Debian GNU/Linux on Apple iBook
This page describes how I installed Debian GNU/Linux on a sparkling new Apple iBook (the tangerine kind) in the summer 2000.
I can't guarantee that doing the same will work for you, of course.
If you're installing on a newer iBook (the non-clamshell white kind), I suggest reading Branden Robinsons page on the subject. I've used that on a friends iBook with success.
- One Apple iBook
- One net-connected box with a free ethernet-port and bootp and tftp services available
- One crossed ethernet cable
- Some patience
- Some persistence
The harddisk of the iBook has to be partitioned, so that MacOS doesn't use all of the disk. I chose to have a 1GB partition that I had MacOS install itself on, and the rest I use for GNU/Linux.
To boot Linux on an iBook you need a PowerPC-kernel and a program called yaboot. Both can be found at Ben's Linux page
The kernel and yaboot is placed in the System folder and two configurationfiles are then created: yaboot.conf and bootinfo.txt (also in the System-folder).
I got some of the information on how to do that from the linuxppc-user mailinglist-archive: Some yaboot instructions. Here's my files:
delay=20 image=hd:,\\\\vmlinux label=vmlinux initrd=enet:ramdisk.image.gz initrd-size=8192 novideo
<CHRP-BOOT> <COMPATIBLE> iMac,1 PowerMac1,1 PowerBook1,1 PowerMac2,1 PowerMac3,1 PowerBook2,1 </COMPATIBLE> <DESCRIPTION> GNU/Linux-PPC Yaboot bootloader </DESCRIPTION> <BOOT-SCRIPT> " get-key-map" " keyboard" open-dev $call-method dup 20 dump 5 + c@ 08 = if " Booting MacOS ..." cr " boot hd:,\\:tbxi" eval else " Booting Yaboot ..." cr " boot hd:,\\yaboot_0.8" eval then </BOOT-SCRIPT> </CHRP-BOOT>
After making those files, the iBooks "Open Firmware" (which resembles the BIOS on x86-machines somewhat) needs to be told to use the bootinfo.txt: Reboot the iBook and hold down option-apple-o-f (yes, that is four keys) while it starts. You'll get a prompt and enter these three lines:
setenv boot-command boot setenv boot-file hd:9,\\bootinfo.txt setenv boot-device hd:9,\\bootinfo.txt boot
This way the iBook will automatically start Linux when booting unless you hold down the space key during power-on - then it will start MacOS.
We'll be installing Debian from the net via the net-connected box. You need bootpd and tftpd on the box, and some configuration of those, so that the iBook can get it's install ram-disk via the ethernet.
When you reboot the iBook with the yaboot.conf shown above, Linux boots on the iBook and requests the ramdisk from the box running bootpd and tftpd and then the Debian installer starts. Partition the harddisk and install the base system. When that's done, you need to reboot and use (one of) the newly created partition(s) as the root-partition, instead of the ramdisk as before - so hold down space while rebooting, wait for MacOS to come up, and edit the yaboot.conf to read something like this:
timeout=50 image=hd:,\\\\vmlinux label=vmlinux root=/dev/hda10 append="video=atyfb:mode:800x600-8"
and reboot. Linux should now boot from the harddisk and the rest of the Debian install can be completed.
Congratulations! Debian GNU/Linux on the iBook!! :-)
Danish keyboard on the console
There was only German and French keymaps in /usr/share/keymaps/macintosh/, so I created mac-dk-latin1.kmap.
After trying different things I decided to install XFree 4.0.1. I followed the instructions on penguinppc.org, and after some work by Ani Joshi on the driver, it worked! (8, 15 and 24-bit modes!)
Danish locale in X
I used to set LC_ALL to "en_DK" in /etc/environment, but Morten Brix Pedersen investigated and found out that that is not the preferred way to have the computer speak English and still know that I am Danish. That piece of information simplifies this section tremendously. Just add two lines to /etc/environment; these:
Danish keyboard in X
Since /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xkb/symbols/macintosh/ only has "us", I had to try and make a "dk" myself. I think I succeeded pretty well - the only quirk that remains is that shutting down the X-server is done by pressing ctrl-option-backspace (and not ctrl-alt-backspace)).
To have the <LTGT> (</>) key work, it has to be added to /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xkb/keycodes/macintosh - my edited version can be downloaded: macintosh.
This is the Xkb-part of my /etc/XF86Config:
XkbKeycodes "macintosh" XkbSymbols "macintosh/dk"
Attaching a three-button USB-mouse
After I got X working on the machine, I purchased a three-button USB-mouse (try using Gnome-panels with the built-in one-button pad!), and much to my amazement, it worked out-of-the-box! I just plugged it in, and Linux recognized it and X too. Cool!
- Some yaboot instructions
- Ben's Linux page
- Paulus' Linux kernel page
- Mike Palczewski's home page
- Lucent WaveLAN/IEEE and Apple AirPort on LinuxPPC
- Linux on PowerPC FAQ-O-Matic : Distributions : Net:Debian GNU/Linux for PowerPC : Basic Debian Installation Instructions
- Installing Debian for PowerPC
- Debian GNU/Linux -- PowerPC Port (Booting)
- Re: Yaboot & tftp Boot
- XFree86 4.0 Status and Faq
Section "ServerLayout" Identifier "iBook" Screen 0 "iBook Screen" 0 0 InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer" InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard" EndSection Section "Files" RgbPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc/:unscaled" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic/:unscaled" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/" FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/" EndSection Section "Module" Load "xie" Load "pex5" Load "glx" Load "GLcore" Load "dbe" Load "record" Load "type1" Load "speedo" EndSection Section "ServerFlags" DontZoom DisableVidModeExtension EndSection Section "InputDevice" Identifier "Keyboard0" Driver "keyboard" Option "XkbKeycodes" "macintosh" Option "XkbSymbols" "macintosh/dk" EndSection Section "InputDevice" Identifier "Mouse0" Driver "mouse" Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2" Option "Device" "/dev/mouse" Option "Buttons" "5" Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5" Option "SendCoreEvents" EndSection Section "Monitor" Identifier "iBook Monitor" VendorName "Apple" ModelName "iBook" # ? HorizSync 30-40 # ? VertRefresh 60-70 Mode "800x600-60" # D: 39.954 MHz, H: 37.835 kHz, V: 60.247 Hz DotClock 39.955 HTimings 800 856 984 1056 VTimings 600 601 605 628 Flags "+HSync" "+VSync" EndMode EndSection Section "Device" Identifier "iBook Video" Driver "ati" VendorName "ATI" BoardName "Mach64 3D Rage LN Mobility (AGP)" BusID "PCI:0:16:0" VideoRam 4096 # Option "no_accel" EndSection Section "Screen" Identifier "iBook Screen" Device "iBook Video" Monitor "iBook Monitor" DefaultColorDepth 24 SubSection "Display" Depth 1 Modes "default" #Virtual 1280 960 EndSubSection SubSection "Display" Depth 4 Modes "default" #Virtual 1280 960 EndSubSection SubSection "Display" Depth 8 Modes "800x600-60" # "default" Viewport 0 0 Virtual 800 600 EndSubSection SubSection "Display" Depth 16 Modes "800x600-60" # "default" #Virtual 1280 960 EndSubSection SubSection "Display" Depth 24 Modes "800x600-60" # "default" Viewport 0 0 Virtual 800 600 EndSubSection SubSection "Display" Depth 32 Modes "800x600-60" # "default" #Virtual 800 600 EndSubSection EndSection
Because I liked the idea of having a notebook, and the iBook was the machine that fitted the bill the best: rugged, good screen, very weird design (not those boring business-type machines, please!), nice processor, has the ports that are needed, and not a lot of superfluous ones.
Re-installing Mac OS 9
I'm selling my iBook, so I thought I'd add information on how to re-install the original Mac OS 9 for the buyer to use (I'll give the next owner an Ubuntu PowerPC-cd, in case they want to try GNU/Linux).
First step is undoing the Open Firmware changes - the easiest way to
do this is to hold down the apple, alt, p and r-keys while turning on
the computer. Wait for the startup-sound to play two to five times.
(Before I learned about this, I just said '
mac-boot' and '
setenv boot-file ""' to Open
Firmware. It worked. I think I should have said '
boot-device ""' as well, though. Not sure).
Next pop in the original install cd, hold down the c-key and turn on the computer.
Use the disk-utility to format the harddrive; one partition. Start the installation program. Go to apple.com and download a number of upgrades from the Mac OS-version on the cd to the newest (9.2.2). Install, reboot, rinse, lather, repeat.
Changes2005-01-29: Added information on re-installing Mac OS 9 only
2003-01-06: Removed dead link, added another (thank Stephane Lentz).
2002-03-28: Removed the part about sound and modem. Sound and mixer works fine with kernel-image-2.4.18-newpmac (modprobe dmasound_pmac), and I got the modem working long time ago.
2001-04-22: Changed the section on X and locales. Much simpler solution.
2000-12-14: Added information to make the </> key work.
2000-10-01: Changed XF86Config to be more readable.
2000-07-26: Updated the XF86Config to be a real XFree 4-one.