7.1. The Moment of Truth

Your system's first boot on its own power is what electrical engineers call the “smoke test”.

If the system fails to start up correctly, don't panic. If the installation was successful, chances are good that there is only a relatively minor problem that is preventing the system from booting Debian. In most cases such problems can be fixed without having to repeat the installation. One available option to fix boot problems is to use the installer's built-in rescue mode (see Section 8.7, “Recovering a Broken System”).

If you are new to Debian and Linux, you may need some help from more experienced users. For less common architectures like PowerPC, your best option is to ask on the debian-powerpc mailing list. You can also file an installation report as described in Section 5.4.6, “Submitting Installation Reports”. Please make sure that you describe your problem clearly and include any messages that are displayed and may help others to diagnose the issue.

7.1.1. OldWorld PowerMacs

If the machine fails to boot after completing the installation, and stops with a boot: prompt, try typing Linux followed by Enter. (The default boot configuration in quik.conf is labeled Linux). The labels defined in quik.conf will be displayed if you press the Tab key at the boot: prompt. You can also try booting back into the installer, and editing the /target/etc/quik.conf placed there by the Install Quik on a Hard Disk step. Clues for dealing with quik are available at http://penguinppc.org/projects/quik/.

To boot back into MacOS without resetting the nvram, type bye at the OpenFirmware prompt (assuming MacOS has not been removed from the machine). To obtain an OpenFirmware prompt, hold down the command+option+o+f keys while cold booting the machine. If you need to reset the OpenFirmware nvram changes to the MacOS default in order to boot back to MacOS, hold down the command+option+p+r keys while cold booting the machine.

If you use BootX to boot into the installed system, just select your desired kernel in the Linux Kernels folder, un-choose the ramdisk option, and add a root device corresponding to your installation; e.g. /dev/hda8.

7.1.2. NewWorld PowerMacs

On G4 machines and iBooks, you can hold down the option key and get a graphical screen with a button for each bootable OS, Debian GNU/Linux will be a button with a small penguin icon.

If you kept MacOS and at some point it changes the OpenFirmware boot-device variable you should reset OpenFirmware to its default configuration. To do this hold down the command+option+p+r keys while cold booting the machine.

The labels defined in yaboot.conf will be displayed if you press the Tab key at the boot: prompt.

Resetting OpenFirmware on G3 or G4 hardware will cause it to boot Debian GNU/Linux by default (if you correctly partitioned and placed the Apple_Bootstrap partition first). If you have Debian GNU/Linux on a SCSI disk and MacOS on an IDE disk this may not work and you will have to enter OpenFirmware and set the boot-device variable, ybin normally does this automatically.

After you boot Debian GNU/Linux for the first time you can add any additional options you desire (such as dual boot options) to /etc/yaboot.conf and run ybin to update your boot partition with the changed configuration. Please read the yaboot HOWTO for more information.