Getting started with Linux/mac68k
Step 1: Determine if your Mac is supported
Step 1a: Check the list of supported machines
Before you do anything, you should check
to see if Linux supports your system. See the
machine status page
and the FAQ hardware requirements section for details.
Step 1b: Ignore the list of supported machines
So you checked the list of supported machines, and it said that your
Mac wouldn't work. Well, don't let that stop you! Remember that most
of the information we have is based on user reports and developer testing
of releases probably obsolete by now. Your mileage may vary. Give it a shot!
Step 2: Perform a test boot
Step 2a: Download the necessary components
You need three things to test Linux on your system: the
, a kernel, and an initial RAM disk ("initrd") image. You have some choices
Debian version (approximately) 4.0 aka "etch-m68k":
CD image (contains kernel & RAM disk)
Debian 3.1 aka "Sarge":
kernel and the
RAM disk image.
Debian 3.0 aka "Woody":
kernel and the
RAM disk image.
The latest latest 2.2 kernel is available from the
download page. (Not for use with Debian 4 or later.)
Penguin booter: Penguin is the MacOS program used to boot Linux.
is the current version, although
Penguin 18 and
also work for many people.
RAM disk:If you just want a
command prompt with a few simple commands, to test whether your
hardware is supported, try one of these:
Step 2b: Launch Penguin
At this point, you should have a kernel, a RAM disk image, and the Penguin
booter downloaded and unstuffed somewhere on your hard drive. You're almost ready
to try booting Linux!
But first, we need to tweak MacOS. Please read the FAQ section,
"Why won't Linux boot on my machine"
for some important information about Penguin compatibility.
You'll need to select a suitable video mode (no need for this if your Mac has Valkyrie
graphics, since the Linux driver is capable of video mode switching).
Open Penguin and choose "Settings" from the File menu. Penguin 18 and later
divide these settings between the "Kernel" and "Options" tabs.
Click the button next to "Kernel:" and select the kernel you downloaded.
Check the box next to "Ramdisk:" and choose the initrd image you downloaded.
In the command line, enter "root=/dev/ram". The row of check boxes (Auto boot, Color by Penguin,
etc) below the command line should all be unchecked.
Click OK. Select "Boot Now" from the File menu. Penguin will load
the kernel and initrd and boot you into Linux.
Step 2c: Hope it works
After a short time, the cursor will stop moving and the screen will
turn black with a black-and-white
penguin in the upper-right hand corner of the screen. A few seconds later,
the console will come up and you will see the normal Linux messages
scrolling across your screen. This is accompanied by a color Penguin in
the upper-left-hand corner (unless you are using kernel 2.0).
A few more seconds into the process, and a line like "VFS: mounted
root" should show up. If you are using the Debian ramdisk, this should be
followed by a window with some information about Debian in it. Otherwise,
you might just get a "login:" message or a command prompt. If you get this
far, and the keyboard works, then Linux will probably work for you!
Step 3: What to do next
Step 3a: Installing Debian
If you were able to successfully boot Linux, the next
step is to install Debian or Gentoo on your system. This document is
not a guide to installing a distro.
There are some install guides provided here.
Step 3b: Aaargh, it didn't work!
Don't give up! Not everybody gets it to work on the first try. Try
booting with a different kernel, from the list above. There is
information in the FAQ
about solving hardware problems.