Yaboot and ybin
Copyright 2004 Ethan Benson. This page may not be copied without prior consent.
Yaboot is an OpenFirmware bootloader for Open Firmware based
machines. It is known to work on "NewWorld" class PowerMacs (iMac and
all machines released after it), RS/6000, and possibly other OF based
CHRP machines. "OldWorld" PowerMacs (with the built-in MacOS ROM)
are not supported.
Ybin is the GNU/Linux utility to install the yaboot boot loader onto
a bootstrap partition. It will not run from MacOS.
Ybin (YaBoot INstaller) was created so that there could be a lilo/quik
style bootloader installer for yaboot. With a properly configured
system one can simply type ybin, and the bootloader will be
installed/updated on the bootstrap partition without any further user
intervention. Ybin is required to install yaboot.
There is a Yaboot HowTo
(Also in German)
which you should read to become familiar with yaboot. Thanks to Chris Tillman
for writing this document.
Yaboot has the following mailing lists:
There exists an irc channel #yaboot on irc.freenode.net.
Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (woody) ships with a correctly built yaboot 1.3.6 package.
1.3.6 however is incompatible with most models shipped past 2002.
Mandrake GNU/Linux 8.2 ships an incomplete yaboot package with some
packaging bugs, its recommended that you remove it and install yaboot
YellowDog GNU/Linux 2.2 ships with a correctly built yaboot 1.3.6 package.
1.3.6 however is incompatible with Windtunnel and Xserve models.
SuSE GNU/Linux ships with an incomplete yaboot package, it is
highly recommended that you remove it and install yaboot from
The most current prerelease test version of yaboot can be found at
Work is currently progressing on rewriting yaboot from scratch for
a 2.0 release. This release will include several user visible
improvements such as a shell similar to the GNU GRUB shell. If you
are interested in tracking the development go here.
Also see the prom-libc
page, prom-libc will be used by yaboot 2.0 and must be completed before real
progress on 2.0 can be made.
Download and install
IMPORTANT: if you have yaboot installed via your distribution's
packaging system you MUST remove it before installing with either
of these methods.
The yaboot-X.Y.Z.tar.gz is a source only distribution, to build
and install perform the
tar -zxvpf yaboot-X.Y.Z.tar.gz
If you do not have the gcc compiler available you can optionally
download the binary dist and install it using the following command:
tar -zxvpf /path/to/yaboot-X.Y.Z.tar.gz
yaboot will be installed in /usr/local/lib/yaboot and the ybin
commands will be installed in /usr/local/sbin. If this is the
first time you have installed yaboot run
Finally, yaboot and ybin are
Changes since 1.3.12:
Changes since 1.3.11:
- ofpath: Fix several errors going to stdout rather then stderr.
- ybin: Detect broken /dev/nvram better.
- Support initrd.
- Support LABEL= and UUID= in /etc/fstab (Colin Watson).
- yaboot: Support ~6MB kernels for tftp (this is maxed out for yaboot1).
Changes since 1.3.10:
- ofpath: Support for 2.6 kernels (2.6.3 or later required).
- yaboot-howto: Add caveat regarding OSX UFS filesystems
(Thanks to Brian Sammon, and to Stefan Pfetzing for the German
Changes since 1.3.9:
- Support new Apple G5 PowerMacs.
- ofpath: Bugfix to properly support IDE add-on cards.
Changes since 1.3.8:
- ofpath: Apple apparently can't decide whether its called `ata'
or `ide'; fix support for early iMac models.
Changes since 1.3.7:
- Mark first stage bootloader as compatible with new MacOS9
- Really fix file search so IBM CHRP will work if there is more than
one type 0x83 partition.
- ofpath: Support new Xserve and Windtunnel PowerMacs.
- NOTE: For this to fully work it requires a sufficiently recent
- Prefer $PATH_PREFIX/usr/sbin/ofpath if it exists.
- yabootconfig: Add append="video=ofonly" if the running kernel
was booted with it, only if user does not specify --kernel-args.
Last update: 2004-09-25