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6. Boot the machine and start the installation program

In this chapter we will find out how to get the installation program up and running.

6.1. A note on partitions

Below we will be asked about what partitions to make. We should have at least these partitions:

  • A PReP partition. It should be the first primary partition on one of the SCSI drives, preferably the first (this naming the partition to sda1). It must have type PReP boot (type 41), and must be large enough to hold a compressed Linux kernel image (zImage). Something like 5-10MB should do.

  • A swap partition. It can be either a primary or a logical partition on any drive. Any size will do, but a guide may be twice the size of you physical RAM. I have 64MB RAM, so I have a swap partition on 128MB.

  • A system root partition. It can be either a primary or a logical partition, and it should be big enough to hold the main parts of the installation. You should write down the device (disk and partition number, like sda5, for example) for your system's root partition. You will need it later. The easy way is just to use the rest of the harddisk space for this. If you have several harddisks, big drives or special requirements on safety and other things, you should consider to make own partitions for /home, /usr, /usr/local, and other parts of the system. Details on this is outside the scope of this document, but there is a good discussion on this in the Linux Partition HOWTO.

You may of course add as many other partitions to your system as you may wish, but this is the very minimum.

It is a VERY good tip to find a piece of paper and write down which partitions you have made, what you want to use them to, and where you want to mount them. You will need this information later.

For Debian and SuSE, we will use the cfdisk program for partitioning. For those unfamiliar with cfdisk and partitioning in general, I have made two small appendices on this, just because I am a very kind person. See Section 15.

6.2. Boot the machine and start the installer

To boot the 7248, just insert the boot floppy and turn the machine on. If it won't boot off the floppy drive, check SMS settings (Section 3), and try to force a floppy boot by pressing F5 (or F6) at the bootscreen while the check icons pop up in the bottom of the screen. After a while, the screen blanks out, and Linux will boot. At this point, you can shout a little "hooray" for yourself, if there are not too many in the room, and Tux, the Linux Penguin will show up in the upper left corner of the screen. Insert the ramdisk floppies when prompted.

6.3. The Debian installer

You should just walk through the Debian installer like you would on any Debian installation. More information on how to use the installer can be found at your favourite Debian mirror, a good reference should be this document. You would maybe start here as you already have been walked through the preliminary steps. There are a few thing to remember though:

  • Not all keyboard layouts are availble in the installer. Pick one you are able to use. We will have more to choose from once the system is installed.

  • At the "Partition a Hard Disk" step, our partition program will be cfdisk. At this step we have to add the PReP partition as mentioned above, a swap partition and a root partition. Remember to write down on a piece of paper what partition to use for the root filesystem. Unless you have a really good memory, of course.

  • The steps "Install Kernel and Driver Modules", "Configure Device Driver modules", "Configure PCMCIA Support", and "Install Foreign Modules" can be skipped, as all necessary driver are compiled into the boot floppy kernel.

  • When installing the base system, we can choose either network or cdrom. Both should work. (I have even installed by floppy once, but this is something we really don't want to do.)

  • Skip the steps "Make System bootable" and "Make a Boot Floppy" - they won't work. See the later chapter Section 9.5 on how to make the system boot from the harddisk.

  • No bootloader will be installed, as there are no availble bootloader for the PReP PPC platform (except the one that's piggybacked onto the kernel). After the installation is done, you will therefore have to boot again from a floppy. See the next chapter for details.

When you are finished installing the base system, reinsert the boot floppy and choose "Reboot the system".

6.4. The SuSE installer

The SuSE installer should work without any hassle at all. Prelimenary, I've only done ftp install, but any installation method should do, provided you have access to the media. I have not been able to find an online version of the installation instructions, but it should be quite strightforward. If you have bought the boxed set, you have probably got a printed manual on dead trees. A few things to look up for anyhow:

  • When partition the hard disks, remember to make a PReP boot partition as described above. As a general rule, use /dev/sda1 for this.

  • If we're doing a ftp install, use the following path from a SuSE mirror root: suse/ppc/current/. An European mirror is available at ( in /pub/Linux/distributions/suse/suse/ppc/current/ . An American mirror is availble at ( in /pub/ . There is a list of other mirrors here

  • The download progress bar is broken on slow links, so we don't care about it unless we're connected to a fat pipe. Have patience.

  • When the installation is finished, we may get a blank screen with nothing but a blinking cursor. Ensure that the installation is done (check for availble shells or status screens at VT2, 3 and 4. by pressing Alt+F2,F3,F4,F1, there should be none). Reinsert the boot floppy and power-cycle the box.

    No bootloader will be installed, as there are no availble bootloader for the PReP PPC platform (except the one that's piggybacked onto the kernel). After the installation is done, you will therefore have to boot again from a floppy. See the next chapter for details.

6.5. The Yellow Dog installer

Just before the installer starts, I have added a small pre-installation routine. Please follow the on-screen instrucions. For someone who has done some sysadmin earlier, the steps should be quite easy. For the beginner, it should not be to difficult. Hop to a virtual terminal by hitting Alt+F2. Type

cfdisk /dev/sda
to partition your first scsi harddisk. Change to sdb for your second, and so on. If you think this is a little difficult, I've written a small appendix on this Section 16. When done partitioning, run for example
mke2fs /dev/sda3
to make an ext2 filesystem on your third partition on your first hard disk. When you are finished, hop back to the main screen by hitting Alt+F1, and press enter to continue

You should walk through the installer as you would walk through any Yellow Dog installation (though only text-based interface is availble). I have not found any comprehensive online installation manual, but there is some info here. If you have bought a boxed set, you should open the box and Read The Fine Manual if you have questions not answered here.

There are a few things to look out for, though:

  • At the "Installing Profile Selection" screen (one of the first screens), choose "Custom".

  • At the "Installation Setup" screen, only "Local CD/DVD" is availble, so we'll have to choose ... well, you guessed it.

  • At the "Partition Disks" screen, we "Edit" each disk, but just choose "Save" in the subscreens. "Add" and "Delete" won't work. And besides, we already have done this, haven't we?

  • At the "Package Selection" screen, choose "Base Install", unless you have a full CD set. The downloadable CD image has only the base install packages.

  • At the "Sound Setup" screen, we'll get an error message saying we are not one of those lucky bastards owning a Power Macintosh computer. As this is something we should be ashamed of. Ignore, sniff, and select "Ok". We'll fix sound later.

  • At the "PReP Bootloader Installation" screen, the installer yells that it can't find a PReP partition. A little strange, as we just made one. (We did, remember to do that, didn't we?). This installer just can't get it, so continue to ignore it. Select "Ok".

  • The "X11 Configuration" screen just flips by, so I guess that part was painless. Yeah, right.

  • No bootloader will be installed, as there are no availble bootloader for the PReP PPC platform (except the one that's piggybacked onto the kernel). After the installation is done, you will therefore have to boot again from a floppy. See the next chapter for details.

6.6. The Mandrake installer

For the Mandrake installer, there are a few quite extensive prerequisites necessary. For a CD install, we need to replace the installer program on the first CD before burning out the CD ISO image. For a network install, we need a complete local ftp or http mirror, made from the Mandrake Bamboo ppc ftp directory, or the three CDs. Actually, we only need to replace one single file, but because the installer is unable to change package source during the installation (this is one reason why Debian is a wonderful distribution), we need local copies of all the files.

If we don't like to hazzle around and tune things, we'll stick to the CD installation. It's the easiest.

6.6.1. CD installation

First we have to download the three Mandrake ISO images from your favourite mirror. There exist ppc ISO images at least at a Sweedish mirror at

Then we must change the first image by replacing the installer inside it. This could be done on any operating system able to mount a CD ISO image. The instructions below are made for running on RedHat Linux. We presume the images are all put in /var/tmp.

First we mount the image by the loopback interface

mount -o loop=/dev/loop0 /var/tmp/MandrakeLinux-9.1-CD1.ppc.iso /mnt/cdrom
Then copy all files in the image to somewhere with plenty of space, eg. /var/tmp, and unmount the image again:
mkdir /var/tmp/bamboo1
cp -va /mnt/cdrom/* /var/tmp/bamboo1
umount /mnt/cdrom
Now replace the installer image:
cd /var/tmp/bamboo1/Mandrake/base
rm mdkinst_stage2.bz2
Finally rebuild the installer image and, if you want, remove the local copy of the cd contents:
cd /var/tmp
mkisofs -r -o MandrakeLinux-9.1-CD1.ppc.iso bamboo1/
rm -rf bamboo1
There. You now have a set of three working ISO images for the 7248. Burn them out on CDs. Then insert the boot floppy into the 7248 and turn the computer on. Disk-Jockey the ramdisk floppy when prompted. Just do a normal CD installation. See the installer notes below for details.

6.6.2. Network installation

First you need a local http or ftp mirror with a patched installer. This means that you need access to another computer able to run a web or ftp server. Any Linux distribution can do. A modern Windows or UNIX server should also be able to do the job. The trick is to download all necessary files, and change the installer file Mandrake/base/ with a patched one. Below the the steps to get this done with the Apache web server on a RedHat Linux installtion, and with the CD iso image files, is described. (A complete download of the ppc archive from a Mandrake ftp mirror should work allright too, but I prefer to have the iso images availble.)

Unless already done, install and start the Apache web server on the system. This is described in the RedHat documentation. Then download the three Mandrake CD images from your favourite mirror. There exist ppc iso images at least at a Sweedish mirror at

cd /somwhere/with/plenty/space
wget ftp://your.favourite.mirror/path/to/MandrakeLinux-9.1-CD1.ppc.iso
wget ftp://your.favourite.mirror/path/to/MandrakeLinux-9.1-CD2.ppc.iso
wget ftp://your.favourite.mirror/path/to/MandrakeLinux-9.1-CD3.ppc.iso
Mount the images via the loopback interface:
mkdir /mnt/bamboo1 /mnt/bamboo2 /mnt/bamboo3 /var/www/html/bamboo
mount -o loop=/dev/loop1 MandrakeLinux-9.1-CD1.ppc.iso /mnt/bamboo1
mount -o loop=/dev/loop2 MandrakeLinux-9.1-CD2.ppc.iso /mnt/bamboo2
mount -o loop=/dev/loop3 MandrakeLinux-9.1-CD3.ppc.iso /mnt/bamboo3
cd -
Copy the base files, and symlink the package directories, to a directory availble for the web server:
for i in base mdkinst share; do
cp -va /mnt/bamboo1/Mandrake/$i /var/www/html/bamboo/Mandrake; done
ln -s /mnt/bamboo1/Mandrake/RPMS1 /var/www/html/bamboo/Mandrake
ln -s /mnt/bamboo2/Mandrake/RPMS2 /var/www/html/bamboo/Mandrake
ln -s /mnt/bamboo3/Mandrake/RPMS3 /var/www/html/bamboo/Mandrake
Finally add my patched version of the installer image.
cd /var/www/html/bamboo/Mandrake/base
mv mdkinst_stage2.bz2 mdkinst_stage2.orig.bz2
cd -
You should now have a working local http mirror of the Mandrake installation files. Now boot with the boot floppy, and insert the ramdisk floppy when prompted. From the installation menus, select network install, select http and then give the address of the server where you just downloaded the files. The http directory from the example above is "/bamboo"

6.6.3. Installer notes

You will get an error when probing for a network and scsi drivers. The driver module files don't exist. We don't worry, as all necessary drivers are compiled into the running kernel.

If all package files necessary are availble, the installer should run without further errors.

The installer won't recognize the sound card, so sound won't work. Don't worry about this. We'll fix it in a jiffy. Same goes for XFree86, so we won't automagically get a working graphical user interface either.

No bootloader will be installed, as there are no availble bootloader for the PReP PPC platform (except the one that's piggybacked onto the kernel). After the installation is done, you will therefore have to boot again from a floppy disk. See the next chapter for details.