Installation notes for Woody on Nubus PowerPC's using the Apple MkLinux Booter and the Kernel with Debian Woody installer.

These notes describe the Woody (Debian GNU/Linux 3.0) installation on a PowerPC 8100/80 via the internet (broadband connection) accessed from a LAN with a DHCP server.

(Revision as at 6 June 2003 following a re-install - I've updated these notes to reflect my latest experience of installing woody on this 8100/80 as a file server)

It is assumed that you have already created partition space on your hard disk. For partitioning help see:
Note : There is mac-fdisk available from the installer should you want to partition the disk during installation. I used this during the latest installation.

Stage 1: Installing Debian Linux booter

1. Obtain the Apple MkLinux Booter from: (thanks to Takashi Oe). It comprises three folders , the contents of which need to be copied to Control Panels (1 file), Extensions (1 file) and Preferences (2 files) folders - it's pretty self-explanatory.

2. Download the MachKernel-2.4.19-rc1-020626 from: and MachKernel-Debian-woody-020722.gz from: (provided by Etsushi Kato).

NB. I had trouble booting this installer for some reason and so I used a different kernel + installer from: I found this installer a bit different to the woody installers I've used elsewhere eg: there is no provision to set up security updates in your sources list - you'll need to edit /etc/apt/sources.list later to include these. Also some of the options are phrased differently and need to be read carefully.

Rename from "MachKernel-Debian-woody-020722.gz" to "Mach Kernel" and place in the Extensions folder.

3. Go to Control Panels and open MkLinux window, select Custom which opens lilo.conf and make sure it reads as follows:

# RAMDisk Debian Installer
# mach_options= keyboard_sends_linux_keycodes=1

(It doesn't matter what else is in the file as long as every other line starts with "# " Save the file and exit

4. Restart your machine - Note. If you're installing over a network, you need a Linux readable CD in the CD Rom drive otherwise it won't boot to the installation screen.

5. When Apple MkLinux Booter comes up, press "MkLinux" button which should if all has gone according to plan it will take you to the Woody installation system.

Stage2: Installing Woody

Choose the following from the menus:

1. Configure the Keyboard

2. Initialise and Activate a Swap Partition

3. Initialise a Linux Partition (more than once if you have multiple partitions). The partition set used was:

6. / 80M
7. swap 80M
8. swap 80M
9. /usr 1G
10. /var 500M
11. /tmp 500M
12. /home 3G
13. free 718.4M

In the latest install I reduced /usr, /var and /tmp in favour of a larger home directory because I don't need a desktop environment for serving files.

4. Install Operating System Kernel and Modules. Select Installation medium: network. The installer should configure your network automatically using DHCP or BOOTP if you accept the defaults; if not you will have to configure it manually. The potato installer worked automatically. It will then download from the default URL: powermac/images-1.44/rescue.bin powermac/drivers.tgz

5. Install the Base System
Select Installation medium: network. It will then download from the default URL: base2_2.tgz

6. Configure the Base System
Choose and configure your time zone

7. You can't "Make a Boot Floppy" or boot from the hard disk for a Nubus Mac so - Reboot the System into MacOS. Go to Control Panels and open MkLinux window, select Custom which opens lilo.conf. Comment out with "#" the second line below:

# RAMDisk Debian Installer
# rootdev=/dev/ram

and add:

# boot from root partition on scsi hard drive

(sda6 is the root partion initialised in 3. above). Save the file and exit.

8. Go to your extension folder and replace the "Mach Kernel" with MachKernel-2.4.19-rc1-020626 and rename it "Mach Kernel" (Save the previous copy of Mach Kernel in case you need to repeat the installation in the future)

9. Reboot into "MkLinux" (which is in fact Debian). This takes you to Debian System Configuration. Accept the defaults and enter a password for root and set up a user with a password. When you get to Apt Configuration choose http and select a mirror site. Apt will then install and configure the Woody packages. Choose "Tasksel" to install or if your feeling brave try "deselect" (which allows you to choose individual packages - beware there are 1000's). After getting the list of packages required it will tell you how much is being downloaded and ask if you want to continue; the default is Y

10. After the packages download you will be taken to Configuring Debconf. Accept the defaults.

Configuring Locales: choose a locale (I chose en_GB ISO-8859-14). Choose "C" as your default system environment.

You will need to make some selections for (my choices shown):

window manager - xdm
mouse device - /dev/input/mice
colour - 8 bit Dictionary - British

You will be asked to choose mail settings - you can reconfigure later

After loading a few more packages you will get a screen confirming that Debian is installed and pressing OK will take you to a login prompt: Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 debian tty

Login as user and then type "su" you'll be prompted for the root password. Type "shutdown -r now" to reboot into the Mac side. Open Lilo.conf and uncomment the linux keycodes line as follows:

mach_options= keyboard_sends_linux_keycodes=1

Save the changes to lilo.conf and reboot back into Debian and login as user and then "su"

You can check that everything has installed correctly by typing: apt-get dist-upgrade (which will offer to install any missing packages)

11. You now have a base system to which you can add your choice of packages to tailor Woody to fit your needs using "dselect" . Before doing so read the docs at:

Congratulations you've installed Woody on your Nubus PC.

Help and inspiration provided by the folks at,, and by Dylan at

Clive Menzies - November 2002 - revised 6 June 2003


Clive Menzies & Associates