Tag Archives: linux

Triple-booting a Clamshell iBook

I have a first-generation Clamshell iBook, manufactured in January 2000. These shipped with 64 MB of on-board RAM, a 6 GB hard drive and a CD drive.
I got it in summer 2005 when my high school decommissioned these computers. Running Mac OS X 10.3.9 at the time, it was still a very usable computer, especially after I upgraded the RAM to 320 MB. I used it as my main computer for a year and a half, until I replaced it with a new Intel-based Mac.

Now, in 2016, I found a 40 GB IDE laptop hard drive and decided to put that into the Clamshell and try to make it usable again.
As usual, iFixit has a good tutorial. You have to take the entire machine apart and end up with around 50 screws, but it’s surprisingly easy. You only need a Torx T8, a Philips #1 and a 5mm nut driver.
Now, on to putting some operating systems on the hard drive.

Installing Mac OS X 10.4

Here is what you need:

  • Mac OS X 10.4 retail install DVD
  • Mac OS X 10.3 retail install CD (the first one is sufficient). Any other bootable Mac OS X 10.3 CD might also work.
  • USB hard drive

Officially, Tiger is only supported on the latest revision of the Clamshell iBook, which has FireWire and a DVD drive. Mine only has a CD drive and does not support USB booting, which makes things exceedingly difficult.

  1. Take an image of the 10.4 install DVD and save it onto the USB hard drive using a different Mac.
  2. Boot the Clamshell off the 10.3 install CD
  3. Open up Disk Utility. Partition the disk with the following sizes and names: 16 MB linux-boot, 2 GB linux-swap, 12 GB linux, 20 GB Macintosh HD, 6 GB Install. Make sure to select the Install OS 9 drivers checkbox.
  4. Plug in the USB hard drive.
  5. Clone the 10.4 install image onto the Install partition on the internal drive.
  6. Open a Terminal and bless the hard drive: bless --folder "/Volumes/Install/System/Library/CoreServices" --bootinfo "/Volumes/Install/usr/standalone/ppc/bootx.bootinfo".
  7. Using the Terminal, pico /Volumes/Install/System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg/Contents/OSInstall.dist and remove the PowerBook2,1 from the badMachines list.
  8. Open Startup Disk and set the iBook to boot from the Install partition.
  9. Reboot
  10. Install 10.4 onto the Macintosh HD partition, deselecting all printer drivers and languages you don’t need in order to save some space.
  11. After the reboot, run Software Update a few times.

Installing Mac OS 9.2.2

Here is what you need:

Mac OS 9 is really easy to install, you just copy it to the hard drive.

  1. Mount the CD or image and copy System Folder and Applications (Mac OS 9) from the root directory to your Macintosh HD.
  2. Open the Startup Disk preference pane and select Mac OS 9.2.2.
  3. Reboot.
  4. If you used the NetBoot image, you will be asked for user name and password. Use NBUser and netboot.
  5. In order to disable the password prompt, go to the hard drive, System Folder and move the contents of Control Panels disabled to Control Panels. Now open the Multiple Users control panel, go to options and set it to local authentication. Then, disable multiple users entirely.
  6. Download and install QuickTime 6.0.3 for Mac.
  7. Open the Startup Disk control panel and select Mac OS 10.4.
  8. After the reboot, open the Classic preference pane and select the system folder on Macintosh HD.

Now you can use Classic and you can also do a native boot.

Installing Debian Linux 8 “Jessie”

Mac OS 9.2.2 hasn’t received updates in almost 15 years, and Mac OS X 10.4 is also 7 years beyond its update cycle. So how about a current operating system?

Here is what you need:

Except for the partitioning, the installation is quite straight-forward.

  1. Insert the CD and boot it by holding the C key while turning on the computer.
  2. Proceed through the installer.
  3. When asked for the partitioning, set the 16 MB partition to be NewWorld Boot and set the bootable flag. Set the 2 GB partition to be swap. Set the 12 GB partition to be ext3 and mounted at /.
  4. When asked for the packages to install, choose the Xfce desktop. It’s lightweight enough to run on this old hardware.
  5. After rebooting, run nano /etc/apt/sources.list and add the non-free repository to all entries in the file. Then, install the AirPort firmware: apt-get install linux-firmware-nonfree.

The resulting Debian install mostly worked for me, except for two things:

  • the AirPort card does not show up in NetworkManager
  • Fonts are a bit messed up. Bitmaps are drawn to the screen just fine.

I’m still looking for solutions to these two things.

Configuring the yaboot bootloader

Right now, your computer will boot into Linux all the time.
While the yaboot loader prompts you to hit x to boot into Mac OS X and m to boot into Mac OS 9, that doesn’t work as expected.
Instead of booting into Mac OS X, my iBook booted into the install partition.
And instead of booting into Mac OS 9, my iBook booted into Mac OS X.

So run nano /etc/yaboot.conf and adjust the macosx= line so that it refers to the same partition as the macos9= line. Exit the editor and run ybin -v to apply the changes. That fixes the first problem.

Now, reboot into Mac OS X and open the Startup Disk preference pane. Select Mac OS 9.2.2 and reboot.
While rebooting, hold down the option key and select the Linux partition at the boot picker.
Run nano /etc/yaboot.conf again and add brokenosx to a new line. Once more, run ybin -v.

Now, each boot loader entry does what you’d expect. The trick here is that brokenosx causes yaboot to directly load the Mac OS X booter for the macosx= entry. The macos= entry, on the other hand, will still cause the blessed system folder to be booted.

Fixing Mac OS 9 after installing Linux

One problem is still there: When you try to boot Mac OS 9, you are greeted by a blinking floppy with a question mark. This happens because the Debian partitioner destroys the Mac OS 9 drivers for the HFS+ partitions. However, the drivers can be reinstalled.

You need:

  • Mac OS 9 install CD. Any other bootable Mac OS 9 CD might also work.


  1. Insert the CD and reboot the iBook while holding down the C key.
  2. Open Drive Setup, highlight the internal hard drive, go to the Functions menu and click Update Drivers.
  3. Reboot

Resetting the Startup Disk

Whenever you touch the Startup Disk preference pane in Mac OS X or the Startup Disk control panel in Mac OS 9, your system will no longer show the yaboot prompt when you turn it on. To fix that, do the following:

  1. Hold down the option key while booting and select the Linux partition
  2. Run ybin -v

Fixing Linux problems

http://ppcluddite.blogspot.de/2012/03/installing-debian-linux-on-ppc-part-iv.html is an excellent article that explains how to fix most issues that Debian has on PowerPC. For example, to fix the font rendering troubles, create an xorg.conf file (switch to a text terminal, run init 3, Xorg -configure, cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf) and insert Option "RenderAccel" "false" into its Device section.

Fixing OpenMPI over InfiniBand on Rocks Cluster Linux

We recently got a new small compute cluster at the university, running Rocks Clusters Linux 6.1.1, a CentOS 6 derivative. The nodes are interconnected via an InfiniBand network. Unfortunately, the default configuration of OpenMPI 1.6.2 in the HPC roll wastes a significant amount of performance: it communicates using TCP, which is run over a load-balanced combination of IP over InfiniBand and IP over Ethernet.

Switching to DMA over InfiniBand is simple: just run the following command on all compute nodes and the head node:

sed -i 's/add rocks-openmpi/add rocks-openmpi_ib/g' /etc/profile.d/rocks-hpc.*sh

Now however, you get a message like this when you run an MPI job:

WARNING: It appears that your OpenFabrics subsystem is configured to only
allow registering part of your physical memory.  This can cause MPI jobs to
run with erratic performance, hang, and/or crash.

This may be caused by your OpenFabrics vendor limiting the amount of
physical memory that can be registered.  You should investigate the
relevant Linux kernel module parameters that control how much physical
memory can be registered, and increase them to allow registering all
physical memory on your machine.

See this Open MPI FAQ item for more information on these Linux kernel module


  Local host:              bee.icp.uni-stuttgart.de
  Registerable memory:     32768 MiB
  Total memory:            130967 MiB

Your MPI job will continue, but may be behave poorly and/or hang.

To fix that, run

echo "options mlx4_core log_num_mtt=24" >> /etc/modprobe.d/mlx4.conf

on all nodes and reboot. log_mtts_per_seg defaulted to 3 on our kernel and did not need tweaking. To check your current values, run

grep . /sys/module/mlx4_core/parameters/*mtt*

One warning message that still comes up when running an MPI job is the following:

WARNING: Failed to open "OpenIB-cma-1" [DAT_INVALID_ADDRESS:]. 
This may be a real error or it may be an invalid entry in the uDAPL
Registry which is contained in the dat.conf file. Contact your local
System Administrator to confirm the availability of the interfaces in
the dat.conf file.
bee.icp.uni-stuttgart.de:30104:  open_hca: getaddr_netdev ERROR: No such device. Is ib1 configured?
bee.icp.uni-stuttgart.de:30104:  open_hca: device mthca0 not found
bee.icp.uni-stuttgart.de:30104:  open_hca: device mthca0 not found
DAT: library load failure: libdaplscm.so.2: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
DAT: library load failure: libdaplscm.so.2: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

As UDAPL is removed in newer OpenMPI versions anyway, this is fixed by running

echo "btl = ^udapl" >> /opt/openmpi/etc/openmpi-mca-params.conf

on all compute nodes and the head node.

So all in all, you can simply add the following lines to /export/rocks/install/site-profiles/6.1.1/nodes/extend-compute.xml and rebuild your compute node image:

echo "btl = ^udapl" >> /opt/openmpi/etc/openmpi-mca-params.conf
sed -i 's/add rocks-openmpi/add rocks-openmpi_ib/g' /etc/profile.d/rocks-hpc.*sh
echo "options mlx4_core log_num_mtt=24" >> /etc/modprobe.d/mlx4.conf
dracut -f 2.6.32-504.16.2.el6.x86_64 # may need to rebuild the initrd so it picks up the modprobe parameters

CUPS-to-CUPS printing with server-side processing and page_log

Printer sharing on Windows is easy: the client receives the driver from the server, presents the driver GUI and passes on an intermediate format along with the options selected in the driver to the server, which then renders the print job for the printer (usually into PostScript).

In the Unix (Mac OS X in my case, but Linux would be the same) world, CUPS is commonly used for printing. It’s very powerful, but I find the documentation severely lacks details about the exact way something is implemented in the code. Luckily, the code is open-source and Michael Sweet, the developer of CUPS who now works at Apple and still maintains CUPS, managed to create a very structured piece of software with code that’s reasonably easy to understand.

If you just add a CUPS server’s print queue as a new printer on a CUPS client, it will work fine, but you might run into some inconveniences:


  1. The job might get run through a vendor-supplied filter twice, once on the server and once on the client. This usually works fine, but the print job might significantly increase in size (observed on an HP LaserJet).

  2. The page_log on the server might not contain the number of pages and copies a job consisted of and list 1 for both instead.

  3. The page_log on the server might not contain things like page format, duplex status or attributes you manually added to PrintLogFormat.


  1. This happens if the PPD both on the client and on the server contains a line starting with *cupsFilter, which links to a vendor-supplied filter. Such a filter usually produces a MIME type of application/postscript.

  2. This happens if the job does not get run through the pstops filter by CUPS. CUPS bypasses that filter if the client submits the job with a MIME type of application/vnd.cups-postscript, i.e. it was already run through pstops on the client.

  3. This is either caused by the same things as (1) or (2), but I’m not sure which one.


Simply add the following lines to the PPD on the client. That way, it passes the job straight to the server for server-side processing.

*cupsFilter: "application/pdf 0 -"
*cupsFilter: "image/* 0 -"
*cupsFilter: "application/postscript 0 -"
*cupsFilter: "application/vnd.cups-postscript 0 -"
*cupsFilter: "application/vnd.cups-command 0 -"

By the way, if you use Mac OS X and let the “Add Printer” wizard automatically add a print queue from a remote CUPS server discovered via Bonjour, this is exactly what it does.


If you append something like %{SelectColor} to your PageLogFormat because that’s the attribute your printer uses to determine whether it should print in color or grayscale and you’d like to log that, please note that the default value (either as specified by the PPD or as specified by you via lpadmin -d printername -d SelectColor=Grayscale or via the CUPS web interface’s “Set Printer Defaults”) will never be written to the page_log. Only deviations from the default value will be logged. The defaults set on the server-side CUPS do not matter here, this is determined by the client-side CUPS.

Per the filter(7) documentation (italic comments were added by me):

Options passed on the command-line typically do not include the default choices the printer’s PPD file. […] use the ppdMarkDefaults [which sets all options to the defaults specified inside the PPD] and cupsMarkOptions [which sets the options to the values specified in the driver GUI] functions in the CUPS library to use the correct mapping, and ppdFindMarkedChoice [which reads from the options array composed from the defaults and the selected options] to get the user-selected choice.

Converting Xen Linux VMs to VMWare

A year ago I wrote about how to convert from Xen to VMWare (which is a similar process to a Xen virtual-to-physical or V2P conversion). Now I found a much simpler solution, thanks to http://www.zomo.co.uk/2012/04/moving-disks-from-xen-to-kvm/ .

In this example, I’m using LVM disks, but the process is no different from using Xen disk images.

  1. Install Debian Wheezy into a VMWare virtual machine. Attach a secondary virtual disk (it will be called /dev/sdc from now on) that’s sized about 500 MB larger than your Xen DomU (just to be safe). Fire up the VM. All subsequent commands will be run from inside that VM.
  2. Check whether your DomU disk has a partition table: ssh root@xen fdisk -l /dev/xenvg/4f89402b-8587-4139-8447-1da6d0571733.disk0. If it does, proceed to step 3. If it does not, proceed to step 4.
  3. Clone the Xen DomU onto the secondary virtual disk via SSH: ssh root@xen dd bs=1048576 if=/dev/xenvg/4f89402b-8587-4139-8447-1da6d0571733.disk0 | dd bs=1048576 of=/dev/sdc. Proceed to step 7.
  4. Zero out the beginning of the target disk: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdc bs=1048576 count=16
  5. Partition it and add a primary partition 8 MB into the disk: fdisk /dev/sdc, o Enter w Enter, fdisk /dev/sdc, n Enter p Enter 1 Enter 16384 Enter Enter, w Enter
  6. Clone the Xen DomU onto the secondary virtual disk’s first partition via SSH: ssh root@lara dd bs=1048576 if=/dev/xenvg/4f89402b-8587-4139-8447-1da6d0571733.disk0 | dd bs=1048576 of=/dev/sdc1
  7. reboot
  8. Mount the disk: mount -t ext3 /dev/sdc1 /mnt; cd /mnt
  9. Fix fstab: nano etc/fstab: change root disk from to /dev/sda1
  10. Fix the virtual console: nano etc/inittab: replace hvc0 with tty1
  11. Chroot into the disk: mount -t proc none /mnt/proc; mount -t sysfs none /mnt/sys; mount -o bind /dev /mnt/dev; chroot /mnt /bin/bash
  12. Fix mtab so the Grub installer works: grep -v rootfs /proc/mounts > /etc/mtab
  13. Install Grub: apt-get install grub2. When the installer asks to which disks to install, deselect all disks.
  14. Install Grub to MBR: grub-install –force /dev/sdc
  15. Update Grub configuration: update-grub
  16. Leave the chroot: exit; umount /mnt/* /mnt
  17. shutdown

Now you can detach the secondary virtual disk and create a new VM with it. If everything worked correctly, it will boot up.