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Installing NetBSD on an iBook G4


having played a bit with FreeBSD on my old iBook G4, I decided to try NetBSD, which I had already used some twenty years ago on my old 68k-Macs.

I remember that back in the day there were certain peculiarities during installation, which seem to have sent me into an infinite loop right now:

Before trying NetBSD, I had already cleaned the disk of the iBook of anything related to OSX in favour of FreeBSD, and this seems to result in certain problems, which I cannot figure out how to circumvent:

Unless I misunderstood it completely, INSTALLATION.more says that OpenFirmware should be able to boot the machine from an MS-DOS partition, but I am stuck initialising the disk properly.

I managed to create a set of partitions with fdisk, but I do not know how to make sysinst or disklabel see them, let alone which devices to use to initialise any kind of filesystem there.

newfs_msdos was apparently able to create a filesystem in partition 0, which seems to get mapped to /dev/wd0a, but as far as the other partitions are concerned, I could not get any useful results. /dev/wd0b is inaccessible, and the harddisk as a whole seems to be mapped to /dev/wd0c.

The manual for fdisk points to a program called mbrlabel, which should be able to update disklabels from the MBR-partition-scheme, but it is not on the install media.

Is there really not 'self contained' way to get NetBSD up and running using the ISO alone?

Best regards,


P.s.: Another annoyance is that the kernel used on the installation medium does not shut down devices properly, when issuing a "halt". As a result, the harddisk does not park the heads properly, and instead performs an emergency retract upon getting cut off from power, which is needlessly hard on the (old) mechanics. Is there any way to avoid this?

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