OpenBSD on MacPPC

Feb 22, 2009

With my new job followed a gorgeous new MacBook. Slightly smaller screen than I was used to, but I'll probably survive (I'm tough like that). Mette Marie have inherited my MacBook Pro and is very happy with that too, so I now have a PowerBook G4, my first Mac ever, free for fun stuff.

So, what to do? Install OpenBSD of course!

It was my first foray into non-i386 hardware with OpenBSD, but as always the documentation is great.

The install itself was really easy, almost the same as on an i386 machine, except for a few differences. There's a FAT formatted “i” partition in the disklabel editor that must be kept intact, otherwise it's as straightforward as on i386 hardware.

At the first boot after the install I held down Command-Option-O-F to get to the Open Firmware prompt and issued the following commands (straight from the INSTALL.macppc document):

setenv auto-boot? true
setenv boot-device hd:,ofwboot
reset-all

After that the machine boots straight into OpenBSD every time. You can even use Open Firmware to dual boot with Mac OS X if you want, but that makes the disk setup much more complicated. It's documented how to do it though.

The plan is to let it take over from my old crappy converted settop box I use for gateway at home, using an old PCMCIA interface for the upstream connection.

I'm checking out sources on the machine now, and when it's fully patched up and I have the software on it I need, I'll redo my whole setup, the firewall rules are really old by now, and there are new features in pf I'd love to use. I hope I can make the switch next week-end.


Last edited: May 1, 2016


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