Just the facts!
(This is an old page - I no longer use LinuxPPC, but although I tried YellowDog Linux, I prefer...
OS X  My X-philes... on the MacG3)

Where to get the software:
The CD - ($38) http://linuxppc.org/
BootX 1.0b5 - http://calvaweb.calvacom.fr/bh40
vmlinux & ramdisk.image ftp://samba.anu.edu.au/pub/linux-pmac/v2.1.125/
Be sure to download as binary!


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)

Top level command (? for help):
l (list)
Name of device:
/dev/sda (could also type '/dev/scsi0.5')
finding devices .......
Partition map (with 512 byte blocks) on '/dev/sda'
#: type name length base ( size )
1: Apple_partition_map Apple 100 @ 1
2: FWB Driver Components FWB Driver Components 1024 @ 101
3: Apple_Driver43*FWB Disk Driver 76 @ 1125
4: Apple_HFS MacOS 2130791 @ 1201 ( 1.0G)
Device block size=512, Number of Blocks=2131992 (1.0G)
DeviceType=0x0, DeviceId=0x0Drivers-1: @ 1125 for 76, type=0x1


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:

This app uses the SIOUX console library
Choose 'Quit' from the file menu to quit.
Use fake disk names (/dev/scsi<bus>mes (/dev/scsi<bus>.<id>; i.e. /dev/scsi0.1, /dev/scsi1.3, etc.).

Top level command (? for help):
Name of device: /dev/scsi0.5
Edit /dev/scsi0.5
Command (? for help):
d 4 (delete partition 4, the MacOS partition)
Command (? for help): c (create a new partition)
First block: 4p (start at fourth partition
Length: 900m (make it 900 Mb)
Name: root
Command (? for help): c
First block: 5p
Length: 100m
Name: swap
Command (? for help): w (you should actually do a 'p' here
to confirm that the table looks right)
Writing table will destroy existing information (n/y): y
Reboot to use new table.Command (? for help): p
Partition map (with 512 byte blocks) on '/dev/sda'
#: type name length base ( size )
1: Apple_partition_map Apple 100 @ 1
2: FWB Driver Components FWB Driver Components 1024 @ 101
3: Apple_Driver43*FWB Disk Driver 76 @ 1125
4: Apple_UNIX_SVR2 root 1843200 @ 1201 (900.0M)
5: Apple_UNIX_SVR2 swap 204800 @ 1844401 (100.0M)
6: Apple_Free Extra 82791 @ 2049201 ( 40.4M)
Device block size=512, Number of Blocks=2131992 (1.0G)
DeviceType=0x0, DeviceId=0x0Drivers-1: @ 1125 for 76, type=0x1
Command (? for help):
Top level command (? for help): q


     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!
     Shutdown, turn off the external SCSI drive, then, after thirty seconds, turn the drive back on and reboot.


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
and the kernel/ramdisk files from ftp://samba.anu.edu.au/pub/linux-pmac/v2.1.125/

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.
     Three responses to the installer are particularly critical - a: be sure to let it format the 'root' and 'swap' partitions when it wants to, and b: let it mount your MacOS partition on your main boot drive when it asks you - it won't hurt it, and c: near the end there is a place to enter the boot device and the boot file - enter the following:

Boot device: scsi/sd@X:0 - X is the scsi ID of your external drive 
Boot file: /boot/vmlinux noinitrd root=/dev/sdaY - Y is the root part'n number

     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!
     To shutdown Linux, choose "Logout" from the "K" menu (left end of the "docking bar" at the bottom of the screen), and answer the resulting dialogs untis until you shut down or shutdown and reboot.

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.


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