Apple OldWorld Computers

Download Apple System 7.5.3 here

Read here first

Download BootX here

Linux on the Low End

Debian how to with bootx for old world mac

How to boot an OldWorld Mac with a Linux Kernel of series 2.6

Ubuntu Community Documentation Installation Old World Macs

Booting your Mac with BootX if you own an OldWorld Mac

If you own an OldWorld Mac, (pre G3 era), you don't need a boot partition. The booting process is done via MacOS. Download BootX and install it. Create a folder called "Linux Kernel" into the System folder. Copy the vmlinux file into this kernel folder. BootX and the BootX extension have to be put into the System folder. 

Go to the Apple menu and choose BootX. In the /dev/ field you fill in the partition number of your root (e.g. hda10).

in the More kernel introduce argument you can pass kernel messages like

video=atyfb: vmode: 18, cmode: 16

In this example a certain type of video is chosen with a resolution (vmode) of 1152x870 and colordepth (cmode) of thousands of colours. The options for vmode are 5.6, and 10-20, belonging to resolutions of 640x480 up to 1280x1024 Hz. The options for cmode are 8,15,16,24 and 32 of 256 up to millions colours).

Save these settings.

To boot Linux, you click the Linux button. From now on, you will end up in this menu every time you boot the Mac. It is possible to choose Linux or Mac from BootX.

What I did to get Mandrake 8.2 working

Copy the BootX extension, BootX program and linux kernels to the System folder of the first partition (in my case 147 Mb, HFS. Go to control panel, BootX App: choose vmlinux as kernel and all.gz as ramdisk (this provides 2.4.18 kernel). The size of the ramdisk has to be 32000, put it in the size window. I could not partition my PM 7600 in the graphical mode in the installer,  I therefore did a text installation. To achieve this, I added "text" in the more kernel argument field. Start Linux from BootX and the installation can begin. Take care not to restart Linux in graphical mode. With these old machines the X window system will not work out of the box probably. To fiddle around in the settings you need a working shell. In my case the mouse did not work, so an X-window system would be of no help.

After the installation we need to adjust the BootX settings, otherwise we boot from CD again. Take a kernel (Mandrake 8.2 has vmlinuz-2.4.18-6mdk) from the CD and copy this file to the kernel directory in the system folder as well as initrd-2.4.18-6mdk.img) and select initrd-2.4.18-6mdk.img as ramdisk. The size of the ramdisk is not important I think, 8192 is good. Add the following to more kernel arguments (depending on your root partition):

root=/dev/sdb8 devfs=mount

You can check the partitions under MacOS with a proram  called pdisk. This will help you to find out the root partition.

Reboot in linux and login with your name and password. Then start X with "startx". If it works you can be happy. If your X does not work out of the box, you may need to adjust the X settings. I normally perform (as root):

dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

Installation instructions from Ubuntu.

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