Welcome to the World of Linux 2.4 for NuBus Power Macs!

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[Project page at SF]

Linux/PPC has been ported to NuBus Power Macs since June 2000. The current range of hardware support is somewhat comparable to MkLinux/PPC. Some machines are better supported and some not so well.

Mailing List Info
IRC channel
Hardware Support Info
Supported Kernel Options
Latest Sources
Latest Kernels
Kernels with Installers
Boot Loaders
Other Optional Related Files
Useful Documents
Project Contact Info


January 26, 2006

Unfortunately we had provided a non-working miBoot ISO image regarding CD-based installations of Debian Sarge.
As of today there is a fixed miBoot ISO image available that was successfully used to install Debian Sarge 3.1r1 on a PowerBook 1400.
As always read the corresponding release notes since it contains invaluable information about the installation process.
Please join the mailing list and report your results. Good luck!

January 08, 2006

Tobias Netzel provided ready-made miBoot images (ISO and floppy) for easy installation of Debian Sarge a while ago.
See our files section and read the corresponding release notes.

December 15, 2005

BitKeeper repository (kernel 2.4.30-pre1) was imported into CVS.
CVS also contains a copy of the Debian kernel source 2.4.27-10 incl. nubus-related patches.
Watch out files section for new kernel images including G3 and MediaBay support.
If your PCMCIA cards didn't worked so far give those kernels a try.
Mailing list is also gated through Gmane now.

Older news...

Mailing List Info

New mailing list has been working on sourceforge.net since November 2004. Information can be found here. Here is the archive.

Also available through Gmane.
Point your favorite newsreader to news.gmane.org and subscribe to gmane.linux.ports.ppc.nubus-pmac.users

IRC channel

We provide a common place for information exchange related to NuBus-based PowerMac.
Direct your IRC client to channel #nubus-pmac on irc.bw-networx.net:6667.
Happy chatting :)

Hardware Support Info

Machines known to work (in some form however limited)
Supported Hardware
Hardware which may or may not work
Hardware known NOT to work

Supported nubus-pmac specific kernel options

Common Options for Video Drivers
specifies the font used on video console. Possible values depend on which fonts are available. VGA8x8, Acorn8x8, PEARL8x8, VGA8x16, and SUN8x16 are currently available (if compiled in).
specifies Apple Macintoshes compatible video modes found in include/video/macmodes.h.
Possible values for valkyriefb are 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 17.
For ariel2fb they are 2, 5, 6, 7, 13.
nbpmacfb does not support this option.
specifies color modes also found in include/video/macmodes.h.
Possible values for valkyriefb are 8, 16, and 32.
For ariel2fb they are 8 and 16.
nbpmacfb does not support this option.

ariel2fb specific Option
specifies bits/pixel. Possible values are 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 bits/pixel

For example,
tells valkyriefb driver to set console font to "Acorn8x8", vmode to 10 (800x600), and cmode to 16 bits/pixel.

Performa 5/6200 video is handled by valkyriefb, and Power Mac 6/7/8100's motherboard video (not PDS or NuBus video card) is handled by ariel2fb. All other video devices (PDS, NuBus video card or PowerBook video) are handled by nbpmacfb.

Other Misc. Options
prevents kernel from probing NuBus expansion card.
Some NuBus cards may cause the kernel to fail. If kernel booting stops at the message "arch: exit" try this option.
specifies the complete memory configuration. This option is only useful if kernel is loaded by BootX or miBoot. Both BootX and miBoot in some configurations fail to tell kernel the necessary information about machine's memory configuration, and this option is to workaround the booter problem. Only way to know what to specify with this option is to use Memory Command Reporter.
2nd level cache register setting. Especially useful for G3 upgrades.
WARNING! There is significant risk for hardware damage in using any l2cr value that did not come from your own machine.
So please try to use one of those MacOS G3 utilities to find out a correct value for your G3 upgrade:
G3/G4 cache profiler
Daystar tool
PowerLogix tool

You may also want to look up your l2cr value in /proc/sys/kernel/l2cr if you are able to boot Linux.

Latest Kernel Sources

Before making your own kernel configuration changes, you might want to try a sample config file (just do "make nubus_config").

We moved Linux kernel sources to SourceForge CVS.
Please view the corresponding pages.

A not any longer updated kernel source tree may be retrieved via BitKeeper repository.
# Retrieve linuxppc-2.4-nubus tree
$ bk clone bk://nubus-pmac.bkbits.net/linuxppc-2.4-nubus <directory>
$ cd <directory>
$ bk -r co

# Update an existing tree
$ bk pull

Latest Kernel Binaries

Please visit the files section for the very latest kernel binaries.

Older kernels:

Stable Kernel (2.4.27) with input driver enabled (Required for Debian Woody and YDL 2.x, 3.0) [ http ] (updated August 11, 2004) for use with BootX

Stable Kernel (2.4.27) with input driver enabled (Required for Debian Woody and YDL 2.x, 3.0) [ http ] (updated August 11, 2004) for use with Apple MkLinux Booter

Kernels with Installers

For installation of Debian Sarge (v3.1) it is suggested to use a ready-made miboot ISO image by Tobias Netzel.
See our files section.

For use with Apple MkLinux Booter

Kernel with YellowDogLinux 3.0 installer [ http ] (updated June 23, 2003)

Kernel with YellowDogLinux 2.3 installer [ http ] (updated October 29, 2002)

Kernel with Debian Woody installer (outdated) [ http ] (updated October 29, 2002)

For information on Debian installation, please visit Installation notes for Woody on Nubus PowerPC 8100/80 maintained by Clive Menzies.

For older kernels with installers, see older kernels page.

Boot Loaders

A modified version of BootX_1.2b1 [ http ] provided by Ludovic [This does not work with HPV video card.]

BootX_1.1.3 [ http ] [This works only with HPV video card.]

A modified version of miBoot 1.0a3 [ http ] provided by Jeff Carr of LinuxPPC Inc. [This works with HPV and AV video card.]

A modified version of miBoot 1.0a3 [ http ] by Etsushi Kato. [This also works with PDM motherboard video.]

Apple MkLinux Booter [ http ] [This works on all supported machines.]

Steps on installing kernels to be used with Apple MkLinux Booter:
  1. Place an uncompressed kernel image MachKernel-... to Extensions folder (or equivalent) inside System Folder.
  2. Rename the kernel image MachKernel-... to "mach kernel" (without the double quotes).
  3. Optionally, you may want to invoke MkLinux control panel in order to change kernel options or root device.
  4. Restart your machine.

Other Optional Related Files

pmud RPM [ http ] for use with PowerBook

pmud SRPM [ http ] for use with PowerBook

Memory command line reporter [ http ] (updated May 29, 2001)

This is an application which prints out a proper memory configuration option "nubus_simm=" for BootX. Kernel depends on boot loader to report correct memory configuration, and BootX fails to do so in many configurations.

To use this application,

  1. Install Apple MkLinux Booter
  2. Put an uncompressed mem_cmd_reporter-... to Extensions folder (or equivalent) inside System Folder.
  3. Rename mem_cmd_reporter-... to "mach kernel" (without the double quotes).
  4. Restart your machine.
  5. When Apple MkLinux Booter comes up, press "MkLinux" button.

Useful Documents

Release notes for installing Debian using miBoot-ISO
Mailing list thread about proper X11 setup for PowerBooks
Installing Debian 3.0 (woody) on a Powerbook 1400 by icedtrip (Outdated method)
Installing Linux on Power Mac 6100 by Michael Roeder
Linux kernel 2.4.19 for the Nubus PowerMac 6100/60 by Jorg Prante

These documents seem to be gone (replaced with content from archive.org):

Debian/Potato Install Guide by Greg Ingram
HOWTO - Nubus Power Macintoshes as LTSP Clients by Skip Gaede
Instalando Debian 3.0r0 en un equipo Apple Performa 6200CD (NuBus). by Carlos Moguel
A small collection of notes... by Dylan Beaudette
Installation notes for Woody on Nubus PowerPC 8100/80 by Clive Menzies

Project Contact Info

Please send any comments/questions to admin team or mailing list. You may also want to join our IRC channel.

Last updated on August 15, 2007

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