Testing stuff with QEMU - Part 4: Debian GNU/Linux on PowerPC

Debian PowerPC in QEMU, screenshot 1
Debian PowerPC in QEMU, screenshot 2
It's been a while since my last blog post, and also quite a while since my last item in the "Testing stuff with QEMU" series, so here goes.

I'm using this QEMU image to do compile-tests on the PowerPC architecture for various software projects, especially flashrom (open-source flash ROM programming software).

So here's how to install Debian GNU/Linux on PowerPC (in QEMU):

  1. Install QEMU:
    $ apt-get install qemu
  2. Create a (resizable) image which will hold the installed OS. Use the relatively new "qcow2" QEMU image format, which will only take up as much space as is really needed and has some other nice features (compression, encryption).
    $ qemu-img create -f qcow2 debian_powerpc.qcow2 2G
  3. Download a Debian installer ISO for PowerPC:
    $ wget http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/archive/5.0.8/powerpc/iso-cd/debian-508-powerpc-netinst.iso
    Note: For some reason, the current Debian stable ISO didn't work for me (red screen with undefined error during the install; didn't look into the issue, yet). Using an older 5.0.8 image worked fine.
  4. Install Debian in the QEMU image:
    $ qemu-system-ppc -hda debian_powerpc.qcow2 -boot d -cdrom debian-508-powerpc-netinst.iso
    The installation is nothing really special, you'll know almost everything from your usual x86 installation procedure. Note that you have to use "qemu-system-ppc" (not your usual "qemu"), of course.
  5. After the install has finished, shut down QEMU; from now on you can boot it with:
    $ qemu-system-ppc -hda debian_powerpc.qcow2

See the screenshots for some system info. By default an OpenBIOS firmware and the quik bootloader is used, the emulated "machine" is g3beige (Heathrow based PowerMAC). You can use QEMU's -M and -cpu options to select different machines or CPUs.

Hope this helps.


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debian-6.0.3-powerpc-netinst.iso works

I was able to install using the squeeze netinst iso and qemu 1.0

Lenny/Squeeze disk images for qemu

You can save the time needed for installation by downloading preinstalled images from http://people.debian.org/~aurel32/qemu/powerpc/.

also problems with the actual squeeze iso

I used the actual ppc-iso for squeeze (6.x.x) , as i already had it, and also had problems. The keyboard settings during installation where not correct, and i could not type passwords or user-name.
Taking the 5.0.8 iso mentioned above solved that problem.