OpenBSD/macppc runs on the PowerPC-based Macintosh systems from the ``New World'' family, i.e. all Apple computers from the iMac to current models. It does not run on any unsupported models.

A mailing list dedicated to the OpenBSD/macppc port is available at ppc@openbsd.org. To join the OpenBSD/macppc mailing list, send a message body of "subscribe ppc" to majordomo@openbsd.org. Please be sure to check our mailing list policy before subscribing.

Table of contents


The OpenBSD/macppc port started as OpenBSD/powerpc, and was initially focused on Motorola computers with Open Firmware, and VI Power4e boards. This port was eventually thrown away after OpenBSD 2.5 was released. As a result there was no OpenBSD/powerpc port for the 2.6 and 2.7 releases. In the meantime, a new port was started, focusing on Apple hardware, and based on code from NetBSD/macppc, and after a lot of work from Dale Rahn, OpenBSD 2.8 was released with a powerpc port. As work on the port continued, it was renamed to OpenBSD/macppc for 3.0. Support for the 64-bit G5 (running in 32-bit mode) was added in OpenBSD 3.9.

Current status:

Currently, all the hardware listed in the supported hardware section below boots multi-user, supports most, if not all, of the on-board devices, and is generally usable.

After the 4.0 release basic support for "Old World" machines was committed. Most machines are able to netboot and completing bootloader support is in progress.

The X Window System is supported on all MacPPC systems. Most ATI graphics adapters and some NVIDIA graphics adapters are supported by accelerated X servers. The graphics adapters not supported by an accelerated driver can be used by X in frame buffer (unaccelerated) mode, at the boot resolution and color depth using the wsfb driver (installed by default).

Directions on enabling the accelerated X server can be found in the /usr/X11R6/README file on the installed system.

Supported hardware:

Supported models

PowerPC-based Macintosh systems are divided into "Old World" and "New World" systems, the difference being the design of the system ROM. Only "New World" machines are currently supported. Known compatible systems include the following:

To help us improve the accuracy of this list, PLEASE send your dmesg after installation to dmesg@openbsd.org.

Supported peripherals

Unsupported Hardware

Getting and installing OpenBSD/macppc:

The latest supported OpenBSD/macppc release is OpenBSD 5.7. Here are the OpenBSD/macppc 5.7 installation instructions .

Snapshots are made available from time to time, in this location as well as in a few mirrors. Here are the OpenBSD/macppc snapshot installation instructions as well.

There are several installation media provided:

Multiboot/Shared HFS disks:

Having OpenBSD multiboot, or share, a disk with Mac OS X/Mac OS 9 is possible as long as the disk is first partitioned with the Mac OS utility, Drive Setup (Mac OS 9) or System Disk Utility (Mac OS X). Unallocated space, or a partition not in use, must be left for OpenBSD's use. Since OpenBSD is only able to boot from an HFS (not Mac OS X UFS) filesystem, the first partition must be formatted as HFS or HFS+, not UFS, to be able to boot OpenBSD.

Please refer to the installation instructions for more details on how to install a shared disk. Standalone (no Mac OS present) installation is also supported.

Boot device considerations:

Modern MacPPC systems have two IDE interfaces (called Ultra and IDE), each of which can have two devices on them (ultra0, ultra1, ide0, ide1). When multiple drives are present in the system, there are limitations of which drives can be configured as the OpenBSD root drive. Invalid configurations will not be able to properly detect which drive is the root drive, so any attempt will either prompt for a root drive or fail.

Known Problems

Other Features