Welcome to Mandrake Linux for PowerPC

Mandrakesoft is proud to be able to offer the Mandrake Linux distribution on PowerPC. Just like our Intel version, Mandrake Linux offers ease of install and use, ideal for both the new Linux user and for more experienced users too.

System requirements:

Mandrake Linux PPC has been tested on the iMac, iBook, and Powerbook, and should be suitable for any of the "New World" Apple machines. To fully enjoy your Linux experience, at least 96MB of Ram is advised, along with 2GB of free disk space.. Mandrake PPC supports the integrated, SCSI, USB, sound, network, video and modem cards found in most current Apple machines, as well as a host of third party hardware.

Preparing your system:

Mandrake Linux PPC can coexist with MacOS, and MacOSX. The yaboot bootloader will allow you to select any of the above OS's at boot, as well as setup a default OS for automatic startup. You will need either a spare disk drive with an Apple partition map setup, or free up some addtitional space on your existing hard drive. For best results, keep the Apple OS(s) at the beginning of the drive, allocating free space at the end of the drive for Linux. If you need to free up space on your existing drive and you have access to Norton Utilities and Hard Drive Toolkit, you can optimize your drive with Norton Speed Disk for disk resizing, moving all the data to the beginning of the drive and then use Hard Disk Toolkit to split the drive. This free partition should not be formatted but left as "Apple Free". Alternately, MacOS offers Drive Setup as a tool to repartition the drive, but all of your existing data will not be preserved. As always, be sure to make backups of any important data/settings before using any tool on your hard drive. You can also download a MacOS version of the Linux PPC disk partitioning tool, pdisk, from:


If you should have to do a destructive re-partition, you can safely re-install MacOS before the Mandrake Linux install, to insure that the Drakx installer will detect and setup your MacOS partition(s) for booting. Below is a screen shot of pdisk on an iMac, setup with a 2.3GB partition for MacOS (hda5), a 1MB bootstrap partition on hda6, and hda7, 8, and 9 used for Linux "/", swap and "/home".


If you are unfamiliar with names such as hda5, this is how Linux names the disk partitions. "hda" means the first IDE hard-drive, where the 2nd would be named "hdb". Likewise SCSI drives are name sda, sdb and so forth. Finally, the trailing number is the actual partition number on the disk.

Installing Mandrake Linux PPC:

Insert the first Mandrake Linux PPC CD in your CDROM drive and hold down the "C" key while booting the system. (Alternately, you can configure for net booting from another machine on the network - see "Net Boot" below.) You should be presented with:

Welcome to Mandrake Linux PPC!

If you press "TAB", you'll see a number of options that can be used with the installer, optimized for the various video configurations used in Apple machines. Just pressing enter will use the most basic "novideo", framebuffer Apple display mode, which should be appropriate for many machines. If none of the graphical install methods work for your machine, there is also a text-based installer available. The "rescue" option can be used to access your Mandrake Linux PPC system, in the event that you are unable to boot into the system at some later date. This rescue image contains some core applications that may allow you to recover your system.

install-novideo Basic, framebuffer video support (graphical install).
install-atyfb Support for ATI,Mach64 based cards (graphical install).
install-aty128fb Support for ATI,Mach128 based cards (graphicalinstall).
install-text Text based install
install-net NetBoot install (graphical install)
install-net-text NetBoot install.
rescue Text based rescue mode.
rescue-net NetBoot Text based rescue mode.

Net Boot Setup (You can skip this if you are using a CD):

The iMac and possibly some other machines allow for netbooting the OS from another machine. This opens a number of possibilities for diskless clients and other fun things, but it can also be used to kick-off an install without burning a CD. To do this you'll need to setup a dhcpd daemon or bootp daemon on your server, as well as tftpd.

tftpd daemon:

/etc/inetd.conf should have the following line enabled:
tftp    dgram   udp     wait    root    /usr/sbin/tcpd  in.tftpd
/etc/hosts.allow should be opened up for tftp on your local network:
in.tftpd:  192.168.192.
If you have to change these, be sure to stop/start inetd:
/etc/rc.d/init.d/inet restart
The default directory is /tftpboot. Put all the files in the Linux Mandrake PPC boot directory (except README) here:
bash-2.03$ ls -l /tftpboot/

-rw-r--r--   1 root     root      1243868 May 22 17:16 all.gz
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root      2455573 May 22 17:16 vmlinux
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root        58556 May 22 17:16 yaboot
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root         1396 May 22 17:20 yaboot.conf
dhcpd daemon:

For the dhcpd setup, you'll need the MAC address of your machine. In MacOS you can find this by going into the TCP/IP setup. If you're already running Linux on the machine try:
[stew@powerbook linux]$ dmesg | grep eth0
eth0: BMAC+ at 00:50:e4:b9:07:70
The series of hex numbers seperated by colons is the MAC address of the ethernet adapater. Now you need to setup /etc/dhcpd.conf:
default-lease-time            21600;
max-lease-time                21600;

option subnet-mask  ;
option broadcast-address;
option routers      ;
option domain-name-servers;
option domain-name            "ays.net";

shared-network WORKSTATIONS {
    subnet netmask {

group   {
    use-host-decl-names       on;
    host imac {
        hardware ethernet     00:05:02:6B:45:29;
        filename              "/tftpboot/yaboot";
Then start or restart dhcpd:
/etc/rc.d/init.d/dhcpd start
If the server starts up normally, you should see something like this in /var/log.messages:
May 22 17:19:06 moe dhcpd: Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 The Internet Software Consortium.
May 22 17:19:06 moe dhcpd: All rights reserved.
May 22 17:19:06 moe dhcpd: Listening on Socket/eth0/WORKSTATIONS
May 22 17:19:06 moe dhcpd: Sending on   Socket/eth0/WORKSTATIONS
May 22 17:19:06 moe dhcpd: dhcpd startup succeeded
That should be it. Instead of holding down the "C" key on the Apple machine, use the "N" key and you should see the Mandrake Linux PPC boot prompt.

Continue The Install:

Once you've initiated the install, the Drakx installer should run and you'll be prompted through a series of questions designed to assist you in configuring your system. If you are new to Linux, you should probably choose the "recommended" install, which will configure things based on your hardware and common settings applicable to the majority of Linux users. If you are already a "power" Linux user and want to fine tune things, you can use the "expert" install.

Because many Macintosh machines have only a one button mouse, and XFree, the Linux GUI, really needs three buttons to be fully productive, the Drakx installer will prompt you for which keys you would like to use to emulate the second and third mouse buttons. If you have a three button mouse, the actual buttons will still be used, and you can set the emulation to "None | None", or use the emulation too.

The Drakx installer will attempt to allocate a 1MB partition as an "Apple Bootstrap" partition. This partition should not be visible from MacOS, but is configured as a "blessed" boot partitiion that the Apple Open Firmware will see as the boot device, allowing you to boot either Linux or MacOS. Some users find this a good place to keep an emergency backup Linux kernel too.

Once you've setup your partitions, the Drakx installer allows you pick from the over 1000 software packages available with Mandrake Linux PPC. Drakx will automatically any additional packages that your selections may be dependant on.

Once the install finishes you will be prompted to setup a password for the "root" user. In Linux, the "root" user has full control over the system, and can also do the most damage. For normal, day-to-day use, you will want to setup a second "user" account, as well additional accounts for any friends or family members that may be going to use your system. If the machine is going to be utilized as a server, setup accounts for whomever may need direct access to the machine. Users can also be added anytime after the install.

Once you've setup your users, the Drakx installer will assist you in setting up your network and/or internet connection, and then present you with a final list of detected/configured hardware. Should you wish to make any changes, you may do so at this time.

The next step is the bootloader setup. The Drakx installer should detect and setup at least one MacOS partition if it is available on your machine. If for some reason it doesn't, or you wish to add additional OS versions, use the "Add" button and specify the operating system and partition number.

As you may have noted from the pdisk screen shot above, the Apple partition table has a number of small partitions, generally at the beginning of the disk that are used by MacOS for drivers. These should be left alone. Another item to note is that the partition table itself uses the first partition, so your operating system will always reside on partition table 2 or higher.

After the bootloader information is written to the bootstrap partition, you'll see a prompt describing a possible Open Firmware routine you'll need to use in the event that Open Firmware fails to recognize the "bootstrap" partition. Jot this command down, and should Linux or MacOS fail to boot, boot into Open Firmware by pressing the "Command-Option-O-F" keys after the boot chime, and type:

setenv boot-device hd:X,\\:tbxi
Where "X" will be the partition number of the bootstrap partition. (If you aren't familar with these special Apple keys, Command = the "apple" or "cloverleaf" graphic key on the lower row of keys. The Option key may alternately be labelled "Alt"). If something should go wrong and you are unable to boot either operating system, you can press "Command-Option-P-R" after the boot chime. You should hear an additional chime and this should reset the system PRAM to the factory defaults.

Finally, you'll setup XFree, the Linux graphical user interface (GUI). The Drakx installer should detect and configure XFree for your video hardware, as well as give you some options to fine-tune the setup. Generally you'll want to select as high of screen resolution (width x height) that your hardware supports, and either 15 or 24bpp color. You also have the option to use Xpmac, which is a simple framebuffer driver that is used by the Mandrake Linux PPC installer. Although the installer offers the option of testing the configuration, it is best at this time to just make the settings and not try to test them.

Up and Running:

That's it, the system should reboot and you'll be presented first with a prompt to choose your OS, if you select "L" for Linux, you'll see the yaboot prompt. Press enter or wait for the timeout and you should see a graphical login screen for Mandrake Linux PPC. If you should have any questions, problems, or suggestions for improvement, subscribe to the cooker-ppc list, and we'll do our best to help out.


As always, thanks for trying Mandrake Linux. Our goal is to have to best and easiest to use Linux distribution, on all hardware platforms. With your feedback, we'll continue to improve and enhance and make Mandrake Linux PPC the best of class for the PowerPC processor.

Misc Notes:

Wallstreet Powerbook - try video=atyfb:vmode:14