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4.3. Preparing Files for Hard Disk Booting

The installer may be booted using boot files placed on an existing hard drive partition, either launched from another operating system or by invoking a boot loader directly from the BIOS.

A full, "pure network" installation can be achieved using this technique. This avoids all hassles of removable media, like finding and burning CD images or struggling with too numerous and unreliable floppy disks.

The installer cannot boot from files on an HFS+ file system. MacOS System 8.1 and above may use HFS+ file systems; NewWorld PowerMacs all use HFS+. To determine whether your existing file system is HFS+, select Get Info for the volume in question. HFS file systems appear as Mac OS Standard, while HFS+ file systems say Mac OS Extended. You must have an HFS partition in order to exchange files between MacOS and Linux, in particular the installation files you download.

Different programs are used for hard disk installation system booting, depending on whether the system is a ``NewWorld'' or an ``OldWorld'' model.

4.3.1. Hard Disk Installer Booting for OldWorld Macs

The boot-floppy-hfs floppy uses miBoot to launch Linux installation, but miBoot cannot easily be used for hard disk booting. BootX, launched from MacOS, supports booting from files placed on the hard disk. BootX can also be used to dual-boot MacOS and Linux after your Debian installation is complete. For the Performa 6360, it appears that quik cannot make the hard disk bootable. So BootX is required on that model.

Download and unstuff the BootX distribution, available from, or in the dists/woody/main/disks-powerpc/current/powermac directory on Debian http/ftp mirrors and official Debian CDs. Use Stuffit Expander to extract it from its archive. Within the package, there is an empty folder called Linux Kernels. Download linux.bin and ramdisk.image.gz from the disks-powerpc/current/powermac folder, and place them in the Linux Kernels folder. Then place the Linux Kernels folder in the active System Folder.

4.3.2. Hard Disk Installer Booting for NewWorld Macs

NewWorld PowerMacs support booting from a network or an ISO9660 CD-ROM, as well as loading ELF binaries directly from the hard disk. These machines will boot Linux directly via yaboot, which supports loading a kernel and RAMdisk directly from an ext2 partition, as well as dual-booting with MacOS. Hard disk booting of the installer is particularly appropriate for newer machines without floppy drives. BootX is not supported and must not be used on NewWorld PowerMacs.

Copy (not move) the following four files which you downloaded earlier from the Debian archives, onto the root level of your hard drive (this can be accomplished by option-dragging each file to the hard drive icon).

  • linux.bin

  • root.bin (from inside the images-1.44 folder)

  • yaboot

  • yaboot.conf

Make a note of the partition number of the MacOS partition where you place these files. If you have the MacOS pdisk program, you can use the L command to check for the partition number. You will need this partition number for the command you type at the Open Firmware prompt when you boot the installer.

To boot the installer, proceed to Section, “Booting NewWorld Macs from OpenFirmware”.