This should also apply to other PowerPC Macs such as the G3, G4, iBook, and various iMac models (I think)…

I wanted to install Ubuntu 11.10 onto my Mac mini after replacing its hard drive. I found some excellent netboot install directions by Evan Martin, which I was able to follow (although I used the files from this directory for the netboot). However, I ran into a small problem when beginning the install–the netboot image for 11.10 does not include the parallel ATA driver for Macs (pata_macio.ko). It causes the installer to not detect any hard drives.

The Ubuntu FAQ I linked to above suggests installing 11.04 and then upgrading to 11.10. I didn’t feel like doing an upgrade install, so I decided to go another route. Here’s how I did it (starting at the point where I was told that no hard drives could be detected)…

  1. I manually downloaded the PowerPC kernel package.
  2. Next, I extracted lib/modules/3.0.0-12-powerpc/kernel/drivers/ata/pata_macio.ko by opening the .deb file with Archive Manager, and stuck it in my TFTP server directory.
  3. Almost there…I used tftp to grab it from my TFTP server and put it in /tmp on the Mac mini
    • Get to a console on the Mac mini by pressing Alt-F2. Remember, on an Apple keyboard, Alt is the option key and you may have to hold down the “fn” key to get F2 to be recognized as F2 instead of a brightness key.
  4. Finally, I inserted the module with insmod, switched back to the installer by pressing Alt-F1, and continued on with my install. I think I had to go back one step and try again, and then the hard drive was recognized.

By the way, it sounds like this will be fixed in 12.04. Yippee! Until then, this is another way of getting it done. I hope this helps someone else out there…


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