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A fix for blue and white G3 IDE problems (hda/hdc goofiness
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002
Posts: 216
Location: Seattle, WA USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:31 pm    Post subject: A fix for blue and white G3 IDE problems (hda/hdc goofiness Reply with quote

hi all.
just wanted to share this info, because I had one hell of a time tracking it down! I always search here first for gentoo related issues so I thought someday someone might find this and save the weekend of headache I just had!

I have an old beloved blue and white g3 powermac (yosemite) that has been sitting on the shelf for a while, I have been meaning to fire it up for a while but it wasn't a huge priority. I finally came up with the perfect idea for a project to do with it but I needed to install linux on it. I am a longtime diehard gentoo fan, but I have been studying for my RHCE lately, so I have been trying to expose myself to a little more of the torture that is RPMs. So I installed yellowdog on it. This went extremely smoothly, very impressive how easily it booted from the CD and installed.

Then I find out that I couldn't easily get mol and a couple of other packages to run so I figured I should go ahead and throw gentoo on the box. I downloaded the minimal install CD and burned it and found that it would not boot. I couldn't figure out why but it just wouldn't. I noticed the workaround in the PPC FAQ but that didn't help either. it was almost like the DVD drive was physically broken....

but the weird thing was that the yellowdog disc was working fine. I went ahead and installed gentoo from the yellowdog rescue mode (a few little things were tricky, but basically this works good), but then I couldn't get gentoo to boot at all. Then I broke my yaboot config somehow, but thats another story.

Finally got yaboot to at least let me boot to the CD or the gentoo system but the gentoo system would throw a kernel panic and claim that there was no viable root partition. I went and added a bunch of modules I thought might be related to the kernel and recompiled. I started to notice something really weird at this point. booting from the yellowdog disc the hard drive was /dev/hda and the DVD was /dev/hdc... however when booting from the gentoo install the DVD was /dev/hda and the hard drive didn't seem to be detected at all.

I finally found the solution in a mailing list archive here:

to quote a little in case the link goes dead someday:
I think I may have found the problem --> CMD646! It turns out that I
had not enabled support for the IDE interface in the kernel. The lspci
output was kind of obscure in helping me with this, but the dmesg of the
live CD gave me the clue!

to say that the lspci was obscure is the understatement of the year! I had been staring at that all weekend and missing it, the output of lspci claims that it is a silicon Image inc PCI0646 so I had silicon image chipsets enabled but NOT the CMD64X support (how the hell was I supposed to know?) :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

anyway, if you are having this problem you need to do something like this:

1. boot and then chroot into the gentoo environment as you do while installing gentoo in the first place. (don't forget to env-update and source /etc/profile if you need to)


cd /usr/src/linux
make menuconfig

3. look under device drivers then under ATA/IDE/blahblah support
enable the CMD64X support as a module or built in

4. recompile your kernel:

make && make modules_install

5. if ou have to update yaboot to point to the new kernel make SURE you:
ybin -v

My research to solve this problem shows that it may affect the oldworld G3s with IDE also! I just have no hardware to confirm it or not, and obviously disregard the part about yaboot if you are using bootx on an old beige machine!

feel free to repost this somewhere if you feel like it.

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Joined: 12 Oct 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Took me days to find the solution, and this CMD64X driver did solve it.

Just 1 thing:

The G3 starts up and finds the bootstrap on /dev/hdc2 so you have to point to /dev/hdc2 for the bootstrap.
Then, after it loads the kernel, as the CMD64X driver is loaded, the harddrive is /dev/hda
so you have to point to /dev/dha4 for your boot partition, as there is no hdc no more!!!!!!!
so yaboot.conf should look something like this:
etc etc

that how I got it to boot

in /etc/fstab you use hda
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