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SUSE Linux 10.1 quick installation guide for Pegasos PPC and Open Desktop Workstation users

Good news: installation of SUSE Linux 10.1 is the easiest ever. Some changes are still needed at partitioning, which will go into the next release (10.2 in 2006 fall, there is a promise in a recent bugzilla entry), but no accidental data loss is possible any more as with the 10.0 partitioner.

RAM requirement

For a normal CD or DVD installation 256MB of RAM is enough. Installing 'factory' requires at least 384MB of RAM, as data for packages on all platforms is read by the package manager (20000+ packages instead of about 8000).


There are five CDs to download. Information is available at Actually, there is also a 6th CD, which can be used for network installation or rescue. Here are the possibilities:

  • Download the 5 CD images. Burn them all on CDs and use them. This takes more time, but requires no additional machine.
  • Download the 6th image as well, which is called 'mini'. You can use it to install from a partition or from over a network.

There are a lot of alternatives to burning the five CDs:

  • Download only the ‘mini’ and use an installation source available over the Internet. The constantly developed version is called ‘factory’ and is a moving target. For the final 10.1 release it will be frozen. It has a lot more packages, than the CD release.
  • Burn only the ‘mini’, and loop mount the images on another machine in a directory structure like this: CD1, CD2, ..., CD5 (mount -o loop,ro SUSE...CD1.iso CD1), and make it available through ftp, http, or nfs. (See the adminguide for more details)
  • if you already have Linux and partitions on your Pegasos, you can loop mount the CD images, and copy the content to a directory structure, like already mentioned. From CD1/suseboot copy inst32 to an OpenFirmware readable partition (primary ext2 or ext3 partition) and boot it to start installation
  • use of downloaded iso images from a partition should also be possible
  • inst32 can also be booted from the network using tftp and can be combined with any network or partition based installation.


Partitioning a hard drive for SUSE Linux 10.1 on Pegasos PPC needs special considerations. While Pegasos officially supports only the Amiga partition table format, YaST (the installation and configuration tool of SUSE) supports only DOS partition tables. In practice both have partial support for the other format.

For booting the Pegaos can use ext2 or ext3 partitions (or the Amiga FFS or SFS, if you have that one). Usually there is a small ext2 partition on /dev/hda1 which holds a boot menu and kernels. But it's possible to boot from almost everywhere on the hard drive.

First, let's see the Pegasos point of view about partition tables. Pegasos has it's roots in the Amiga community. This means, that its firmware officially supports only the Amiga partition table. When using it, the firmware can boot the Linux kernel from any (ext2 or ext3) partition. There is some unofficial support for the DOS partition table in the firmware also. It can't read extended partitions, so only primary ones can be used for booting.

YaST has official support only for DOS partition tables on hard drives. What it means for the Pegasos, that only DOS partition tables can be modified by YaST. As the YaST partitioner is based on parted, which has extensive support for a lot of different partition tables, it can read Amiga also. YaST can format and assign a mount point to these partitions, so pre existing partitions can be used during installation.

This leaves us three possibilities:

  • ODW machines (computers built around the Pegasos mainboard by Genesi) come with a couple of preinstalled Linuxes on a harddrive using the Amiga partition table. The first partition is prepared for the boot menu and kernels, the second is a swap partition, and the rest are preinstalled Linuxes. If you don't need one of these, you can install SUSE Linux over that partition, without the need to modify the partition table. You can select and format the partition in YaST.
  • If you need to change partitions but also need to keep the Amiga partition table (for example to be able to boot MorphOS), then YaST is not much help at the beginning. One needs to use a rescue CD, like the one included on SUSE boot CDs or Mupper, wich was created especially for Pegasos users in mind. You can use parted for partitioning, documentation is available at . There is also a really short command summary in the next chapter ( ). It's also possible to use the install CD, just use the 'start_shell' boot parameter. Just after everything is loaded, this options provides a shell. 'parted' is available there. The machine must be rebooted after changing partitions.
  • If you use the machine for SUSE exclusively, you can safely use DOS partitioning on Pegasos. All you need to consider, is that there is a primary partition, which OpenFirmware can read (ext2 or ext3).

In any case it's wise to leave/let the first partition as a small ext2/ext3 partition and use 'menu'. This is the default setting in OpenFirmware. If it's already prepared (like an ODW machine), do not format it.


Using parted is really easy. Here is list of most important commands. Beware, that everyting is executed immediatelly, there is no undo function. This is just a short command summary, for a complete list, visit

To get started, one needs parted /dev/hda to edit partitions on your primary master IDE disk. Replace the device name, if an other hard drive is to be edited. When started, parted will drop you in some kind of command line. Anything you type there is executed immediatelly, so be careful!

print will list existing partitions, if there is any.

mklabel amiga creates an amiga partition table. All previous data is lost!

mklabel msdos creates an msdos partition table. All previous data is lost!

mkpart type fs start end creates a partition. It does not format the partition, but creates the correct entry in the partition table.

  • type is always primary in the case of Amiga partition table, a p is enough
  • fs in any of the following: ext2, ext3, reiserfs, linux-swap, etc.
  • start and end represent the start and end point of a partition in mega or gigabyte. M is appended to the number to represend a megabyte, G stands for gigabyte.


mkpart p ext2 0M 100M
mkpart p linux-swap 100M 612M
mkpart p ext3 612M 10G
mkpart p ext3 10G 40G

quit quits the program. There is no need to save, everything is saved as soon, as you hit enter after a command.

Booting the installer

Once you have your installation media prepared, it's time to get started with installation. First, you need to escape to the OpenFirmware prompt. This can be done by hitting ‘Esc’ during the countdown, or if you have a boot menu, choose the appropriate entry. The next code sample shows, how to boot the installation system from a CD. It is the same for CD1 or the miniboot. The linemode=0 parameter is there to provide an easy to use curses based menu interface to installation settings, instead of a line based, which is ideal for serial console environments.

The command to boot from CD is:

boot cd suseboot/inst32 linemode=0

The command to boot inst32 copied to the root of the third ext3 partition is:

boot hd:2 inst32 linemode=0

What happens next, depends on how installation of SUSE Linux 10.1 was started:

If you burned the five CDs, and booted from CD1, then you can sit back and relax for about two minutes, until you reach a graphical screen asking you which language to use during installation. You can safely skip the following chapter.

If there are troubles getting into the graphical installation screen (and you're welcomed with a text based one), you may want to try the following variant when booting the system:

boot cd suseboot/inst32 video=radeonfb:1024x768@75 linemode=0

Setting up the installation environment

If you don't have CD1 in your drive, you will be first presented with some questions before reaching the same stage of the installation. These are required to find the installation sources.

In the later case, first a blue screen appears, still in text mode. It will stay like this, until all information is gathered, and the installation software can be loaded.

The very first request is to put CD1 in your drive. This is not an error, the default installation mode is to use your CD/DVD drive. It is possible to choose other installation sources as boot parameters, but it's more convenient (less typing, and less documentation reading) to choose installation sources using a curses based menu system. If you don't have the CD in the drive you need to use the right arrow or tab to get to 'back' and hit 'enter' to continue.

Here the language of installation can be selected. All languages use their own character sets, some more exotic ones can not be read at all. For these English or an other language with 'Latin' type characters is suggested. This can be changed later on the graphical installation screen. Up/down arrows can be used to choose another language, and 'enter' to use that and continue with installation. The main menu of linuxrc (the tool used to set up the installation environment) is shown.

If network installation is to be used, the first menu to visit is 'Kernel Modules (Hardware Drivers)'. The menu works with up and down arrows and Enter/Escape. First enter the 'Kernel Modules' menu, and next choose 'Load ppc Modules'.

There are two ethernet ports on the Pegasos mother board. The left one is a gigabit ethernet interface, which requires the mv643xx_eth driver to be loaded. The right one is a 10/100 ethernet interface, the via-rhine driver is needed by this one. Just hit 'Enter' to load them and follow on screen instructions. You don't need any other modules to be able to install SUSE Linux on an ODW over the network, so escape back to the main menu.

To get started with installation, choose 'Start Installation or System'. This brings to another menu. The first one is needed to start installation, but the other two are also important:

  • 'Start Installation or Update' starts a new installation
  • 'Boot installed system' allows booting an already installed system. It's needed in the second stage of installation, when the computer first reboots, as there is no boot loader or bootable kernel prepared. It has to be done by hand, when the second stage of installation is ready.
  • 'Start Rescue System' starts a mini Linux with lot's of handy tools. Needed for partitioning as well, if you need to change an Amiga partition table (the default on ODW)

As installation is just started, the first menu entry is to be chosen. This shows another menu:

  • CD-ROM: does not have much use here, except when drivers need to be loaded before CD based installation can go on.
  • Network: FTP/HTTP/NFS/SMB
  • Hard Disk: from a partition

If you choose 'Hard Disk', you are presented with a list of partitions on the system. First, you have to choose the partition, where installation sources are to be found, and then enter the path relative to that partition. For example, if you copied the installation CDs to your /home partition in directory ‘suse101’, and /home is /dev/hda5, then choose /dev/hda5 as partition and /suse101/CD1/ as source directory. The rest of the directories will be used automatically.

From the network install, FTP has the most questions. If you forgot to load the kernel module for networking, you will be presented with a big, red warning message. Other way, you are asked, if you want to use DHCP for network configuration. If not, be prepared to answer some questions about your network. The first is: the IP address of your machine, netmask fallows (with defaults for a class C network filled id), IP of the gateway machine, IP of the name server, and finally IP of the ftp server. You can use the name of ftp server here, if there is a proper DNS entry for that machine. Then choose, if you need a username to reach the ftp site, or a HTTP proxy. At the end, you have to specify a source directory, including CD1 in the name, if you set up the installation source yourself from CDs, or 'inst-source', if you use the 'factory' distribution.

In a few seconds or minutes, depending on your network speed, you will get to the same graphical screen mentioned already at the beginning of the document.

Starting of the graphical installation

The first menu appearing on the graphical screen is the 'language' menu. It looks much better as the previously mentioned 'language' menu, as this one has correctly displayed characters from many different languages. What you choose here, influences a lot of things. Not only the language of the installation program, YaST, but if a software package has language extensions, like KDE or, it will be automagically selected during software installation based on this choice. So, choose your language, and go to the next screen. You can check the integrity of your installation CDs, if you use them for installation. Other way, the next screen is about accepting the 'License Agreement' of SUSE Linux. (During beta testing, an extra window reminds, that it's a beta release, and there is no support at all. To continue, one has to accept both.)

Hardware detection comes next. This also means, that drivers are loaded, and if you don’t use CD1 for installation, YaST asks for your permission in some cases. If you have a Hard Drive with an Amiga partition table, you are warned, that the installer can't modify it. You can still use existing partitions.

It is possible, that you get another few kernel module related questions, and then you are presented with the 'Installation mode' menu. On first installation you need to use the default setting: 'New Installation'. 'Update' helps to update from a previous version of SUSE Linux (but it’s not possible with the current beta (beta4)...). 'Other' has some important possibilities, well hidden. 'Boot Installed System' is need in the second stage of installation, if you use CD1 for booting. There you can choose which partition to boot.

Starting a new installation

As this is the first stage of a new SUSE Linux installation, 'New installation' is to be used.

It must be mentioned here: no data is written to disc, until at the end of installation settings, you click the 'Accept' button and answer 'Yes' to the question. Until that you are free to abort the installation process, and no change is made to the system.

The first screen will allow to set the time and/or timezone. The next question is a bit more difficult: choosing a desktop environment. KDE was much better supported by SUSE for a long time, the difference is getting smaller now. Use 'other' if you don't want any of these large desktop environments, or text mode only.

If you are installing on a completely empty hard drive or have a DOS partition table, there will be some useful information on the 'Installation Settings' overview page. YaST has a suggestion for partitions, and this way it can also suggest software. But for the rest of us, who use the native Amiga partition table format on Pegasos, there is only a big red warning about partitioning and no real software suggestion.

In either case, to go on with installation, one has to choose the 'Expert' page. This has even more red warning messages. Installation settings can be changed by clicking on bold underlined texts looking like links on a web page.


The first thing is to fix partitioning. If you are using a DOS partition table, please use the installation manuals, the process is well described there. Just make sure, that you have at least one primary partition formatted to ext2 or ext3 file system.

Those who use an Amiga partition table need to choose 'Custom partitioning (for experts)'. It provides with a list of partitions, which you previously prepared, or came pre-installed with your ODW. Select the partition from the list, which you want to format and/or attach to a mount point, and click 'edit' to setup the partition. You need to have at least a root (/) and a swap partition. It's also advised to have a small ext2/ext3 partition at the beginning of your first hard drive to hold booting related files. Be aware, that SUSE Linux uses ReiserFS by default, so creating/using this small partition is a must, if you want an efficient filesystem for the rest of your partitions. More detailed description of menus is available in the installation manuals. At the end, click 'Finish'. Remember, your partitions are crated and formatted only after all settings are configured.

When you click 'Finish', you are presented with a warning message. Pegasos PPC does not need the extra boot partition mentioned here, so you can safely answer 'No' to this question.


Software selection works the same way, as on any other platforms, and well described in the manuals.


There is no big red warning message here - yet. So, let's change it, as Pegasos does not need a boot loader to be installed. Click on 'Booting' and choose 'Boot loader Installation' on the top. Set the type of boot loader to 'Do Not Install Any Boot Loader' and choose continue and later 'Finish'.

Committing installation

Up until now, the hard drive was not modified, only information about installation was collected. When the 'Accept' button is clicked, there is a last chance to modify settings or abort the installation. When 'Install' is clicked, the installation is carried out according to settings made in the previous menus.

At first, partitions are formatted and mounted and next software packages are installed. It takes some time. Estimate of remaining time can be tracked on screen. After the content of CD1 is installed, the computer is rebooted. Unlike on x86 and other PPC computers, Pegasos can not boot from the hard drive at this stage. What comes next, depends on what we use for installation.

If CD1 was used, then follow previous instructions up until the 'Installation Mode' menu is reached. Click 'Other' from the bottom right corner of the screen and choose 'Boot installed system'. After clicking 'OK', the hard drive is searched for bootable Linux partitions. Choose the appropriate partition and click 'Boot'.

In any other cases follow instructions from section 'Setting up an installation environment' up until 'Boot installed system', and choose the partition to be booted. If you created many partitions, it's the root partition, marked with '/'.

The remaining CDs are asked in order to finish up package installation.

Configuring the system before first boot

The next few screens look and work on Pegasos the same, as on any other computer. Click 'Finish' on the screen titled 'Installation Completed' to boot SUSE Linux on the machine.

Making SUSE Linux bootable from the hard drive

Booting Pegasos from a CD is not the most convinient thing possible, so it's higly recommended to make SUSE Linux boot from the hard drive. Pegasos does not rely on a boot manager. Instead of that, OpenFirmware loads the kernel itself. The kernel, as it's installed in directory /boot is not directly loadable by OpenFirmware.

To create an OF bootable kernel and put it where OF can read it, the user needs to be logged in as root (or use 'su -' to become super user). Use the following command to create a bootable kernel:

mkzimage –vmlinux /boot/vmlinux –initrd /boot/initrd –output /tmp/peg101suse

The last file name can be anything, just make sure, that you don't overwrite anything. The next step is to copy this file to an ext2/ext3 partition, where OF can read it. Check, if it's mounted by examining the output of the 'mount' command. If not, mount it. To mount /dev/hda1 to /mnt use the following command:

mount /dev/hda1 /mnt

You can now copy the previously crated bootable kernel to this location. Make sure, that you don't accidentally overwrite anything by listing the directory first, and then copy the file:

ls /mnt

cp /tmp/peg101suse /mnt

Warning: these steps need to be repeated in case of a kernel update! Other way still the old kernel will be booted, but /lib/modules will include only kernel modules for the new kernel, which can lead to unexpected results.

You can now reboot your machine and use the new kernel for booting. If the kernel resides on /dev/hda1 and the root partition of SUSE Linux is /dev/hda6, you can use the following command in OpenFirmware to boot:

boot hd:0 peg101suse root=/dev/hda6

The number after 'hd:' is one less, than the number in the Linux device name (unless it's a late beta firmware and set to be chrp compliant). More information is available in the OpenFirmware manuals at: