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By unSpawn at 2003-08-19 10:03
Summary: Provide information about formatting and (re)installing MacOS and NetBSD on a lowly Macintosh Powerbook
Keywords: NetBSD, Macintosh, Powerbook, emulator, Basilisk, sneakernet, conversion, worst case scenario

1. If you need a reason...
2. "Before you start"
3.0 Prepping the Mac to be liberated
3.1 Prepping the remote box
4. Repartitioning, installing MacOS and NetBSD on the Pb
5. References.

1. If you need a reason...
BSD provides stability, interoperability, versatility and loads of fun, and just because you have a lowly Mac doesn't mean you can't have fun! If that ain't enough reason, then maybe increasing your mana by installing BSD or the fact you don't have to look at "bomb" icons no more will do it for you. I choose NetBSD since it runs on about anything with proper FPU emulation. I don't have any experience running Linux/GNU on the Pb, so please don't ask about that. * Please note this Impractical HOWTO does NOT contain detailed installation instructions for MacOS or NetBSD on a mac68k. Please refer to the docs and the FAQs that come with it.

2. "Before you start"
In this Impractical HOWTO I'm going for the worst case scenario. What this means to you depends on these issues:
- Powerbook (Pb). If without MacOS, no problem, we'll cover that. Just make sure it's in working order.
- A network connection between the host and the Pb. If you haven't got an Appletalk network you'll be using 'ol sneakernet. BSD on a Pb can't be booted using a network capable bootdisk so your modem will just be an ugly paperweight for now.
- A host running MacOS. Needed for downloading MacOS and BSD from else a Linux or MICROS~1 box. If this is the case, grab BasiliskII,, ROM and HFVExplorer. If you haven't got MacOS (7.5.3 or higher), grab it from Apple's HTTP. While you're there, grab a copy of HDsetup, Disk Copy and Stuffit Expander. Find BSD on a local mirror. Please spare the main NetBSD site. Don't forget to grab the installer, booter and mkfs utils as well from one of the subdirectories of the mac86k tree.

3.0 Prepping the Mac to be liberated
Thanks to Apple's infinite wisdom there is no partition resizing tool. This means you will have to backup any files you need or want to keep. I prefer to assert you know what to do, so let's move on past that. BSD needs 1GB if installed with all bells 'n whistles but the base.tgz and etc.tgz can be installed in under 60MB. Furthermore you will need a swap partition. My Pb has the wealthy amount of 14MB RAM, so I set 10MB aside for swap. With the HD being aprox 110MB, this keeps 40MB for the MacOS. Seems like a lot, but since I'm going full "worst case scenario" here, this means that partition will have to hold a copy of MacOS 7.6 (aprox 10MB) and the largest package (base.tgz) in compressed and segmented form and unpacked form.

3.1 Prepping the remote box
If you've got a Mac, set up a repository for MacOS and BSD and make sure it can be downloaded to the Pb. That's it.

If you've got a Linux or Windows box, BasiliskII will emulate MacOS. We need it to be able to format a bootable MacOS disk to partition the Pb and install MacOS on. BasiliskII needs a HFV volume and a Macintosh 68k ROM image to run. The Macintosh ROM basically defines the identity and functionality of a Macintosh, and "ripping" it illegally isn't acceptable. With the "getrom" utility you can scrape the image off of a Mac you own, else use the which nicely provides a HFV volume with MacOS on it (and find links to ROM's at the end of this doc). This isn't large, so you will use HFVExplorer to create an additional volume to hold the MacOS installer and BSD installers (if they aren't on disk or cdrom) and to experiment a bit with. Set up BasiliskII and try to get a grip on working with MacOS if you haven't already. BasiliskII emulates the MacOS and behaves as bad as the apps that define MacOS. Crashing is an option, and often too :-[

Use "Disk Copy" to make the "Install me first" bootdisk so we have access to the partitioning tool. If you're using sneakernet it would be beneficial to use "Disk Copy" to make the MacOS diskset. Depending on what you will install disks 1 thru 10 will always be accessed, as are 17 thru 19 (or whatever is the last in our set).

4. Repartitioning, installing MacOS and NetBSD on the Pb
Boot the Pb with the "Install me first" bootdisk. After a while this should give you access to a simple 4-button menu (it's a MAC, FGS!).
Select the first item and close it. Select the second item, choose the disk to install MacOS on and proceed to the "partition" item. Remove all partitions (you *did* backup, right?) except the driver one (aprox 5K). Create a MacOS partition depending on your needs. If installed in the most minimal layout it shouldn't need over 10MB. Create A/UX partitions to hold the slices you need BSD to have and don't forget to make one swap. If you're low on diskspace you can make a A/UX "root/usr" one of aprox 60MB, and keep 10MB for swap. When you're done, press "quit" and proceed to the third item to select the disk MacOS will b installed on. Forget about the warnings about low diskspace, proceed to item four and select "minimal install for this computer" (or similar sounding) and check "clean system install" under options. Check all the trees below for stuff that doesn't need to be installed. Press "install" when you're ready and feed the disks as appropriate.

Next we'll install NetBSD. When you're done and the Pb has rebooted into a pristine state, load up the BSD installer, booter and mkfs utility. Use the "mkfs" utility to format the A/UX partitions to hold a BSD ffs. Next haul over the BSD packages. Now access the installer and select each package for installing. When done use the installer to make the devices. Now access the booter and configure the options to boot BSD. Make sure to check to have verbosity at minimally level 3 and log to a logfile. If anything b0rks this will contain clues you need to troubleshoot it or post to the mac68k BSD mailinglist. If all goes well you'll be (eventually) presented with the NetBSD prompt, login as "root" and perform the usual sacrifices and rituals to make BSD secure and boot a multi-user environment.

Note 1: my Pb doesn't contain a proper fd BSD wants to use (iwm problems). If you kept the installer around, you can use the minimal shell's "cpin" and counterpart "cpout" to copy files from and to the BSD ffs (unless you immediately wired the box to the LAN of course).
Note 2: if you have any questions about this Impractical HOWTO, please post in the appropriate forum (that's BSD, not Linux - Newbie or Linux - Security).

5. References.
Macintosh powerbook 160 specs:
68k Macintosh Liberation Front:
BasiliskII starterdisk:

Macintosh ROM's:'s/Emulation/BIOS_Roms/BIOS_roms_summary.htm
Apple Macintosh System 7.5.3 (Macbinary format)
or see
Alladin Stuffit Expander:, or a local mirror


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