Ubuntu on Mac Mini PowerPC

The other day, I got an old Mac Mini PowerPC from 2005. And I decided to install Linux on it instead of using an old version of Mac OSX. Fun, ins’t it?

The first thing I did was to download the ISO image of the last version of Ubuntu and burn it on CD. But unfortunately, I discovered that the CD player wasn’t working anymore. 😐
I then tried to put Ubuntu on a USB key and boot on it. But it didn’t work either… This machine didn’t seem to be able to boot from a USB stick.

So how am I going to install Linux without a CD player and USB?
FireWire? Maybe, but I don’t have anything on FireWire.
The answer is netboot! 😀 Indeed, my last chance was to install it via netboot.

Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Install tftp on another Linux machine in your local network
  2. Configure tftp. Please find below the configuration file I used:
    # ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/software/network/tftp/
    service tftp
           flags            = REUSE
           socket_type      = dgram
           protocol         = udp
           instances        = 30
           wait             = yes
           user             = root
           server           = /opt/sbin/in.tftpd
           server_args      = -s /mnt/tftpboot
           cps              = 100 2
           log_on_success   = HOST PID
           log_on_failure   = HOST
           disable          = no
  3. Put the Ubuntu files in the folder /mnt/tftpboot (in my case). I copied the files of the last version of Ubuntu “Quantal”: http://ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports/dists/quantal/main/installer-powerpc/current/images/powerpc/netboot/
  4. Reboot the Mac Mini and enter the Open Firmware by holding “Option”+”Command”+”o”+”f”
  5. Type the following command to start the install:
    boot enet:,yaboot

    With the IP address of the machine where tftp is installed.

  6. Follow the Ubuntu installation steps and enjoy! 🙂

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