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Re: Dual boot NetBSD and Leopard

On 09/02/2009, Liam J. Foy <> wrote:
> Hey folks,
>  Currently my trusty Mac Mini is running Leopard (whole disk is dedicated
>  to Leopard). Has anyone managed to Dual Boot NetBSD with Leopard? Or
>  does anyone have any suggestions on how? I see a few google results but
>  none seem to make me feel 'secure' :-)
>  Any suggestions/advice?

I had NetBSD running with OS X 10.4 in dualboot.

If you do not mind OS X calling it "Windows" you can use the procedure
to install Windows using bootcamp (if that still exists).

Failing that you should upgrade to a bootcamp-compatible version of
firmware (the latest for your machine) so that you get PC BIOS
emulation. Alternatively you might want to try the experimental GRUB 2
for EFI.

The PC BIOS emulation can be used to load plain PC NetBSD bootblocks,
GRUB should be able to load the kernel directly.

The Apple BIOS is broken so do not count on keyboard working until
NetBSD boots. That is, you likely won't be able to select kernel or
kernel parameters with the bootblocks. GRUB uses the Apple EFI which
is somewhat better  - only some keys are broken (or was it not
possible to press multiple keys at once?).

Since OS X cannot repartition disks you have to attach a removable
disk, boot from the install CD, copy your disk to external disk,
partition, and copy back. Bootcamp can do that for you in-place.

You can also stop after copying your OS X to an external disk, it
works from there just fine, and the internal disk is likely so slow
there won't be any noticeable difference.

However, PC BIOS emulation on Apple hardware cannot load system from
an external disk.

Depending on your hardware you might want NetBSD 5 for hardware
support (intel graphics requires agp support in kernel for the X
server to work reasonably). However, NetBSD 5 installer does not work
on Macs because they have two partition tables. The kernel recognizes
both but allows accessing the disk only through one of them (dk* ?),
and the installer insists on using the devices that correspond to the
other (wd*).



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