Jon Stewart on 25 Mar 2002 17:41:47 -0000

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Re: hosers-talk: SuXE

> Good luck.  It sounds to me like you can't build your own kernel... not 
> without some difficulty, at least. and you are using the MaxOS drivers 
> instead of the linux ones?  I have no idea how one does that.

Not really. First, it's not OS X. This is a 5-6 year old Mac, 166MHz 604, 
64MB RAM (Linux was reporting 61MB, so maybe I've got a bad chip on a 
DIMM), 3 PCI slots. AFAIK, it will not run OS X/Darwin (although I have 
heard a rumor or two that maybe Darwin can now run on it). I've got two 
narrow SCSI drives: 500MB with MacOS 8.5.1 (I think) and 2GB with a 192 MB 
swap partition and a 1.7GB / partition (I know I should have more 
partitions, but this particular system's utility is in running a demo 
Slash site, nothing more). In PRAM, the MacOS 8.5.1 drive is set to boot 
(and even if PRAM got fucked, the ROM would eventually figure out that it 
needed to boot this drive, since it wouldn't be able to find a MacOS 
System Folder on the other drive). Partways through the boot process, 
after the video hardware has been initialized by the MacOS and put in the 
OF device tree, a system extension lets you boot linux, essentially doing 
the same thing as LILO. The trick is that Linux can get the video from OF 
and write to it via the frame buffer -- BootX takes care of this; to my 
knowledge it is mostly transparent to Linux; it is transparent to 
Xfree86. The video hack is all that BootX does that it is special, and was 
a great boon to LinuxPPC since no one had to figure out how to write to 
Apple's funky video hardware (it's a result both of the funky video 
hardware and of some bugs in older versions of OF; newer Macs with fixed 
OF and plain ol' video cards use a different Linux bootloader).

Otherwise, linux uses its own drivers. For example, the MacOS will not 
recognize the D-Link ethernet card; there are no MacOS drivers for it (I 
had it from another system). Linux, however, autodetects it and recognizes 
it correctly.

LinuxPPC works fine on many older Macs. It's pretty rock solid and 
maintained by Paul Mackerras, who is a linux god. I think the main problem 
here is that my machine is not so common these days, and that SuSE just 
hasn't tested as wide a range of hardware as they need to, nor are they 
particularly familiar with the PPC architecture (being relative newcomers; 
I went with them because I thought they'd have the best installer and have 
the most up-to-date software; had been lagging behind more). 

> Check your boot log, under redhat it is 'dmesg' and see what it finds for 
> you ethernet card.  It should tell you which driver and settings it is using.

I think I may spend an hour or two or so seeing if I can't lay my hands on
an x86 shitbox ('cuz really, let's be honest, x86 is shitty) and get a
plain jane linux on that. If not, I may go off into the wilds of the
suburbs to see if I can't find other linuxppc distros. I really don't have
the linux sysadmin expertise to be very efficient at fixing install
problems. I feel comfortable with getting software going, but dealing with
drivers and boot settings is a level of complexity I can't afford right
now. But I might have to, nonetheless...

Jon Stewart

"and dropping a barbell, he points to the sky, saying 'the sun's not 
yellow, it's chicken.'"

			-- Bob Dylan