[K12OSN] netBoot Macintosh OS X

Jim Kronebusch jim at winonacotter.org
Thu Dec 14 15:45:00 UTC 2006

> I couldn't get this to work from a G4 iBook. 

Since this worked on your G3 and not your G4 I am assuming you have an
XF86Config error.  That is more tricky, so first I'll paste in the text from
an old email I sent stating how to boot Macs with open firmware to an LTSP
server.  Now the newer machines, you should be able to just hold the "N" key
and everything will be automatic.  You should see the blinking globe and then
start seeing linux stuff shooting by.  On the old machines, use the following
info to test.  Now if these all work up to the point of starting X, then you
need to get a custom XF86Config in lts.conf, but that is another discussion. 
Note: the instructions below were written before booting macs was included in
ltsp, so the following assumes that your /opt/ppc/ltsp/etc/lts.conf was set to
have SCREEN_01 = shell by default.  If you want to follow these instructions
exactly, you will have to make that change.  Otherwise X will try and start
right away.  The main point here however is to note the instructions to
manipulate open firmware.

Start Client Setup

Boot client while holding apple+option+o+f (to boot to open firmware).
Type the following at the command line (Please substitute your server IP where

boot enet:

Hit enter.  There may be a slight hesitation followed by a black screen
and a blinking globe, after 
that you should see the Lumensoftware yaboot screen.  Then the kernel
and all of the fun stuff should 
load, when finished you should be at a command prompt.  If that happened
without errors type


This should boot you to a login screen.  If not, start troubleshooting
your XF86Config and make a custom one.
So far I have tested all flavor iBooks and iMacs and have only had
trouble with the Indigo Vintage and have
a custom XF86Config to handle this if needed.

Now that you know your setup works modify /opt/ltsp/ppc/etc/lts.conf

# vi /opt/ltsp/ppc/etc/lts.conf

Comment out "SCREEN_01 = shell" and uncomment "SCREEN_01 = startx", now
startup of X will be automatic.

Next if you want to set your macs to permanently boot from the ltsp
server without interaction do the following:

Boot with apple+option+o+f again
Type the follwing at the command line:

setenv boot-device enet:

Hit enter.

setenv auto-boot? true

Hit enter.


Hit enter.

The machine should reboot and now automatically boot to ltsp every time
it is powered up.

Tip:  If for some reason your machine will not boot after entering boot
enet: with some error that 
it cannot find a boot loader or whatever, try this:

boot enet:,yaboot

For some reason this is sometimes necessary.

End Client Setup

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