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Totally stumped: PowerBook G4 Titanium DVI won't boot Linux.
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musicman
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:59 am    Post subject: Totally stumped: PowerBook G4 Titanium DVI won't boot Linux. Reply with quote

Hello,

A while ago, I posted to these forums a problem I was having. My PowerBook absolutely will not boot Linux. I had been using Gentoo on this PowerBook for over a year, and this problem started around the time I upgraded to Mac OS 10.4. I was trying to be able to use Mac-on-Linux, which didn't support 10.4, but I tried anyway by emerging an unstable package (or maybe I even added a keyword to a totally masked ebuild). The moment I tried to use it and the mol module loaded (I assume), my computer totally froze. It booted into Linux once more after that, but then no more.

The symptoms:

  • The YaBoot bootloader stopped working.
  • I was no longer able to access my ext3 partition under Mac OS.
  • I could not start up from any CD-ROM with Linux on it. If I started the machine while holding down option, I would get a list and my Linux partition and the CD appeared as they should, with penguin icons, but when I chose the CD and clicked the continue button, the screen blanked momentarily and then I got the same boot disk chooser, except with a white mouse pointer and distorted buttons outlined in white (I can post pictures somewhere if necessary).


So various people tried to help, having me reset all sorts of pram, nvram, and defaults, and boot into open firmware and post gobs of device tree listings. It did no good. Everyone was stumped, but the assumption was that it was some sort of logic board firmware problem. I assumed that if I got a different logic board, my problems would be solved. I recently got one on eBay (same model, same clock speed), and it did no good. I still have the same problems. Now, unless the new logic board has the same obscure issue as my original logic board, I can rule out the logic board. I also realized that it could be a problem with my SuperDrive (not OEM), since it's been a little flaky lately. I attached an external optical drive via USB and tried to boot from a Gentoo LiveCD, and symptom #3 happened.

Where does that leave me? It's not a logic board problem, and it's not a CD drive problem. What else could it possibly be? Here's a list of the remaining components: DC-in board, modem filter, modem, inverter, RAM, airport card, hard drive, PC card cage, fan, display, latch, PRAM battery. I can rule most of them out as incapable of causing this problem.

Any ideas? I would be greatly appreciative if anyone could solve this puzzle.

I just realized it could be the RAM. I will try using only one module at a time and see if that fixes things.

EDIT: I just tested both RAM modules (one original, one Samsung), one at a time, each in both slots, and I got the same behavior. I'm about ready to give up and just buy a cheap used iBook G3.
Oh yeah. Here are my specs: G4 667 MHz DVI Titanium, SuperDrive (MCE), 80GB hdd, 512MB ram, airport, yadda yadda yadda.
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gentooken
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you tried booting to the cd from Open Firmware?
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musicman
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. If Mac OS is my default operating system, typing "boot cdrom" causes a grey screen with some writing on it to come up for an instant, but before I have a chance to read anything, I get a white screen, but instead of an apple logo (as if Mac OS were booting), I get a grey circle with a diagonal line through it (no smoking style). If my broken Gentoo installation is the default operating system (only the case if I reset the pram, as Mac OS Startup Disk control panel no longer recognizes it), after I type "boot cdrom," I get the usual broken behavior (which changed sometime between when it first broke and now) as if it were trying to start Gentoo from my hard drive .
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musicman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone have any ideas?
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JoseJX
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your old thread so we don't repeat ourselves:
https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-3280385.html

As I said before, if you can't list the contents of the disks with dir in OF, I'm not sure how OF is even booting them :p

I don't really have any new suggestions since that last thread, but have you tried completely cleaning off the disk and starting clean? Seems like you've tried just about everything else.
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musicman
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just tried a complete repartitioning (one single partition), reformatting, and reinstall of Mac OS 10.4. No luck. I get the same problem.
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JoseJX
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I'm really not sure. What I meant with wiping the drive was actually zeroing it out, but I still doubt that's the problem.

I still don't think MOL is the culprit here, there's nothing it could do that would be this permanent.
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davidgurvich
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What happens if you remove the hard drive and try to boot from cd ?
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musicman
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually just tried that. Didn't work. Next step I guess is taking out the airport card and trying to boot... or trying to find a different internal cd drive to boot from. Or replacing that weird little PRAM battery and attached board and see if that makes a difference. Do any of those sound like good ideas to anyone?

edit:
I tried detaching the PRAM battery altogether and booting, which didn't do any good, so maybe it's not the PRAM battery?
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davidgurvich
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you tried booting an Apple cd yet ?
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musicman
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. It will boot Apple CD's (OS 9 through OS X, I believe). It's interesting to note that the only Apple CD that it will not boot is the Apple Hardware Test CD that came with the laptop.
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musicman
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! I just found some posts on other forums about this issue.

From MacNN forums
http://forums.macnn.com/104/alternative-operating-systems/328062/cant-boot-off-non-os-x/

It seems that people start having this problem when they use non-Apple CD drives. It also seems that I never noticed that I could never boot from my new CD drive because I never had the occasion to; when Mac-On-Linux fried my Gentoo, I tried to boot up from the CD, realized I couldn't, and attributed it to MOL. Then, somehow, the CD drive screwed with the aliases, and thereafter I couldn't boot Linux at all.

I'm about to go try "boot hd:,\install\yaboot", or as close as I can find for booting from the CD drive of another PowerBook in target disk mode.

Wish me luck. If anyone has any advice of how to track down the OF name of a firewire boot disk, let me know. Thanks.

Quote:
I finally tracked down the cause of the problem. For me, somehow the aliases hd and cd got mixed up (and no amount of PRAM resetting fixed it..) and so "boot cd:,\install\yaboot" actually pointed to the master hard drive instead of to the cd drive, so I typed in "boot hd:,\install\yaboot" and it booted off the cd.

so, to anyone else with this problem, go to Open Firmware, and check "dir cd:\" and make sure it actually prints out the directory of the cd. If not, then you'll have to use its actual name.

I was able to install Ubuntu and get it working with just the hard drive I wanted it installed on hooked up. Now that I've got both of my drives in though, I'm running into the same problem. ...at least now I know what's going on though.

..oddly enough, it was the non-apple cd drive that I had to use for the boot disk. It wouldn't boot off the apple disk. I'm guessing this has something to do with the fact that the non-apple drive is Master.
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