Things to do on a Friday night
2 minutes read

(when your wife/SO is not around)

  • Finally get around to play with the PowerPC you have had standing besides your desk for about a month.
  • Discover that it still doesn’t boot, since it can’t find its hard drive. Also discover that it doesn’t want to talk to your USB keyboard.
  • After a while, think of removing and replugging the SAS connectors, which fixes the boot problem. The machine now runs YDL.
  • Decide you want to install Debian instead of YDL, but also wonder how to do that safely since you still can’t talk to Open Firmware.
  • Search for the RJ45-to-serial adapter you got with the box. Discover you probably wired it wrongly the first time around. Break it when you try to rewire it.
  • Find that spare DB9 connector you had lying about, find soldering iron and fix up the connector.
  • Become very, very confused, since you get perfect output, but input still doesn’t work. Discover you managed to solder all the connections mirrored. It worked with effectively just one wire, not even shared ground. Resolder.
  • Download Debian ISO, burn it on a DVD. Get annoyed at the machine for failing to boot from the DVD.
  • Set up netboot, boot from network.
  • Discover d-i doesn’t install a kernel, nor a bootloader, do that by hand.
  • Oops, bootloader didn’t work. Iterate a couple of times of running mkofboot until it suddenly feels like booting from the hard drive.

Hurrah! And it only took like six or seven hours.

Notes for later: This is an YDL Powerstation, the magic mkofboot invocation is mkofboot -b /dev/sda1 --filesystem raw; the raw bit is needed for IBM hardware. The firmware also cares about whether the partition is marked as bootable or not, so make sure to mark it as such.

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