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mldqj 11-25-2006 04:49 PM

Powerbook with broken internal CD-Rom
I have a Powerbook G4 12" on which I want to install Linux. But the built-in cd-rom drive is no longer functioning. The machine currently has Mac OSX installed. Is there a way to install Linux without CD-Rom?

As another option, I'm considering buying an external firewire dvd-drive to boot and install linux on the powerbook. Has anyone done this and succeeded?

Much appreciated.

archShade 11-26-2006 11:04 AM

installing linux without a cd drive
If you have another computer and a network available you could try a network install. Im Still quite new to linux but know its possible. so you could google this or check out this site.
If you go into bios Can you select USB as your boot drive (if you cant try putting a flash stick or over USB storage device in and then trying to change your boot order in bios).If this works then you will be able to install from any USB storage device be it an external drive or flash disk or whatever.
Which leads to the over alternate of creating a live install on a flash stick then installing from that. You should be able to do this with DSL and puppy linux. for this you will also need another machine.

If you dont have another machine the external DVD drive seems sensible :)

archShade 11-26-2006 11:07 AM

Ive just realized you want to use firewire just check if you can make this bootable in bios

mldqj 11-26-2006 11:19 AM

Thanks for your reply. PowerBook does not support USB boot, but it supposedly supports firewire boot. I think one thing I could do is to find another Mac and install Linux on the PowerBook's harddrive, and then put it back.

archShade 11-26-2006 02:03 PM

Im not familier with macs. I do get asked to fix things on them from time to time and os x drives me nuts (im addicted to bash). I was under the impression it was hard to do internal changes to a mac

Gentooist 12-07-2006 04:45 AM

boot Linux from firewire device on Apple Powerbook
Dear all,

Yes, you __can__ boot from a firewire CD-Drive. I had the same problem recently (broken internal CD on my Powerbook G4 Ti), and here's how I got Kubuntu-Linux installed from a Kubuntu 6.10 PPC Live CD.

1.) On the Linux CD you want to install from, check the location of the binary called yaboot. In my case (Kubuntu), this is /install/yaboot. Alternatively, you can look for the "vmlinux"-file - on the Kubuntu-CD, this is /casper/powerpc/vmlinux.

2.) Macintoshes do __not__ have a "BIOS". Instead, they have something called "Open Firmware", the main difference being that OF is programmable (have a look in Wikipedia for additional human readable information :-)

If your Mac doesn't boot from your Firewire CD, nor does the firewire-drive show up as an icon when you boot with the Option ("alt") key pressed, you have to boot into the Open Firmware. This is done by pressing Command (Clover) + Option (alt) + O + F during boot.

3.) You will be greeted by some information about OpenFirmware and a boot prompt.

dev / ls

and a long list with all devices known by OF will be given. Hopefully at the end of the list you will find something similar to:


This is the internal address of your firewire drive.

4.) Now you're almost done. Type

boot [address]:,[path]

where [address] is the address as found in 3. (without line breaks, though), and [path] is the path to yaboot as shown in 1.

In my case, this is:

boot /pci@f4000000/firewire@e/node@00d04b2a1604de5f/sbp-2@c000/disk@0:,\install\yaboot

Note the colon and the comma after disk@0, and note that the path has to be given with backslashes!

5.) Press enter, and it should boot!

Greetings from Vienna, Europe.

mldqj 12-07-2006 04:51 PM

Thanks a lot for the reply!

mtb 07-15-2009 03:50 PM

I have just booted an iBook G4 with a broken internal cdrom drive using an USB external dvd drive ( despite what i have read almost everywhere ):

dev / ls

I have found out that the external usb device was

added the semicolon and the ,
found out which key was the \ ( in the italian keyboard, is the )
so with:

boot /pci@f2000000/usb@1b,1/disk@1:,\install\yaboot

I'm booting ubuntu 9.04 ppc ( from ). It's taking ages, but it's loading!


So yes, you can boot at least ubuntu with an external usb cdrom or dvd drive, at least with an ibook G4.

mtb 07-15-2009 05:14 PM

I have just finished to install the cd, in order to boot on G4 you need to choose live-nosplash-powerpc video=ofonly at the yaboot prompt

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