Putting a PowerMac G5 to good use

A few months ago I bought an old PowerMac G5 off of Craigslist and since then I have been experimenting with various operating systems and configurations. Before I tell you more about these, let me briefly explain why I got such a machine. I had always wanted one of these beasts. They look gorgeous (to me) and, to convince myself to get it, I thought that I would play with the PPC64 architecture.

July 15, 2013 · Tags: featured, mac, powerpc, review
Continue reading (about 6 minutes)

Installing FreeBSD with a ZFS root on a PowerMac G5

Suppose you have a nice PowerMac G5 big beast around and want to install a modern operating system on it. Suppose that you want FreeBSD to run on it. Suppose that you would like to use ZFS as much as possible, say to use the machine as a NAS. If all of the above apply to you, you have come to the right place! Read on for how I got FreeBSD 10.

July 11, 2013 · Tags: freebsd, mac, powerpc, zfs
Continue reading (about 4 minutes)

Setting up my old Mac Mini G4 as a development machine

I've spent quite a few time last week setting up my old Mac Mini G4 — a PPC 1.2GHz with 1GB of RAM running NetBSD/macppc current — as a "workstation" for the development of Kyua and other tools for NetBSD. Yes, this machine is very slow, but that's the whole point of the exercise I'm going to narrate below. I recently got approval from the NetBSD core team to import Kyua into the NetBSD source tree and replace ATF with it.

October 22, 2012 · Tags: kyua, mac, netbsd
Continue reading (about 3 minutes)

Installing NetBSD/macppc on a Mac Mini G4

Yesterday, I spent a while installing NetBSD/macppc 5.0.1 on a Mac Mini G4. The process wasn't easy, as it involved the following steps. I'm omitting many details, as they are "common knowledge" to Mac users (or otherwise can be easily found on the net): After booting the installer from the CD image, drop into the shell.Use pdisk to create an Apple_HFS partition for the boot loader and two Apple_UNIX_SVR2 partitions, one for the root file system and another for swap.

January 11, 2010 · Tags: mac, netbsd
Continue reading (about 2 minutes)

Reinstalled Mac OS X in multiple partitions, again

Past weekend, for some strange reason, I decided to dump all the MBP's hard disk contents and start again from scratch. But this time I decided to split the disk into multiple partitions for Mac OS X, to avoid external fragmentation slowdowns as much as possible. I already did such a thing back when the MBP was new. At that time, I created a partition for the system files and another for the user data.

July 5, 2008 · Tags: fragmentation, mac, macos
Continue reading (about 2 minutes)

Serial console cable for an old Mac

I'm currently working on the NetBSD/mac68k kernel to migrate it from the old rcons framebuffer driver to a more modern one that supports colors, virtual terminals, custom fonts and all other assorted goodies that come with wscons. Unfortunately, I've found a very mysterious system hang-up with my code that I cannot easily debug from the machine itself because the console does not work at all. Hence, I needed to have a serial console for this machine, a Performa 630.

September 5, 2007 · Tags: cables, mac
Continue reading (about 1 minute)

Random MacBook Pro notes

Some things I have had in my mind for a while but for which I'm lazy to post full-blown posts: Updated the internal Hitachi 160GB 5400RPM drive to a Seagate Momentus 7200.2. There is a lot of people who say that the difference between 5400RPM and 7200RPM is negligible in laptop disks. Screw that. For daily tasks (browse the network, read your mail, etc.) it may not be too noticeable, but for disk intensive operations it really is.

August 26, 2007 · Tags: mac
Continue reading (about 2 minutes)

Processor speed and desktop usage

Back in July 7th, I disassembled my MacBook Pro to see if I could easily replace its hard disk for a faster one. I hadn't bought it yet because I first wanted to check that the whole process was easy. The thing is that, after a couple of problems, I could disassemble it. So I then ran to the local store to buy the new drive. But oh! They didn't have it.

July 27, 2007 · Tags: mac, processor
Continue reading (about 3 minutes)

Recovering two old Macs

Wow, it has already been three years since a friend an I found a couple of old Macintoshes in a trash container1. Each of us picked one, and maybe a year ago or so I gave mine to him as I had no space at home to keep it. Given that he did not use them and that I enjoy playing with old hardware, I exchanged those two machines by an old Pentium 3 I had laying around :-) The plan is to install NetBSD-current on at least one of them and some other system (or NetBSD version) in the other one to let me ensure ATF is really portable to bizarre hardware (running sane systems, though).

July 16, 2007 · Tags: atf, hardware, mac
Continue reading (about 3 minutes)

Six months with the MacBook Pro

If memory serves well, today makes the sixth month since I have got my MacBook Pro and, during this period, have been using it as my sole computer. I feel it is a good time for another mini-review. Well... to get started: this machine is great; I probably haven't been happier with any other computer before. I have been able to work on real stuff — instead of maintaining the machine — during these months without a hitch.

June 21, 2007 · Tags: mac, macos, parallels, review
Continue reading (about 3 minutes)

MacBook Pro review

Since the Intel Macs were published, I had been planning to get one of them; I settled on getting an iMac 20" by next Summer (so that it'd carry Leopard "for free"). But last December I found a great offer on the MacBook Pro 15.4", being the total price similar to what I was planning to buy. Furthemore, going for the MacBook Pro instead of the iMac let me get rid of my iBook G4 and my desktop PC.

January 14, 2007 · Tags: mac, review
Continue reading (about 3 minutes)