Downloading: the latest version of BootX can be downloaded from
Benjamin Herrenschmidt's development page. BootX is
unmaintained, as it has not worked with new hardware for many years.
It should be noted that BootX became difficult to
maintain, and new machines are supported only by yaboot. Owners of Blue & White G3's and later MUST
use yaboot, BootX is incompatible with New World
BootX is a graphical bootloader that allows Linux to boot after the Mac OS
is running. (quik, on the other hand, is an Open
Firmware-based bootloader that runs without Mac OS.) There are two ways to run
BootX: as an application or as an extention. Both have the exact same
The only difference between the application and extension is that the
extension has a (ResEdit-configurable) timeout value, after which the default
OS (which the user defines) is chosen. If Linux is selected, BootX shuts down
the Mac OS, loads the Linux kernel into memory, and starts it running. If the
Mac OS is selected, BootX simply exits.
A brief description of the settings seen above:
- The kernel popup menu allows the user to choose from any of the
kernels installed in the "Linux Kernels" folder inside the System
- The root device text field is where the user enters the hard drive
and partition number Linux has been installed onto.
- The kernel arguments is where explicit commands can be passed to
the kernel. This is generally not necessary, but can be important.
- The No video driver checkbox tells the kernel not to use a native
Linux video driver and to use the basic one left by the Mac OS instead.
This causes a noticable performance hit, but is necessary for video cards
with buggy Linux drivers (like IMS cards).
- The Save to prefs button saves the current settings.
- The Options button brings up an additional dialog, seen below.
- See the BootX Readme for instructions on enabling the Set G3 cache
button (only used by G3 upgrade cards).
- Force SCSI ON forces all SCSI devices on before loading Linux. This
was an old hack that is no longer needed with recent kernels.
- Force video settings causes the Mac OS to apply the saved (Mac OS)
video settings before entering Linux. This is for machines that boot in
640x480 and only switch after BootX has been closed.
- Use specified RAM Disk is used to boot from a ramdisk in your
System Folder instead of from an installed Linux partition. This is used to
install Linux for the first time.