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statico (5018)

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Co-author of Perl Testing: A Developer's Notebook []

Journal of statico (5018)

Friday February 25, 2005
06:48 PM

i netbooted my mac to install ubuntu

[ #23392 ]

I wanted to put Linux on my Powerbook G3 (Pismo/dual firewire). The CD-ROM is long dead, since those CD-ROMs are known defective.

This afternoon I tried, for the life of me, every possibility. I booted the Ubuntu warty CD with another Mac connecting mine with Firewire and "target disk mode." I got a Firewire enclosure and made a Firewire CD-ROM. I tried booting off of a USB CD-ROM. I tried dd'ing the ISO to a bus-powered Firewire drive and booting off of that.

The closest I got this way was target disk mode. However, the installation would finish by installing yaboot. Unfortunately, yaboot didn't like the fact that I was trying to install a bootloader over Firewire and was thoroughly convinced that it didn't support Firewire.

I spent another trying to manually hack yaboot and screwed around with Open Firmware. No luck.

So, I've heard of this whole netbooting thing and decided to try it. I found this page which gave me some pointers. I decided to use a spare Mac to host the tftp daemon. I dropped four files into the tftpd root directory:

  • vmlinux-2.6 and initrd-2.6.gz (renamed, downloaded from here
  • yaboot.conf
  • yaboot (from the usr/local/lib/yaboot directory of the yaboot-binary package found here

(Since this spare mac was already running Ubuntu and I had installed the tftpd-hpa package, I dropped all of the files into /var/lib/tftpboot)

I then tested the tftp server with another machine that had a tftp client:

tftp> connect
tftp> get yaboot.conf
Received 344 bytes in 0.0 seconds

DHCP was already set up on the network, so I ignored that step. Both the tftp-serving machine and my laptop were on the same subnet. However, the DHCP server and tftp server were different machines. That requires some extra Open Firmware syntax!

I booted into Open Firmware (Cmd-Option-O-F during startup) and ran the following, given that the machine serving tftp had the IP address

boot enet:,yaboot

Boom! Ubuntu installer.

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