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Re: debian-installer: please default to grub-ieee1275 on powerpc instead

From: Lennart Sorensen
Subject: Re: debian-installer: please default to grub-ieee1275 on powerpc instead of yaboot
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:02:24 -0400
User-agent: NeoMutt/20170113 (1.7.2)

On Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 06:26:10PM +0200, John Paul Adrian Glaubitz wrote:
> Ok, good to know. What about GPT partition tables? On ppc64el, i.e. POWER8
> and newer, the default labels are all GPT. Any idea which is the earliest
> POWER5+ machine which supports GPT or should we just assume MS-DOS
> partition tabels for all POWER machines?

I unfortunately never tried GPT on any IBM power machines and I no longer
have access to them.

I found this:

So it claims that on power7 the firmware upgrade in 2013 added support
for booting from a GPT disk.  So to me that means a lot of power7 systems
out there won't be able to (since not everyone has updated the firmware).
It doesn't say what you have to create as a boot partition when using
GPT though, so no idea how one would use it.  It might support FAT32
filesystem and accessing the grub file the way UEFI systems do, and
similar to what I think PowerMac machines do.

I can't find anything to suggest any power6 or power5 system ever had
an update to allow it.

I would expect all power8 machines had GPT support from the start,
and hence defaulting to that makes sense.

> > The grub modules stay in whatever /boot is on, and the grub image
> > generated contains enough of grub to read filesystems and is loaded
> > by the firmware from the prep boot partition (it litterally reads that
> > partition into ram as raw data, and executes it). 
> Interesting. Do you know whether the mechanism is the same? My worries
> are that users on older PowerPC hardware, especially Apple Macintosh
> would have to go through extra lengths to get this working.

On a powermac is is certainly different.  You would have an apple
partition table instead, along with whatever else a mac requires boot wise
(which I don't know off hand).

> It seems that openSUSE for ppc and ppc64 always seems to default to

Makes sense, since it is a nice boot loader.

> Could someone with both 32-bit and 64-bit Macs maybe perform test
> installations of openSUSE on their machines?
> >
> The latest release for 32-bit powerpc seems to be 11.1:
> >
> You can also test other distributions like Fedora, for example. Latest
> version with ppc32 support seems to be 12:
> >
> The more test results we have, the better. If it turns out that GRUB will
> even work properly on 32-bit PowerPC machines, I think it would be the
> best option to make GRUB default for "powerpc" as well.
> Of course, we can still keep yaboot on the FTP archives. It will not
> be a potential source of issues anymore, however.

i386 offered lilo as an alternative to grub for quite a while in the

Len Sorensen

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