
Boot into the MacOS and place the BootX extension in the MacOS Extensions folder. Next time you boot, the BootX extension will present a nice dialog box. Before it times out and reboots, click in the Linux kernel arguments entry box and enter the following:
root=/dev/sda4 noinitrd video=atyfb:vmode:16,cmode:24
I put a description of the complete installer dialog in this separate page if you are interested.