How I installed FreeBSD 8.0 on a PowerPC mac mini

Installing and upgrading FreeBSD.

How I installed FreeBSD 8.0 on a PowerPC mac mini

Postby kmpfgrtn » 06 Feb 2010, 22:37

This is my first forum post, but as I had quite a hard time with this installation, I thought I might share this with the other users.

What I used:
-FreeBSD PPC Install CD (bootonly)
-Ubuntu 9.10 PPC LiveCD
-A USB stick

1. Partitioning:
You can't partition with the FreeBSD install-CD, so you need the Ubuntu-LiveCD for that. I tried the NetBSD macppc CD too, but somehow pdisk couldn't touch my harddrive, weird.
Anyhow, gparted doesn't seem to work, so you have to actually go through the Ubuntu installation routine, and do the manual partitioning there. Don't forget to put a HFS boot partition at the beginning! You can't create UFS-partitions, so just choose something else, it doesn't matter what. Once you're sure the partitioning is done, abort the installation.

2. Installation:
Boot the PPC bootonly version of the FreeBSD 8.0 Install media. Then select only the minimal install set, all other options don't seem to be available on the ftp servers. In my case I had to hook the machine directly to my broadband modem, it didn't like my linux-firewall. You might also have to allow IPV6 configuration, as suggested elsewhere in this forum.

3. Booting/OpenFirmware setup:
This part I did on a linux laptop: I simply copied the entire FreeBSD install-CD contents to a USB-stick. Back to the mac mini, I booted up Ubuntu again, and transferred the files "loader" and "boot.tbxi" to the hfs boot partition. Still under Ubuntu, you can edit the boot.tbxi-file. Look for the line that says "boot cd:...". As in my case the root partition was partition number 3, I changed the line to:

Code: Select all
boot hd:loader hd:3


Then you shutdown Ubuntu, and boot into the OpenFirmware console (Alt+Apple+o+f). There you can change the boot-device and boot-file variables. boot-file has to be empty (this is by default). I changed boot-device like this:

Code: Select all
setenv boot-device hd:,boot.tbxi


If auto-boot is set to 'yes', this should do the trick. I then managed to boot into FreeBSD automatically.

I'm new to FreeBSD, so if there are any obvious mistakes in my approach, please let me know.
kmpfgrtn
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Postby kmpfgrtn » 06 Feb 2010, 22:42

Oh dear forgot this: The files "loader" and "boot.tbxi" are in the boot-directory of the FreeBSD install CD. I copied it to the USB stick to have easy access from the Ubuntu live-session.
kmpfgrtn
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Postby dalizard » 26 Mar 2010, 10:45

And how did you manage to mount the hfs partition ? I don't think that the mount supports it.
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Postby tingo » 01 Apr 2010, 15:56

dalizard wrote:And how did you manage to mount the hfs partition ? I don't think that the mount supports it.

He wrote:
Back to the mac mini, I booted up Ubuntu again
...
I guess that explains it.
Torfinn
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Postby dalizard » 02 Apr 2010, 07:40

It surely does. Although I had some bizarre problems while trying to mount the HFS filesystem in order to copy the loader and boot.tbxi files. Currently, I seem to be unable to make the Mac Mini boot straight into FreeBSD. If enter the Open Firmware and type

Code: Select all
boot


it all works. But it won't boot by default. It's quite interesting since, I'm probably missing something but couldn't find anything on the Internet.
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