Booting the Installer on PowerPC


If you have any other operating systems on your system that you wish to keep (dual boot setup), you should make sure that they have been properly shut down before you boot the installer. Installing an operating system while another operating system is in hibernation (has been suspended to disk) could result in loss of, or damage to the state of the suspended operating system which could cause problems when it is rebooted.

Booting from a CD-ROM

The easiest route for most people will be to use an Ubuntu CD. If you have a CD, and if your machine supports booting directly off the CD, great! Simply insert your CD, reboot, and proceed to the next chapter.

Note that certain CD drives may require special drivers, and thus be inaccessible in the early installation stages. If it turns out the standard way of booting off a CD doesn't work for your hardware, revisit this chapter and read about alternate kernels and installation methods which may work for you.

If you have problems booting, see the section called “Troubleshooting the Installation Process”.

Currently, the only PowerPC subarchitectures that support CD-ROM booting are PReP (though not all systems) and New World PowerMacs. On PowerMacs, hold the c key, or else the combination of Command, Option, Shift, and Delete keys together while booting to boot from the CD-ROM.

If your system doesn't boot directly from CD-ROM, you can still use the CD-ROM to install the system. On NewWorlds, you can also use an OpenFirmware command to boot from the CD-ROM manually. Follow the instructions in the section called “Booting NewWorld Macs from OpenFirmware” for booting from the hard disk, except use the path to yaboot on the CD at the OF prompt, such as

0 > boot cd:,\install\yaboot

Booting from Hard Disk

Booting from an existing operating system is often a convenient option; for some systems it is the only supported method of installation.

To boot the installer from hard disk, you will have already completed downloading and placing the needed files in the section called “Preparing Files for Hard Disk Booting”.

Booting CHRP from OpenFirmware

Not yet written.

Booting NewWorld Macs from OpenFirmware

You will have already placed the vmlinux, initrd.gz, yaboot, and yaboot.conf files at the root level of your HFS partition in the section called “Hard Disk Installer Booting for NewWorld Macs”. Restart the computer, and immediately (during the chime) hold down the Option, Command (cloverleaf/Apple), o, and f keys all together. After a few seconds you will be presented with the Open Firmware prompt. At the prompt, type

0 > boot hd:x,yaboot

replacing x with the partition number of the HFS partition where the kernel and yaboot files were placed, followed by a Enter. On some machines, you may need to use ide0: instead of hd:. In a few more seconds you will see a yaboot prompt


At yaboot's boot: prompt, type either install or install video=ofonly followed by a Enter. The video=ofonly argument is for maximum compatibility; you can try it if install doesn't work. The Ubuntu installation program should start.

Booting from USB memory stick

Currently, NewWorld PowerMac systems are known to support USB booting.

Make sure you have prepared everything from the section called “Preparing Files for USB Memory Stick Booting”. To boot a Macintosh system from a USB stick, you will need to use the Open Firmware prompt, since Open Firmware does not search USB storage devices by default. To get to the prompt, hold down Command+Option+o+f all together while booting (see the section called “Invoking OpenFirmware”).

You will need to work out where the USB storage device appears in the device tree, since at the moment ofpath cannot work that out automatically. Type dev / ls and devalias at the Open Firmware prompt to get a list of all known devices and device aliases. On the author's system with various types of USB stick, paths such as usb0/disk, usb0/hub/disk, /[email protected]/[email protected],1/[email protected], and /[email protected]/[email protected],1/[email protected]/[email protected] work.

Having worked out the device path, use a command like this to boot the installer:

boot usb0/disk:2,\\:tbxi

The 2 matches the Apple_HFS or Apple_Bootstrap partition onto which you copied the boot image earlier, and the ,\\:tbxi part instructs Open Firmware to boot from the file with an HFS file type of "tbxi" (i.e. yaboot) in the directory previously blessed with hattrib -b.

The system should now boot up, and you should be presented with the boot: prompt. Here you can enter optional boot arguments, or just hit Enter.


This boot method is new, and may be difficult to get to work on some NewWorld systems. If you have problems, please file an installation report, as explained in the section called “Submitting Installation Reports”.

Booting with TFTP

Booting from the network requires that you have a network connection and a TFTP network boot server (DHCP, RARP, or BOOTP).

The installation method to support network booting is described in the section called “Preparing Files for TFTP Net Booting”.

Currently, PReP and New World PowerMac systems support netbooting.

On machines with Open Firmware, such as NewWorld Power Macs, enter the boot monitor (see the section called “Invoking OpenFirmware”) and use the command boot enet:0. PReP and CHRP boxes may have different ways of addressing the network. On a PReP machine, you should try boot net:server_ipaddr,file,client_ipaddr. On some PReP systems (e.g. Motorola PowerStack machines) the command help boot may give a description of syntax and available options.

PowerPC Boot Parameters

Many older Apple monitors used a 640x480 67Hz mode. If your video appears skewed on an older Apple monitor, try appending the boot argument video=atyfb:vmode:6 , which will select that mode for most Mach64 and Rage video hardware. For Rage 128 hardware, this changes to video=aty128fb:vmode:6 .