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Putting together my ultimate systems management machine


So the last few weeks in playing with my switch, macs, and other assorted bits of equipment, I have collected many different configurations, os images, hard drive backups, and flash files. Now, years ago I had a netbook, still do, that was my config and image storage/retrieval machine. And it did the job well. However, its based on an atom N270 and no os except rolling or slackware supports 32 bit solidly anymore, and theres no telling when slackware will drop 32 bit support, nor do I feel like keeping the damn thing up to date.

So this morning I roll over, grab my macbook 4,1, and start going through the forum. Then, the thought ocurred to me.

Why don’t I just make it the management machine? I don’t use it often enough to justify it needing to be up to date, nor can it really do that much in the first place with its core 2 due 7100 clocked at just 2.1 ghz. If you don’t know, my standard lowest clock rate on any machine, unless dual processor, is 2.4ghz. This is set so that I have a good amount of performance to work with even on ancient old machines.

So today I’ll be taking the steps to make this laptop the ultimate management machine for the rest of my hardware. This will involve choosing a version of osx to run, installing it, installing the tools and assets I need, and reporting general performance. This machine will also basically act as an image server, but in all logistical sense it’ll write to usb’s more often than to network drives. Though, I will note, if its possible to run a pxe server atd an ftp server on it and not lose a massive amount of performance, so be it. I’ll set those up.

Aremis, why not a ppc laptop? You love those so much!

The idea here is for a general machine that I won’t use often that will suffice for image backups, data recovery, pushing and pulling configurations, writing to usb’s, and possibly act as an ftp host at times when physical transfers cannot happen due to stability issues. Not to have something new, or super fast, or with usb3, or whatever. General as fuck.

Also, when more prominant void images pop up, or when packages can be better ported, my powerbook will be my main laptop. I’d rather not turn it into basically an appliance.

What sorta machines will this be used on?

Mell soon I’ll have a few more catalyst 3750’s plopped around the house, so it’ll have a lot of use on those. As well, most of my desktops, except 3, as well as servers and minor appliances are, and will be for a while, macs. Now, they don’t all run osx. In fact my mac pro 3,1 will be running manjaro here soon if I can get it to cooperate, and my 1,1 will be running pfsense. But again, that file transfer mode is absolutely invaluable to me. I have this thing about standardizing hardware. Keeps the infrastructure stable. Never macs may have ft, but they don,t have firewire. As well, my dev machines are mostly ppc based macs, albeit one being a sun machine but no matter, and often I break shit because I’m a dumbass. Rather than pulling out the ol’ drive craddle and breaking my back moving the behemoth’s, I hold T, plug in firewire, and retrieve whatever the hell data it is I need.

Yall are honestly missing out.

Why osx? Use linux!

File transfer mode on my mac pro’s and g5. Thats the main reason I have them. I don’t have to pull drives out, don’t have to move the ungodly heavy cases alound, its just as simple as plugging in a keyboard and hitting t. From my attempts previously, linux has no idea what to even do with a machine that has become a massive fw400/800 hard drive.

But my opinion! You’re doing this wrong!

I already have a general plan made up in my head, I just want to execute it. This minor project, like many I do, is not one I’d generally share because it takes 2 hours to setup and then viola I never touch anything on it again because it just works. If you have suggestions or constructive criticism, I’m open to any and all suggestions. If you’re just going to act like a jackass I will ask to have your posts moved.


So, heres the frame, as I call it, that we’re working with today.

Its relatively ok as a laptop, but not what I’d give a relative or anything like that. Battery is basically new, and anyone looking for a battery for this line of model’s should only buy from lumsing. I get a good 6 hours off of it and have had absolutely no issues with it.

General specs:

Core 2 due 7100 (maybe it was a 7200… 2.1 ghz anyways, all those chips are exactly the same)
3gb ram
500 gb hard drive
dvorak keyboard
all the ports I need in the world

First thing is first. I want osx 10.10 if I can help it. It has a lot of the tools I need baked in, has the updated version of disk manager, and runs with wery few issues, most of them being graphical. Since the most complicated thing this machine’s intel X3100 gpu will hawe to render is high resolution jpeg’s and maybe a gif, I’m not exactly worried about that. In fact if there was a terminal mode for osx I’d have that instead.

So anyways, atm I have tried to install 10.10 on this thing this morning using macpostfactor and having it install to the hard driwe first. That was a mistake. Since I’d newer used that feature I figure’d I’d try it. Well… now I can’t even boot back in to 10.9, nor into either of the recovery partitions. So I’ll be installing 10.6 and upgrading from there.

Though this also means I need another machine, and the kde login manager on netrunner in my thinkpad just blew up its config in an update and I can’t login. So FIRST I’ll be installing manjaro-awesomewm on it, then writing an iso for 10.6, then we’ll continue on this whole ordeal after that.





Alright well yesterday got eaten up by bullshit at the end of the day. So we’ll be continuing today. Post imminent.

I’m done working on other people’s fucking cars.

Next mother fucker that walks up to me with a car problem better have a pound of fucking weed to pay me with.



So I’ve had my time eaten by other people and now am dumping time into studies for an exam monday, but ATP I’ve been digging here and there when I have time to get the SMM to boot 10.10. It ain’t happening. So I have to think that 10.10 doesn’t like some board component so it fails to boot. Aggro as fuck, but its not like I have a 5,1 MBP or something.

Since I can’t run 10.10 reliably, I’m going to go back to using 10.9 on it. I also want to swap the drive thats in there for a different one that was in my sister’s laptop. Its a 640GB SSHD, so I’ll take that extra 140GB and make it a partition specifically. I have the 10.9 install still, so I’ll just clone it directly. Alternatively I’ll just be fat and delete the 10.10 partition externally.

No time to wrench on it right now, but I wanted to do a slight update here to maintain that I haven’t forgotten.

Note, this was supposed to be a 2 hour deal. Kinda annoying.

Edit: I’m going to completely redo my install and show you guys how to install 10.9 on old ass macbooks. I was hoping for 10.10 as a meme, but oh well. 10.10 is also where old apple died and new apple started.



So I can’t get OSX to boot off a USB. So I started going through a pile of macbooks that… to be honest I don’t remember working, and one spat out an OSX 10.6.3 disk.



I had a 10.6.0 disk and chucked it like a year ago

but uh




In fact if there was a terminal mode for osx I’d have that instead.

There is: it’s called FreeBSD :wink:



No, thats called using a different os. Osx lpecifically has tools that are built for other apple machines that I use in ways apple never intended lol.

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Right, so still not done yet, but running on the minimal. I currently don’t have 10.9 or 10.10 installed, but I do have 10.6. However, I’m arguing with myself if I even want 6. 10.5 has better communication between Intel and PPC machines, however all the versions I have access to will do basic data pulls, image writing, and config pushes over telnet. Though, I installed rosetta in 10.6 for ppc compatibility with apps and crap.


So it installed fine, after a large mental detour that eventually reminded me of dmg2img.


Updates, because yes.

Specs for those curious btw.

I was surprised to discover that google has an installer for 10.6 only. So that made that really really easy.

Moving data off of other drives / USB’s / ETC.

This actually took a relatively long time tbh. And I kept finding more and more to throw on it XD

Thought I’d also install some tools that I thought I’d be able to use no prob. We’ll get to that in a moment.

So this was my first bump. For starts, my mavericks image is bad D: I know it worked like… a month ago. I had a 10.9 install for a good bit. Can only think bitrot killed it, which sucks.

Next issue was MPF… It couldn’t see drive names. I think what happened was that my HDD had too many partitions or something, but never really figured that out. At that, its not really MEANT to run on 10.6. It works, but not reliably. Even though the only difference in 6 and 7 are the compatibility layers.

Worth a shot at the time, but didn’t work worth a shit.

So while I was waiting for a USB that wasn’t going to work, I went and grabbed tools and shit online that I was going to use. This includes XCode, macports, and brew, if brew wanted to even work.

Unfortunately Curl was fighting with me. So ATM I don’t have brew XD.

Did see how it’d do building nano tho.

Did fine.

It was at this point at the time that I thought the issue with MPF was that I was on 10.6. So I took my 10.9 partition and installed 10.7! I thought I’d have the install for all of 20 minutes, max.

Well MPF didn’t work. So I went back to the website that MPF came from, osx hackers, and grabbed MOE.

They had instructions, but they didn’t really help on the MOE side as it didn’t know what I was doing with so many partitions either.

At the end of it all, I’m still without 10.9. But ATP I’ve determined that its because of a bad image.

If anyone wants to send me one, I’ll never tell~

But, I have 10.6. So thats something.

Not done with this yet.

And if you’re wondering why I want 10.6 and 10.9, 6 has many useful tools for data work on PPC machines, where 10.9 has a lot of hacking tools made with it as the minimum OS. Mostly for hackintosh stuff.

Theres other stuff too that matters, but I’m tired x3

More coming when I have a good dmg / iso of 10.9.