Solved Mac Mini 3,1 - Installer failure 9.3, 10.1

trev

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 113
Messages: 615

#1
Given the issues I had with 9.3-STABLE i386 randomly rebooting my Mac Mini (see: thread) I decided to install FreeBSD on an identical Mac Mini (apart from 8GB vs 4GB memory and 500GB vs 160GB hard drive) so as not to suffer any more file corruption which disappeared a day's worth of email during one of the random reboots.

Rather than try to isolate the 9.3-STABLE reboot cause given it's approaching EOL, I decided to try a snapshot of 10.1-STABLE amd64. The UEFI version booted into the Apple UEFI console and then died with a page fault which seems fairly common with non-Apple systems so at least wasn't an Apple-specific failure.

I moved on to a snapshot of 9.3-STABLE amd64, but while the installation would succeed, my Mac Mini installation recipe no longer seemed to work. The system would appear to start to boot by replacing the Apple default grey/white screen with a black screen and an underline cursor flashing in the top left hand corner, and no more. During one iteration I omitted blessing the freebsd-boot partition and received the usual flashing question mark folder - so the Apple firmware was finding the freebsd-boot partition, it just could not boot from it for some reason.

Thinking it might be an issue with amd64 version, I resorted to a snapshot of 9.3-STABLE i386, followed my recipe, but again had no success. Curiouser and curiouser.

As a last resort, I decided to use the 9.1-Release amd64 version bearing in mind that my other system was originally installed with 9.1-Release i386. And ... It worked!

It would appear that somewhere between 9.1-Release and 9.3-STABLE the GPT partitioning/bootcode has been changed such that the Mac Mini no longer understands it.

I retried the same non-UEFI snapshot of 10.1-STABLE amd64, but this time changed the FreeBSD installer's default partitioning scheme from GPT to MBR and otherwise followed my installation recipe. And yes, that too worked although I ran out of slices before I ran out of disk space.

Now to upgrade the system via source to 10.1-STABLE :)
 
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trev

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 113
Messages: 615

#2
Just to complete the solution, upgrading from 9.1-Release to 10.1-STABLE via source was indeed successful. The system still boots :)
 

protocelt

Daemon

Thanks: 406
Messages: 1,253

#3
I have one of these lying around the house I thought I would try installing FreeBSD on when I get a chance. It's nice to see someone get it working. Thanks for posting :)
 
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