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.

Mailing Lists/IRC

Yaboot has the following mailing lists: There exists an irc channel #yaboot on irc.freenode.net.

Distribution Packaging

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 from source.
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 source.


The most current prerelease test version of yaboot can be found at http://penguinppc.org/bootloaders/yaboot/testing/

Development Status

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 following steps:
tar -zxvpf yaboot-X.Y.Z.tar.gz
cd yaboot-X.Y.Z
make install
If you do not have the gcc compiler available you can optionally download the binary dist and install it using the following command:
su -
cd /
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 Free software under the GPL.
Download yaboot:
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Changes since 1.3.12:
Changes since 1.3.11:
Changes since 1.3.10:
Changes since 1.3.9:
Changes since 1.3.8:
Changes since 1.3.7:


Ethan Benson, erbenson@alaska.net
Last update: 2004-09-25