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Thread: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

  1. #1
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    How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    This how to shows how grub2 can be used to boot a PowerPC live/desktop iso file stored on a USB flash drive. It is an alternative to using the dd command or extracting the contents of the iso file.

    This method is so easy my dog could do it!

    I've tested this on a fat32 flash drive using an MS-DOS partition table. You'll have to do some adjustments if the flash drive is formatted with an Apple Partition Map (becuase the map takes up partition 1).

    Copy the live/desktop iso file to the first partition of your USB flash drive.
    Copy the attached files (grub.cfg, grub.img and ofboot.b) to the first partition of your USB flash drive.

    Boot into openfirmware

    Check you have fat support:
    Code:
    dev /packages ls
    and look for the listing "/fat-files".

    Find your usb partition using the dir command (this command lists files). Your partition will probably be usb0/disk@1:1 , usb1/disk@1:1 or ud:1
    Code:
    dir usb0/disk@1:1,\
    dir usb1/disk@1:1,\
    dir ud:1,\
    Then boot the ofboot.b file. For example:
    Code:
    boot usb0/disk@1:1,\ofboot.b
    You'll get some error message about prefix not being set. Just ignore it.

    Choose your ubuntu derivative and machine from the menu. The menu entries are setup for 12.04, so if you've downloaded a different version you'll have to edit the menu entry by pressing 'e'. Change the isofile value to the name of the iso.

    Your live system should now boot!

    For info:

    The gub.img was created with this command

    Code:
    sudo grub-mkimage --prefix="(grubdevice,1)" -o grub.img -O powerpc-ieee1275 -v part_apple part_msdos hfs hfsplus ext2 fat iso9660 loopback linux configfile
    If you want to re-run the command you need to install the grub-ieee1275 package.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
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    Re: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    If you need to add a 'yaboot parameter' then at the grub menu hit the 'e' key. Add the parameter(s) after the words "quiet splash" (or delete the word splash). When you've made the changes use Ctrl+x to boot.

    For some reason you don't see the b43 firmware messages....so if you are using 12.04 and it hangs for no reason and you have an airport extreme card then try using the 'yaboot parameter' b43.blacklist=yes (see PowerPC Known Issues wiki)

    If you have stored the grub files somewhere other than the first partition then use the 'configfile' command. It you don't have a USB flash drive then you could use a hard disk partition.

    If you'd like to use the the mini.iso then you don't have to download the iso. Just use the initrd.gz and vmlinux files from here http://ports.ubuntu.com/dists/precis...werpc/netboot/ .

    If you want to use an alternate CD then download the initrd.gz and vmlinux files from here http://ports.ubuntu.com/dists/precis...erpc/hd-media/ .

    You don't have to use the 'loopback' feature with the mini/alternate CDs. See the yaboot.conf files for what you need to type in grub. I can give instructions if requested.

    Finally, I've put together instructions for using grub2 on an installed system. I hope they are pretty easy to follow:

    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCFAQ#C...stall_grub2.3F

  3. #3
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    Re: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    Savage, I've got the closest with your method. However, it says that it can't load because it doesn't have the right "kernel". I'm a noob so excuse my ignorance, but what kernel am I supposed to load?

  4. #4
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    Re: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    You'll have to give me a bit more to go on ..... what machine do you have and what ISO are you trying to boot ... or is this on an installed system?
    Last edited by rsavage; September 14th, 2012 at 08:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    I'm working off of an old Mac Powerbook G4 running 10.4.11 512 MB DDR2 SDRAM. I'm essentially trying to completely erase my old Mac OS and replace it with a Ubuntu so that it runs faster. It's not an essential laptop, I'm using it as a secondary computer. I don't have anything on the Mac that I need so I can completely install a new OS and wipe the entire mac without worry.

    I'm trying to load Ubuntu from a USB. I've wiped the USB using DiskUtility as MS-FAT, copied ubuntu-12.04.1-desktop-i386.iso onto it, as well as your 3 files (grub.img, ofboot.b, grub.cfg). Starting in OpenFirmware, I followed your instructions below. It boots into a black screen, but then when I change the filename as you instructed, it says:

    error: file not found
    error: you need to load the kernel first


    And then it gets into the loopback loop thing. From the loopback window I'm lost. Thanks again for your quick response. Cheers! Eudaimon

  6. #6
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    Re: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    Quote Originally Posted by Eudaimon View Post
    I'm essentially trying to completely erase my old Mac OS and replace it with a Ubuntu so that it runs faster.
    You'll probably find Ubuntu 12.04 slower (it is designed for modern hardware). Try Lubuntu or Xubuntu.

    copied ubuntu-12.04.1-desktop-i386.iso onto it
    You need a PowerPC iso. See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/PowerPCDownloads .

  7. #7
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    Re: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    Savage, thanks for the update will try again on Monday. Thanks for the great help!

  8. #8
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    Re: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    Savage,

    I'm back to testing the install on a Powerbook G4. I got hung up on the starting pbbuttonsd prompt, but I found another thread which mentioned an attempt to install 10.4 which ran well, trying that now.

    also trying the mini installer

  9. #9
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    Re: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    Savage, grub worked with Ubuntu 10.04 on my power pc. Posting from 10.04 now, and over the next few days I'll try to switch over to Lubuntu.

    Thanks for all your help!

  10. #10
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    Re: How To: Boot PowerPC live/desktop ISOs via grub2

    Savage, I'm still trying to load Lubuntu 12.04 on my powerpc Powerbook G4. I've got the b43.blacklist=yes parameter working, which puts me into the installer, but it freezes on reboot.

    I've tried almost every workaround:
    ~$ sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter firmware-b43-installer
    ~$ sudo modprobe -r b43 ssb ~$ sudo modprobe b43

    and many others. Recently I actually did a successful reboot by following:
    sudo leafpad /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

    and put a # in front of the b43 line. But then upon reboot it hung again.

    I think I'm just going to go back to Ubuntu 10.04 and leave it there. No Lubuntu for me.

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