GNU-Darwin Net Installation Notes

Dr. Michael L. Love, 2001.10.06

Warning: These instructions are still a work in progress and may contain inaccuracies or omissions. Be sure to read the APSL and the GPL, so that you will know your rights. Send any email regarding this document to (Dr. Michael Love). Please remember that we are in alpha, so this procedure is for the adventurous. Almost all the packages work, but there are still many problems. Join the project, if you want them fixed!

proclus writes:
Prior to having the installer script that is used in these directions, I used the following procedure for Darwin-only installations, which was working quite well.

In order to install GNU-Darwin, you must have a free partition or hard drive with at least 2 GB of disk space.

Also, you should have your assigned IP address, as well as those of your gateway and nameservers. These instructions assume that you know how to edit text under Unix. (Either learn vi or emacs :-)

  1. Get Darwin

    Get the Darwin base installation: Go to and get the most recent package. At this time, you must register with Apple and agree to APSL before you download the software. Alternatively, you can burn your own GNU-Darwin bootable installer CD, or you can simply get the distribution (and many other usful things) on The Darwin Collection CD set. Install Darwin on your free partition, according to the installation instructions that come with the base installation.

  2. Reboot

    If you would like to see a Unix-style startup, hold down the following keys when the reboot starts : command-option-O-F. When the Open Firmware prompt appears, type the following:

    setenv boot-args=-v

    When you reboot again, hold down the option key to select your Darwin OS installation. If you have set the "-v boot argument, then you will be able to monitor the progress of the Darwin boot processes.

  3. Login

    When the login prompt appears, type "root" and hit return. Welcome to Darwin!

  4. Run the GNU-Darwin base net-installer

    Based on some experience with several Darwin-only installations, a net installer script has been generated. It is alpha and untested, so if it doesn't work, then use it as a guide. It can be easily modified for Darwin v. OSX installations. Darwin-x86 users should not run the essential_binaries section of the script, but the configuration commands should work fine. For x86 software, check out our latest addition. gdNet-install will download a file called getPackages, which can be modified for custom minimal installations. The old "minimal install" instructions may be helpful, or you can use this custom installation procedure for designing your own custom distribution based on getPackages. First, download gdNet-install to your home directory.

    Edit the file, and set the following variables to appropriate values, IPnumber, Router (also known as gateway), NameServer, hostname, and user_name. Install wget and set the goto lines according the directions in the file. Then, run the script with "source gdNet-install", so that the program will exit if it encounters an error. If you run into problems with the net installer, please email us. The GNU-Darwin base file directory for OSX.1 and Darwin-1.4.1 contains less than 215mb, without Qt, a ports tarball, or the Fink base files and packages. Add those things, and the base directory is still only 437mb.

    We plan to use this script for many future installations, and to improve it as we go along. Please feel free to contribute any suggestions or improvements, for example; it might be nice to read command line options into a goto line with $0, $1, $2, etc, so that the script could be used for adding additional users, updating the locate database, restoring network settings, etc.

  5. Logout; login...

    Log out by pressing ctrl-D, then login as the new user.

  6. Start your FREE GUI

    Start your FREE GUI according to the instructions at If you want to try WindowMaker, just type "wmaker.inst", then "startx". Then, the real fun begins!

  7. Install additional packages

    The GNU-Darwin base install includes about 200 packages, which you can check with pkg_info, or by looking in /var/db/pkg. If you would like to install additional packages, then follow the package installation instructions. Skip to step 4. Also, The Darwin Collection CD set (TDC) provides 2000 packages, which are compatible with this system. Finally, the GNU-Darwin Download News page tracks exciting new packages and GNU-Darwin capabilities.

  8. Try the ports collection.

    Follow the GNU-Darwin porting engine instructions. TDC also provides porting tools on disc 4, and we try to track important changes to the GNU-Darwin source tree on the Developer's news page.

  9. If you still have questions, try posting a message to the one of the discussion forums.
        GNU-Darwin-ports for discussion of the GNU-Darwin porting engine.
        Using The GNU-Darwin Distribution

Check out The Darwin Collection CD set.
Michael L. Love/proclus/GNU-Darwin link block

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