Re: Switching from BootX to yaboot

Subject: Re: Switching from BootX to yaboot
From: Nic Ferrier (
Date: Wed Feb 21 2001 - 20:31:31 MST

>>> Graham Leggett <> 22-Feb-01 3:49:03 AM >>>

>Documentation is a bit scattered, so I don't know if I
>have the full picture, but so far it looks like I will have
>to repartition my drive, or at least destroy my MacOS
>partition to get this working.
>Is this the only way? Anyone done this before?

You're in luck! I've just finished several hours mac admin installing
first yellow dog and then debian on my bang up to date IMac.

The answers to your question:

o MacOS partitions

Do you have a drive partitioned already? The "normal" way to run
linux on an imac seems to be to have 2 partitions and to boot using
Open Firmware. Even if you used BootX previously you probably have
another partition.

So the answer to the question "do I have to destory my MacOS
paritition" is: no, not unless you don't have a partition to put Linux

If you have a partition that Linux is already on then you can
continue to use that.

o How do I setup Yaboot?

I presume that you have 3 main partitions:
  MacOS (HFS)
  Linux swap partition
  Linux root partition

If this is the case these partitions should be:


If that's not what you've got you should still be able to work out
from what I've written below, if you can't send me what your
partitions are and I'll try and tell you what you need to do.

Right: on with the config.

You need to obtain yaboot. I got it from the YDL CD-ROM. On the ROM
it's called yaboot.txbi.

Copy the yaboot file onto the top-level of your MacOS drive. Name the
yaboot file:
and NOT: yaboot.txbi

Create a text file called yaboot.conf in the same folder. The text
file should contain this:



What does this do? the "image=" line specifies the location of the
linux kernel. I've put in here what the kernels seem to be called on
ppclinux derivatives. Other possibilities are:
  vmlinux-2.2.x-... where the x is a version no and ... is some
extra naming

The "root=" line specifies the location of the root device. If you
installed Linux previously to Mac parition hd:11 then the equivalent
Linux device is: /dev/hda11

That's it: end of yaboot config!

o How to run yaboot to boot your kernel

Reboot or cold start (ie: turn it on!) the mac. When you hear the
"bong!" hold down:

   command option o f

all together. I'm not a Mac person and it took me ages to find this
key combination. Others might have similar trouble so here is what it
is on my IMac full size keyboard:

   "apple key" alt o f

Note: you must hold these down as soon as you hear the "bong!". Have
your fingers ready otherwise the MacOS boot loader will kick in and
you won't be able to interrupt it.

Hold the keys down until you get the OpenFirmware screen. This is
basically just a white screen with a small amount of text at the top
(with copyright and instructions for booting into MacOS).

Once in OpenFirmware type the following to boot yaboot:

  boot hd:9,yaboot

What is this doing? It's finding and running the yaboot program that
you've copied onto your MacOS folder. The yaboot program is a boot
loader which basically means it knows how to boot an operating system
other than MacOS.

yaboot should now boot Linux using the kernel and root device you
specified in the yaboot.conf.

Any questions please let me know.


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