(Answer) (Category) Linux on PowerPC FAQ-O-Matic : (Category) Hardware Compatibility :
Can I Install LinuxPPC onto a G3 Expansion Bay Harddisk?
How to Install LinuxPPC v4.1 on an Expansion Bay Harddrive in a
Powerbook G3 Series computer.

Installation of 4.1 on an expansion bay drive requires a few steps
beyond the standard installation because of the way the expansion
bays are supported in Linux.

Please read the standard installation documents, paying special
attention to the part on disk naming and partitioning
(http://www.linuxppc.com/userguide/part.html). This guide will only
deal with the extra steps necessary to install on the expansion bay

The only reason this guide is necessary is due to the way the newer
kernels support the expansion bay hard disks.  All partitions of a
drive in the right bay are referenced as /dev/hdcX and the partitions
in the left bay are referenced as /dev/hdeX, EVEN IF IT IS THE SAME
PHYSICAL hard disk being swapped back and forth.  Furthermore, the
kernel supplied on the v4.1 CD does not even support the left bay at
all, and the pdisk program seems to have this same problem.

The simplest solution to this problem is to copy everything from the
CD onto the top level of one of the HFS partitions on the internal
disk, making sure to keep all the files and folders at the same
relative levels as they are on the CD. Take the CD module out,
install the expansion bay drive. You should now be able to partition
and perform an install from the internal hard disk.  Make sure that
these files are on a HFS partition, not a HFS+ partition.

If you don't have room for the contents of the CD, or don't have a
large HFS partition, you need to do some extra work and a bit of
module swapping.  

A] First we'll deal with the necessary software. 

A.1) BootX -- Copy the BootX application onto your hard disk, putting
it next to your system folder (which must be a HFS partition for this
to work).

A.2) ramdisk.image.gz -- Copy the ramdisk.image.gz file from the CD and
put it into the system folder.

A.3) pdisk -- copy the pdisk program from the CD and put it anywhere on
your hard disk.

A.4) vmlinux -- You will need to download a newer kernel which fully
supports left bay devices.  I don't know where the support first
showed up, but any kernel above v2.2.1 should work.  Grab the latest
kernel (called vmlinux) from
ftp://mirror.linuxppc.org/linuxppc/pmac/kernel-binary/ . Make sure
you use Binary mode during the transfer.  Place this vmlinux file
inside the system foler.

B] Partition the Drive

Remove the CD module and install the drive in the right bay (pdisk
seems to have this right bay limitation).  Partition the drive as the
installation pages suggest.  One thing that the installation docs
don't reccomend but should is to write down which partitions you
intend to hold which file systems, i.e. you want /usr to do on

I saved about 300Mb to serve as a Mac HFS partition to swap files
back and forth between the OSes.  This comes in very handy in normal

C] Start the installation

C.1) Plug in your computer!
C.2) Remove the drive from the right bay.
C.3) Install the CD module in the right bay, put the CD in
C.4) make sure you are plugged in
C.5) Remove the battery from the left bay
C.6) Install the drive in the left bay
C.7) Double click on the BootX application on your internal hard drive.
     Check both boxes (No video Driver and Use Ramdisk)
     Hit the Linux Button

Choose a CD based installation and do a "normal" install.  One thing to
remember is that all the partions are now called /dev/hdcX because the
drive is in the left bay, so choose the partitions and mount points

D] Enjoy and cleanup

Once the installation is complete (you may have other
questions/problems, but these most likely are not specific to the
expansion bay), log in and push your system around some.

Linux has recorded the location of your partitions in /etc/fstab.  My
normal operation is to have the battery in the left, and the drive in
the right.  To get this setup, you will need to edit /etc/fstab and
change all references of /dev/hdcX to /dev/hdeX.  I also added in the
MacOS partition so it will automatically mount.  Shutdown linux, swap
the battery back in and place the drive in the right bay, and boot linux
back up.

1) The CD -> expansion bay method probably will not work in the new
Bronze 1999 Powerbook G3's since they only support the battery in the left

2) I just received my R5 CD in the mail and will update this FAQ as soon
as I get it working myself.

An official product update about this topic (written by Doug Williams) is available at:
It's slightly more up-to-date than what's listed here.
[Append to This Answer]
Previous: (Answer) Hot Swappable PowerBook G3 bays
Next: (Answer) What about Powerbook 1400s?
This document is: http://www.jonh.net/cgi-bin/lppcfom/fom?file=563
[Search] [Appearance]
This is a Faq-O-Matic 2.718d.
Hosted by anduin.org and SourceForge Logo