Haiku: A Journey

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Warning: following these instructions will not result in the successful installation of Haiku onto an iMac G3.

It’s my first morning as a technical writer, and I’m presented with a challenge: install Haiku on a Mac. And not just any Mac. An iMac G3: Bondi Blue; at least ten years old; and well past anything resembling its prime.

Anybody need a good working definition of ‘character building exercise’?

For those, like myself, who know little or nothing about Haiku (the operating system, not the poetic form), it is an open source operating system. Currently in active development, Haiku is designed to be compatible with BeOS.

To make things a little easier, I was given a CD with the Haiku bootloader on it and a link to instructions for installing Haiku using such a CD. Unfortunately, the iMac couldn’t read the CD. Instead it needed to download the file from another computer running a TFTP server. So I unplugged my laptop from the network and got to work.

Skimming through the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Installation Guide, it became clear: to set up a TFTP server, my laptop had to be the DHCP server for a new network. I followed the reference to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Deployment Guide and delved into the section on setting up a DHCP server.

One problem arose: the Deployment Guide has no installation step in its procedure for setting up a DHCP server. Configuration is covered, but it assumes the DHCP server package is already installed, which was not the case on my laptop. So I filed a bug report and began the hunt. After a number of frustrating dead ends, I resorted to Yum Extender (yumex), and found it by trawling through every package which mentioned DHCP in the package name or description.

The needed package was dhcp, by the way: sudo yum install dhcp and I was back on track.

Now that I had a DHCP server installed, I was ready to install the TFTP server. Or was I? According to Chapter 21.2, Configuring a DHCP server, I had to create a new file — /etc/dhcpd.conf — for it to all work. So I did. And it didn’t work. So I copied the sample file mentioned in Chapter 21.2 straight into the /etc/ directory. That didn’t work either. I tried multiple changes, including rewriting dhcpd.conf myself.

In the end, the solution was fairly simple. Between Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 alpha, the directory had moved. What had been /etc/dhcpd.conf was now /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf. So, with the new directory sorted out, the DHCP server was online. Success, yes? No.

After editing dhcpd.conf according to the instructions in Chapter 21.2.1, I checked to see if the TFTP packages were installed on my laptop. They weren’t. So I loaded yumex once again and searched for the packages required for the TFTP server. I installed those, and then used the chkconfig command to see if the TFTP server was configured to start automatically. It wasn’t. I entered the commands as per the Installation Guide, Chapter 34.4.1 to bring it online, and checked again. Everything was now up and running.

Next step was the bootloader file, which I copied to /var/lib/tftpboot/ on my TFTP server. Then I put the CD back into the iMac; checked the network cables; and tested to see if the iMac (which was at this point booting into Linux) had received an IP address from my laptop. It had, so I started to tick off the list. Step one; check. Step two; check. Step three; check. Step four; check.

Step five? It failed. So, I booted the iMac and gave the four-fingered salute, Command-Option-O-F. Rather than finding myself at an Open Firmware prompt, as expected, I watched the machine boot into Linux again. Incongrously enough, Open Firmware would not open. After numerous attempts, we detached the ancient keyboard and attached a brand-new one. It worked perfectly.

Step five? Check.

Two steps from success.

After booting to the Open Firmware prompt I typed in the boot command specified in the procedure and waited. And waited. And all I got back was load-size=0. Load-size too small? Too large I could have understood, though the openfirmware_boot_loader file is only 231 kB. This was, perhaps, the most perplexing hurdle. But it was overcome, like all the others, with a touch of simplicity. The firewall for the laptop was turned off, and after a moment’s hesitation, the iMac transferred the file across.

There it was. Ready to install. Except it still didn’t work.

Those of you who took a moment to read the step-by-step guide may have noticed the paragraph at the bottom of the page which notes the kernel for loading Haiku via a TFTP server is currently broken.

At the bottom of the page. After the installation instructions.

Hence the warning at the top of this page. It seemed the polite thing to do.

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2 Responses to “Haiku: A Journey”

  1. FOSS Docs: Haiku: A Journey | TuxWire : The Linux Blog Says:

    […] post:  FOSS Docs: Haiku: A Journey Share and […]

  2. Twitted by lisa_ritter Says:

    […] This post was Twitted by lisa_ritter […]

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