Re: Boot Loader: OFW network booting support

From: Warner Losh <>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2022 17:04:12 UTC
On Mon, Nov 14, 2022, 6:30 PM Alexey Dokuchaev <> wrote:

> On Mon, Nov 14, 2022 at 09:34:25AM -0700, Warner Losh wrote:
> > I'd like to drop support for OFW network booting.
> >
> > These days, the only OpenFirmware machines are really old Mac G4 and G5
> > machines. Nothing else can use it (it used to be shared with sparc64
> > machines).
> Which are still in use.  Particularly, Mac mini G4 and Power Mac G5 make
> good backup/storage boxes and just nice piece of hardware to have around.

Ok. But surely not a lot of them anymore...

> So, rather than do a lot of work I can barely test (I might have an old G4
> > mac in my dad's old thing), I'm thinking about dropping the support,
> > especially since I don't think it's been used by anybody in a long time.
> Netbooting had always been preferred over to flashing optical media due
> to how easy it is to setup.  This is the first option recommended by
> grehan@
> in his guide* and that's how I installed FreeBSD on all my G4/G5 machines.
> My votes goes to keep it.

You are asking for at least two hours of my time to code and test what i
know i can. Likely 4 or 5 more if I have to setup and debug netbooting for
an old g4 Mac tower I have (including time to find vga monitors, keyboards
etc that I have, but are buried in my crawlspace).

So here's the deal. If someone has the ability to test and shows that it's
working today and promises to test my changes and help me debug it, then
I'll keep it and add the new code that's needed to continue to support this

Alternatively, if someone has the recipe for FreeBSD/powerpc on QEMU that
includes OpenFirmware for disks and networking, I'll do the testing and
legwork to get my netboot setup locally.

Otherwise, I'm going to save myself some time and this feature will be no
more. I'm not going to speculatively waste time for something nobody can
even be bothered to demonstrate still works :) Harsh, yes, I know, but
better to be up-front about it and quietly break it which I'm pretty sure
is what will happen if I don't test the new code.


> *)