Installing OpenBSD on MacPPC

Have a soon-to-be-unobtanium Power Mac G5 collecting dust ? Well clean the ol’ girl off and put her to work!i Here are the steps to installing single-bootii OpenBSD on MacPPC (but if this looks like too much trouble, you’re in the WoT, and you’d like to purchase one ready-made, leave a comment or otherwise get in touch ; pricing starts at USD$500 payable in BTC) :

1. On target machine, download ISO from openbsd.orgiii and properly burn to blank CDiv or obtain physical disks already so burned
2. Shutdown target machine
3.1. Remove and replace hard drive from target machine or,
3.2. To reuse the existing hard drive, using a Firewire cable, plug target machine into another Firewire-equipped Macv
4. Boot the target machine while holding down the T-key. Release the key when the dancing Firewire logo appearsvi
5. Launch Disk Utility on the non-target machine
6. Erase the hard drive of the target machine and reformat as Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled) after which you’ll unmount and eject the target machine drives.vii
7. Shutdown target machine
8. Boot target machine while holding down Option key
9. Select CD
10. Install OpenBSD to your preferred tastes and specificationsviii
11. Once congratulated on your completed install, reboot
12. As soon as reboot commences, press and hold Command-Option-O-F simultaneously to launch Open Firmware. Type `setenv boot-device hd:,ofwboot` to instruct your machine to boot into OpenBSD by default going forward.
13. Type `boot hd:,ofwboot /bsd` to boot into OpenBSD right fuckin’ now!ix

Now to install TRB… Any questions ?

___ ___ ___

  1. She can’t possibly be too wrinkly, saggy, and out-of-shape for you, she’s made of aluminum!
  2. Dual-booters are free to fuck around with the bizarre partitioning requirements of OpenBSD all they want. I ran out of patience trying to salvage Mac OS 10.4. The OpenBSD Installation Notes go into some detail on this, if detail still insufficient for my blockheadedness.
  3. Making sure to verify the SHA256 hash and GPG signature, as ever. This isn’t optional. What, were you raised by wolves ?  
  4. The proper CD burning part involves the following sub-steps on a Mac :

    1. Insert a blank disc
    2. Open Terminal
    3. Type `hdiutil burn ~/PathToYourISO/filename.iso`


    1. Insert a blank disc
    2. Start Disk Utility.
    3. Click File > Open Disk Image > ISO to be burned.
    4. Select ISO from volume list in left sidebar.
    5. Click the “Burn” button and follow the prompts.

    Don’t bother with USBs if you can avoid it. At least in my experience, Open Firmware can have difficulty even recognising that they’re plugged in at all, much less that they contain an ISO.

  5. A guide using other UNIX-like OSes is beyond the scope of this modest article.
  6. This will boot the target machine into Target Disk Mode, allowing it to be treated as an external drive by our other Mac.
  7. The “Security Options” during aren’t to be ignored on the Erase either. I tried the quick Zero Out Erase and ended up with a suite of impossible-to-troubleshoot install errors later on. Go for the 7-Pass Erase. It should only take a day or two and there’s really no rush here.  
  8. When in doubt between setting x or y, look up the individual options! If you’ve never ventured into GUI-less waters before, it won’t be at all intuitive. Take your time. Or just hit enter a lot and take the defaults as they come.
  9. Success will look much like this (with or without the visual artefacts) :

    OpenBSD on Mac Pro G5 (PPC)

14 thoughts on “Installing OpenBSD on MacPPC

  1. IIRC TRB does not yet run on big-endian.

  2. Mitchell says:

    Nice, I plan on doing this with an old Dell Precision machine I have. Is the plan to run it exclusively as a node? Or will it be a workspace to learn Unix and get comfortable working from the terminal? Have any issues arised from using a Mac?

    Thanks for the post!

  3. Jony Ivy says:

    Hey Pete,

    I have some older and younger apples, and a pile of PC’s, pads, etc. What is the best platform? I used to use Linux 0.7 back in the day, the last crappola was red hat, but they forked into the commercial and freeware one. My redhat server got fuxored with a back door in the /tmp folder called .pulse, apparently it setup a tunnel and was being used to exfiltrate my goodies. Is there a secure system outside of free-bsd? Or, is security in the mind of the person who sets it up? I really would like something secure, since I feel naked and violated, since I’m naked, and have been violated.

    Thanks, and I will take any future communications to a secure chan.

    • Jony, good to hear from you mate. Big fan of your work at the Big App. Not sure there’s really a best platform per se. Having a variety of older platforms at your disposal and as customised an environment as possible on each of them is pretty much your best defense. Using anything mainstream is basically begging to be raped like a dirty pig.

  4. Updated with offer for WoT chums.

  5. […] PowerPC users can also endeavour to install OpenBSD first before attaching FUCKGOATS. The following is, however, for those still clinging to […]

  6. Mirko says:

    when I’m trying to write on openfirmware
    boot hd:,ofwboot /bsd can’t OPEN hd
    any help?

  7. Bob Pegram says:

    I have a G3 blue and white mac. I have gone through the install process with a network install CD (CD65) several times. The entire process appears to work fine. However when it tells me to reboot. I do so. The blinking question mark (folder) shows up on screen and nothing happens. Am I omitting a step? Are there any choices I should make other than the defaults during the install? I am stumped. Thanks for any help.

  8. Khabib Nurmagomedov says:

    Do you consider the Lenovo g505s fit to run a Bitcoin node and cold storage wallet? The one with the AMD A10. I think it is the most powerful AMD before they put the PSP thing on it.

    Also what are the main differences between TRB and Bitcoin Core?

    And TRB will ever have a GUI? Is it really that unsafe? the “Coin Control” thing on Bitcoin Core is extremely useful. I think there is an higher chance to fuck up trying to craft a complex transaction with tons of inputs manually than having a GUI to do this tbh, specially if your cold storage setup is good.


    • Pete D. says:

      1. You’ll want ECC RAM for running a node/wallet of any kind. Flipped bits are unacceptable for something as economically sensitive and powerful as Bitcoin. Some computers have this. Pick one of them.
      2. TRB is trimmed down and pared back to its bare necessities, like an AK47. Bitcoin Core is the same, except covered in the dozens of the proverbial “sex dildo on top to fuck yourself in asshole for making shameful travesty of rifle Bitoin client of Mikhail Kalashnikov Satoshi Nakamoto”
      3. I wouldn’t expect TRB to ever have a GUI.

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