Installing Debian on a PowerPC eMac
Though Debian no longer officially supports 32-bit PowerPC, it is still unofficially supported via ports.debian.org.
Unfortunately, the unofficial install cd doesn't support the yaboot boot loader, which means you can't complete the installation.
However, a working install CD for Debian 8 (Jessie) is still available for PowerPC, so we can first install Debian 8, then upgrade to the unstable powerpc port.
I used the netinst CD. Note that the package mirror selection step will fail (Debian 8 packages have been moved to archive.debian.org, which breaks the installer). When this happens, select "Go Back" and "Proceed without selecting a package mirror" (not sure of the exact wording there). The install will proceed normally, but you will only have access to the packages on the install cd.
After rebooting, edit
/etc/apt/sources.list to use
deb http://ftp.ports.debian.org/debian-ports main
apt-get update and
apt-get dist-upgrade. You will be prompted about not being able to verify many packages.
We will fix tis momentarily.
When the upgrade has finished, reboot.
The console hangs at "fb0: switching to nouveaufb from OFfb"
My eMac has an nVidia Geforce 2 MX graphics card, and it appears modern kernels cause the framebuffer to stop updating when the nouveaufb driver is used.
However, the terminal is actually still working: it is just that the framebuffer is no longer updating.
Wait a moment to ensure you system has finished booting, then (blindly) log in as root and reboot:
root <your password> reboot
When the system reboots, interrupt it at the yaboot prompt and issue a custom boot command:
When the system finished booting, disable the nouveau framebuffer in order to avoid screen lock-up. Edit
/etc/yaboot.conf. Insert a new (indented) config to the main
For example, if your yaboot.conf looks like this:
image=/boot/vmlinux label=Linux read-only restricted
Edit it to look like this:
image=/boot/vmlinux label=Linux append=nomodeset read-only restricted
ybin to deploy your config change to the boot partition, then reboot to test.
apt-get complains about not being able to verify packages
This happens because debian-ports uses a different keyring.
apt-get install debian-ports-archive-keyring should fix this issue.
So, no X11 then?
Sorry, I haven't figured out how to get this working yet :(