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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk System 10.4
Tiger only hintWithout a Universal binary, Mac OS X 10.4 System Administrators like myself must effectively double their responsibilities and maintain two operating systems, one for each platform. Ideal would be an OS X system which is Universal, and therefore able to boot both Intel and PowerPC Macs. Apple is probably releasing a Universal binary Mac OS X 10.5, but can we wait? No!

My goal was to try to create a Universal binary Mac OS X System in an easy way, so other System Administrators or interested people can also recreate it. I started by reformatting an external FireWire drive on an iMac G5, and created four partitions on it:
  1. 10 GB "MacOSX PPC"
  2. 10 GB "MacOSX INTEL"
  3. 10 GB "MacOSX UNIVERSAL"
  4. 70 GB "Spare"
I then copied a G5 iMac's OS X 10.4.5 System onto the MacOSX PPC partition, and an Intel Mac's OS X 10.4.5 System onto its appropriate MacOSX INTEL partition. This can be done such that you can actually boot from both partitions, as shown by Jonathan Rentzsch and by this hint posted here previously. Now we only need a way to combine the two systems into one. Is it possible? Yes it is!

After I read this very interesting article from Andrew Mortenson, wherein he describes how he succeeded in creating a bootable Universal binary Mac OS X System with Radmind, I figured that there could maybe be an easier way to accomplish this.

Based on the assumption that all the important system parts are already Universal binary, and that the Intel 10.4.5 System is only missing some hardware-specific files for the PowerPC platform, one could maybe clone OS X Intel on top of OS X PowerPC. That way, all the PowerPC-only kext files, etc., would be replaced with Universal binary files. Other system files, specific to the PowerPC platform, would be left alone..

I tried it and it worked! The procedure was very easy, since I had already prepared an external FireWire disk with four partitions as described above. From there, I just did this:
  1. I booted an Intel iMac, and connect my external FireWire disk. I then cloned the MacOSX PPC partition to the MacOSX UNIVERSAL partition on the FireWire Disk, using CarbonCopyCloner (in file copy mode).
  2. After that, I cloned the MacOSX INTEL partition on top of the files from the PowerPC partition on the MacOSX UNIVERSAL partition, also in file copy mode.
  3. I then selected the MacOSX UNIVERSAL partition as the startup volume in the Startup Disk pane in System Preferences, and restarted. The MacOSX UNIVERSAL partition booted the Intel iMac without any problems.
  4. I then connected the external FireWire Disk to a PowerPC iMac, started it up, and pressed the Option key immediately. After a few seconds, I got a screen where I could choose which system to boot from. I again chose MacOSX UNIVERSAL as the startup volume, and found that the PowerPC iMac booted just fine.
That's it; a single universally bootable OS X system...

Caution: I do not recommend using this image for production or mass deployment. This hint is only intended for Administrators, since update mechanisms may fail, and Apple could change something at any time such that this Universal binary image may not work anymore!
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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk | 13 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk
Authored by: lukasha on Mar 22, '06 07:37:35AM

I just ordered a 120GB 2.5" drive for my little Firewire case so that I can do this same kind of thing. I currently have a drive with a partition with the original Tiger install disk on it (so I can install from a hard drive instead of DVD), a partition with Tiger Server install on it, and a repair disk which I can boot off of and perform tests and maintenance with. With the bigger drive I hope to have a Tiger PPC Install partition, Tiger Intel Install partition, Tiger Server Install partition, a Universal repair disk partition, and a catchall partition with all the Software Updates and other programs and stuff that I put on computers. Since I own a copy of SuperDuper, I'll probably true to use it to build the Universal boot partition instead of Carbon Copy Cloner since it can update a disk image much quicker with only the differences.

Jeff



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk
Authored by: Coumerelli on Mar 22, '06 08:28:30AM

A word of caution using SuperDuper! in this application - It adds AND deletes files not on the 'original'. I tried to SuperDuper my server drive (from drive 'A' to drive 'B'), but didn't want to take the time to copy ALL the user folder's files so I left them out. Then when I wanted to bring the system back to how it was when I used super duper (smart copy from drive 'B' to drive 'A') it deleted all the user folders on the server that I had left out! Because they weren't on the backup. There maybe a setting to allow this, but I just wanted to let you know about that scenario.

Otherwise a GREAT hint with a niche application.

---
"The best way to accelerate a PC is 9.8 m/s2"



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk
Authored by: aroubini on Mar 22, '06 10:53:46AM

Anyone suppose there would be any downside to performing this process with tiger server as the PPC install, and then cloning the intel client install on top of it. I'm trying to figure out how to best integrate a mac mini dual core into a multi-computer home environment and having access to the portable home folders on tiger server would be ideal. Its hard to see where the pitfalls might be, but its worth a try I think.



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk
Authored by: daveschroeder on Mar 22, '06 11:31:30AM

It's very unlikely this would work beyond just getting you a universally bootable system.

it's likely that some of the Mac OS X Server-specific components would be broken, and you wouldn't be able to (easily) update to, for example, Mac OS X Server 10.4.6 when it comes out (whereas you could use the Intel client updates on a non-Server installation, since all of the Intel updates are universal).

You're better off waiting until there's an actual Intel version of Mac OS X Server as well, at which point you'll still have to jump through all these hoops to make a universal installation.



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk - usb vs firewire
Authored by: zahadum on Mar 22, '06 11:08:52AM

this is a great workaround for a universal system until apple fixes this in leopard (and so many other tiger gotchas).

but one note of frustration regarding the boot drive -- unless one is willing to have a bulky 3.5" device to lug around, a 'mobile' a formfactor is the most practical approach.

but for some silly reason, none of the 'mobile' devices (2.5" winchester & slim dvd burners) are not avail with combo (usb/fw) interfaces. The oems force you to choose between only fw or only usb!

of cousrse we all know (but cant fathom) why apple dropped support for usb booting on ppc macs (avail in classic but not in osx); so that leaves fw as the only way to boot macs x-platform.

but the penalty for this arbitrary limitation on boot interfaces is that a precious fw port is consumed on the host machine - which are in short supply on new macs (part of apple's bizzare campaign to destory the viability of fw - eg on ipods); and fw is not widely avail on pc's, so one is sort of stranded (or saddles with extra gizzmos) if one picks a fw-only boot solution.

It would be so sweet to see 'mobile' dvd & 2.5" harddrives come with both ports (usb2 fw400 & fw800) ...

... while we are at it, a SATA & ethernet/NAS port would make great sense as well!

(not to mention IR & BT ports to be able to 'tunnel' in support for RemoteControl/FrontRow, but that's another story ;-)

---
mailto:osxinfo _at_ yahoo.ca



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk - usb vs firewire
Authored by: sfn on Mar 22, '06 11:47:54AM
Maybe this will help: USB2/FW 2.5 drive

---
-sfn

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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk - usb vs firewire
Authored by: ershler on Mar 23, '06 07:19:17PM

Here's another option.

http://www.shop4tech.com/?go=view_item&id=1813&r=184



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk - usb vs firewire
Authored by: robdandrea on Mar 24, '06 04:41:45AM

There are many manufacturers of 2.5 drive enclosures that sport both USB and FireWire, Lacie being one of them. Of course, you'll pay a bit more to have to daul interface but in my opinion, it's well worth the cost.



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk - usb vs firewire
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on May 16, '07 01:49:56AM

OS 10.4.6 (and maybe one or two earlier point versions) and later WILL boot from a PPC Mac's USB port--Apple apparently relented. One limitation: You can't select it for booting in the Startup Disk Prefpane (it will just beep at you)--you have to select it from the Startup Manager, which you invoke at startup by holding down the Option key right after powerup or restart. I've confirmed this works on a slot-loading 350 MHz iMac that didn't even have Firewire ports. The iMac's firmware was version 4.1.9 (which it needs to be anyway, to allow OS X to work on the slot-loading iMac). I didn't test USB OS X booting on an even older, tray-loading iMac, nor did I test booting from a 2.5" USB drive enclosure, nor did I test USB OS X booting on the last of the PPC Macs, so I don't know what the story is there.



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk
Authored by: skapplin on Mar 22, '06 08:12:25PM

There is an important drawback to this suggestion. Not everyone has both PPC and Intel copies of the same version of OS X. For example, my Tiger DVD has version 10.4. My MacBook Pro DVD has 10.4.5. I would have to do full installs of each version, updating the PPC version via the Combo Updater. But now I don't have a universally bootable installer.



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk
Authored by: Rolkoff on Mar 22, '06 08:46:43PM

Personally I would rather keep the two partitions separate so I can update both further down the track when new hardware requires a new OS. We have about 10 dual bootable FW drives all running 10.4.5, when 10.4.6 is released I will apply the PPC/Intel combo updaters to all drives and any new hardware (ibooks etc) released soon, will be supported by those drives, without having to re-image.

IMHO, a better way to do it long term until a true universal is released.



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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk
Authored by: kainewynd2 on Apr 04, '06 12:39:42PM

I used a 15" G4 PowerBook and a MacBook Pro on this and at the end the PPC laptop booted, but could not load the Finder correctly.

Perhaps I did something wrong, but it seems that I might hold off on this for Leopard and just bite the bullet unless there was a step above that I missed; below is my process (in Wiki form ;))

==To Build a Universal Mac Image (Intel/PPC)==
===Intel===
# Format MacBook Pro (Intel) with two HFS+ partitions, Macintosh HD and INTELMac, and do a fresh install with:
## Printer Drivers
## Additional Fonts
## Language Translations
## X11
# Setup Assistant
## Connect to Wireless
## Register with: University; Helpdesk phone number
## Primary Use: College; Description: Other
## Name: ITS Mac Admin; username: itsmacadmin
# Run Software Update
## Restart
# Download Carbon Copy Cloner from xserver as itsadmin (not domain account)
## Clone Macintosh HD to INTELMac
## Empty Trash
## Shutdown

===PPC===
# Format 15" PowerBook G4 (PPC) with two HFS+ partitions, Macintosh HD and PPCMac, and do a fresh install with:
## Printer Drivers
## Additional Fonts
## Language Translations
## X11
# Setup Assistant
## Connect to Wireless
## Register with: University; Helpdesk phone number
## Primary Use: College; Description: Other
## Name: ITS Mac Admin; username: itsmacadmin
# Run Software Update
## Restart
# Download Carbon Copy Cloner from xserve as itsadmin (not domain account)
## Clone Macintosh HD to PPCMac
## Empty Trash
## Shutdown

===Merging===
# Hook PPC Mac to MacBook via target disk mode
## Clone INTELMac to PPCMac
## Boot from PPCMac on Intel machine via firewire... works
## Boot from PPCMac on PPC machine... dies a fiery death when Finder attempts to load...

===Future Work===
# Find out why it failed on the PPC machine.
# Fix number 1
# Try again



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Affects a large number of files!
Authored by: hofbauer on Jul 03, '07 06:20:39AM

My backup system involves mirroring the entire disk of my PowerBook G4 from time-to-time onto an external FireWire disk (Apple Partition Tabel format) using Carbon Copy Cloner, and daily backups (with history) using the fabulous rsnapshotx. So in case the internal disk dies, I can boot off of the external disk and continue.

The PowerBook is now replaced by a MacBook Pro, and I wanted to make the system (and backup) a Universal OS X as described above, so that in case the MacBook Pro dies, I can as a backup still use the PowerBook (booting from the external backup drive). Sounds quite useful. :-)

As the MacBook is my production system, I wanted to know what files are actually merged into the Intel System to make it (supposingly) universal. So this is what I did:

1) Install Intel-OS X on MacBook Pro and make all updates (10.4.10).

2) Install PPC-OS X on external FireWire drive (I could have also done this onto the internal PPC disk, but I still need what is there at the moment). Also make all updates (10.4.10).

3) Hook external FireWire drive onto MacBook Pro.

4) Find out what files are in the PPC-OS X installation that are not in the Intel-OS X installation:
sudo rsync --dry-run --ignore-existing --extended-attributes --verbose --archive --max-delete=0 /Volumes/LaCie\ PPC/ / > rsync.log

The plan was to remove the "--dry-run" part of the above command to copy all missing files into the Intel-OS X to make it universal (without overwriting anything that is already there).

However, the above command shows that the number of PPC-only files that would be merged into the Intel-System is around 53000 (!!!). These files are all-over the place (Applications, Library, Systems, CoreServices, ...).

I decided to not to proceed further (I need a reliable production system and can live without the unversal boot), so I cannot confirm if this would work or not.

However I conclude that the differences between an Intel and PPC OS X are not only a few missing drivers (as suggested in the references cited in the original article), but a large number of files at numerous locations.

/Konrad



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