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Re: Installing NetBSD on an iBook G4


On Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:56:10 +0200
Alexander Klein <xelalex_maker%web.de@localhost> wrote:

> Hi,
> 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:

On mine I either just drop ofwboot.xcf into the OSX partition or make a
tiny ISO filesystem ( doesn't even need to be hybrid ) which contains
only ofwboot.xcf and dd that to the beginning of the disk, then
disklabel it. For the latter method make sure your partitions don't
overlap the ISO.

> 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.

It can read MSDOS filesystems, the package is there, but I never
succeeded to make it actually find one. Most likely I didn't give it
the right partition type or something. Or it only reads them from fdisk
partitions, which I didn't try since I wanted to keep the apple

> 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.

mbrlabel -rw should generate a disklabel from mbr partitions.

> 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.

Ouch. I guess we need to fix that. And probably include an ISO as
described above.
What you can do is this - write down the sizes and offsets of your
fdisk partitions and create matching partitions with disklabel - that's
really all mbrlabel does. Then create and newfs your normal ffs
partitions. Also, there is no reason why the msdos partition would have
to occupy slot a - most people ( and ofwboot.xcf ) would expect the
root filesystem there.

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

Installing on OF3 is sketchy because we don't have a good way to make
bootable HFS partitions ( in order to coexist with OSX ) and the fdisk
or ISO methods would stomp all over them. Also, the bootable hfs method
only works on OF3...

Finally, if something goes wrong and the machine still won't boot, you
can load ofwboot.xcf from CD and make it load the kernel from harddisk
- ofwboot cd:ofwboot.xcf hd:netbsd or somesuch, ofwboot.xcf should find
the disklabel there. Or boot from CD, drop into a shell and mount the
partitions to see what needs to be fixed.

have fun

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