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As you probably know Fedora for the PowerPC architecture is again in full speed to catch the primary (a.k.a. x86/x86_64) Fedora. Right now it should be possible to install Fedora/ppc using the Anaconda installer on Power7 based machines as they are able to load the unified installer initrd image. The ISO is downloadable from Karsten's place on the koji hub. Older machines contain a firmware and/or hardware limitation so they can't load the large initrd image. Fortunately there is way how to install Fedora 15 (or better something very close to what will become Fedora 15 in 2 weeks) even on such machines and it exploits yum's capability to install packages into an arbitrary place on the filesystem when the --installroot parameter is used. I have used an existing RHEL 6 system (Power4+ based Intellistation 275) as a host, but using an older Fedora 12 system should work too.

The required steps will be described here (I'm retrieving them from my memory and .bash_history, so I hope they are complete and correct)

  • create /etc/yum.repos.d/fedora.repo with this content

  • prepare a logical volume (I use Linux as the existing volume group) and mount it
    lvcreate -L 20G -n Fedora Linux
    mkfs.ext2 /dev/Linux/Fedora
    mount /dev/Linux/Fedora /mnt

  • install the really important packages
    yum --disablerepo=* --enablerepo=fedora --installroot=/mnt install openssh-server yum

  • remove root's password from /mnt/etc/shadow (or you can copy an existing encrypted password there), the first line should be something like

  • add a minimal /etc/fstab
    /dev/mapper/Linux-Fedora  /                       ext4    defaults        1 1
    tmpfs                   /dev/shm                tmpfs   defaults        0 0
    devpts                  /dev/pts                devpts  gid=5,mode=620  0 0
    sysfs                   /sys                    sysfs   defaults        0 0
    proc                    /proc                   proc    defaults        0 0

  • install the F-15 kernel on the host system
    rpm -ivh --nodeps

  • copy the modules from the host to the new Fedora system
    cp -a /lib/modules/ /mnt/lib/modules/

  • point the F-15 kernel to new root filesystem - replace the original value for root= with /dev/Linux/Fedora in /etc/yaboot.conf

  • disable SELinux by adding selinux=0 in the kernel entry in /etc/yaboot.conf, could be probably enabled again when the policy package is installed

The /boot filesystem lives on a separate partition (/dev/sda2 on my system) and it can be shared between the host and the newly installed Fedora

If you want network to up in new Fedora system, do these 2 additional steps

  • install NetworkManager with
    yum --nogpgcheck --disablerepo=* --enablerepo=fedora --installroot=/mnt install NetworkManager
    or add NetworkManager to the yum command line above

  • copy the network interface config file from the host to the new Fedora
    cp /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 /mnt/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/
    cp /etc/sysconfig/network /mnt/etc/sysconfig/

Now you can reboot and on the yaboot prompt select the Fedora 15 kernel. You should see a Fedora welcome message after a bunch of systemd messages on the console at the end. If not try pressing Enter. If you installed also the NetworkManager then the network should also up, so you can try connecting with ssh too.

If you have more questions, please catch us on the #fedora-ppc IRC channel on Freenode or on the fedora-ppc mailing list.

EDIT 2011/08/31:
when doing the install from F-12 you should get a kernel >= 2.6.32 first (the glibc in F>=14 requires it) otherwise you will get "kernel too old" messages and probably some failures during the install




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