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I just saw your issue this morning, so I don't know what progress you have made with your installation.
I am having the same problem with a beige G3. Since, both of our computers are "Old World," there may just be a common solution, but, it appears that this may not be the forum for those of us wanting to install Linux on Macs, as demonstrated by the responses you've received so far.
I've been looking for any info all over the web on this issue, and so far have found only a few cryptic and less than helpful responses to the few similar problems I've found.
The BootX argument: "Root=/dev/ram3 ramdisk_size=40000 automatic=method :cdrom" seems to mean that the root file system is supposed to be mounted in a RAM Disk, since the error message says, "kernel panic: vfs: unable to mount root fs on 01:03."
01:03 seems to be an device address in hexidecimal for a Ram Disk.
I've experimented with changing the argument so that the root fs would be mounted on partitions of various hard drives on my computer just to see how the error message would change:
For example, when I entered "Root=/dev/hdd10," (this syntax was from an example in an PDF on how to install Linux PPC) and tried to install, I got "kernel panic: vfs: unable to mount root fs on 16:4a."
Here is a table of info so far compiled after substituting various devices in the argument:
Have either of you had a look at the Yellow Dog Linux pages on their website. Although it's not Mandrake, they have help for older ppcs and the advice there should be helpful for your cases.
I must admit that I know next to nothing about Macs. On Mandrake's PPC Page they give these as the hardware requirements:
Supported processors: G3 and G4 on iMac, as well as "old-world" machines with the 604 processor as long as they have PCI (no nubus).
Installation support and kernel for IBM RS/6000 (tested on a 43P-150 model with a 604e processor).
Well I tryed to install on a few other "Old world Macs". I tryed to install on a 7600, 3400 laptop powerbook, and my 6500. All of them got the same message
kernel panic: vfs: unable to mount root fs on 01:03
I then tryed to just boot the disks on my brothers Ibook. The CD's booted fine. I am thinking that there is a glitch in the oldworld bootx.
I tried the same thing with a PowerMac 8600. As I mentioned before, I had been trying to install on a Beige G3. According the hardware reqm's on the Mandrake site, it isn't clear if the G3 is supported, although it is old world. I also got the same messages as before - the same as coopercovelo got. I have spent two days doing web searches for an answer. Nothing..
Note: We received the SAME error messages in spite of the fact that some of the Macs are not on the supported list
The PowerMac 7600 that coopercovelo tried has a 604 processor (which is supported) and is obviously an "oldworld" Mac., and my PowerMac 8600 is also powered by a 604 and is therefore an accepted "oldworld" Mac as far as mandrake is concerned. However, the 6500 and 3400 have 603e processors, so they are not offically supported, and as mentioned before, my G3 may not be on the official list. Same error message with all of these...Hmmmm.
Conclusion: This issue has nothing to do with which processors are supported. From my current high level of frustration, I see the issue as incomplete and/or poorly worded instructions from Mandrake (the process seems to be portrayed as so clear and simple, but....) or problems with the install coding. There is nothing on the Mandrake site explaining what the error messages and the hexadecimals assigned to devices mean, or anything resembling troubleshooting for the oldworld install, especially for non- computer programmers or Linux newbies.
Has anyone out there had the same experience with oldworld units?
I have seen mention of the same or similar error messages on other sites. So far, the few responses have been unsatisfactory, uninformative, and not helpful.
Thanks to all of you who have offered suggestions. I do appreciate your concern and desire to be of assistance. Perhaps I should question why I have been trying to solve this problem for three days now. I'm usually not this persistent.
P.S.: My next post will probably involve questions on how to successfully do an Suse FTP install download (for Macs, of course). So far I haven't been able to successfully connect to any of the servers.
I think I've got the solution for "oldworld" installs - I found two sources on the internet. What they said in relating their own trials helped to solve it for me, anyway. I will provide the links and give them credit later.
The issue that causes the kernel panic seems to be related to the ramdisk install apparently pointing to a non-existent ramdisk image.
Here is one solution. It worked for me. During the process when BootX opens, you need to click on "Options." Check "use specified ramdisk." Click on the "choose" button. An open dialog box will appear. Navigate to the "Mandrake Linux Install" folder on your desktop and open "BootX folder, then open "Linux Kernels" folder and choose/open the "all.gz" file. Then click the "okay" in the BootX options window.
Continuing from here, you should be successful, at least in avoiding the kernel panic, but due to the installer choosing the wrong video driver, you will not be able to read the installer windows.
To solve the video problem, after some trials, I inserted "install-gui gui-old video=atyfb128" in between the other text in the more arguments slot so that it looked like this:
Install itself was successful. But the system hangs up on boot. Gets to the opening, blue gui screen. Two dialog boxes come up.... then things stop. Clicking anywhere on the larger box (which is behind the smaller one with unreadable text) causes the computer to reboot.
The other issue is again with BootX. It is still pointing to a non-existent kernel. I can manually point it to hdd7 in the argument box, which then allows system to boot to that opening screen.