How to successfully install Mac OS X 10.3 on Beige G3s
First of all, here are the specs of my machine:
Sonnet 400 MHz G4 upgrade w/ 1 MB L2 cache
768 MB RAM
40 GB IDE drive
4 GB 10,00RPM Cheetah SCSI drive
Apple UltraSCSI card
USB/Firewire PCI card
Toshiba DVD drive
Built-in Zip drive
Rev. A ROM
These instructions are based upon this machine. If you have any problems on a differently-abled Beige G3, please let me know so we can work towards a more complete Howto. This may or may not work with other Mac models. It should, but there may be other idiosyncrasies I don't know about. Keep in mind 10.3 will only work on G3 and above processors, so older machines will *not* work unless they have a G3 or G4 upgrade installed. Also, XPostFacto a17 has some preliminary support for the built-in video of Beige G3s, but I haven't tested it as of yet. I am doing all video on the Radeon 7000 for now, as I had problems with the built-in video on earlier versions of XPF. It may work, it may not. I'll probably test this soon so that I can get back my dual monitor setup. On to the install.
First and foremost start up from an OS 9 CD, and partition your drive such that the first partition is less than 8 GB. If your drive is smaller than 8 GB, this isn't really an issue, but I would highly suggest having OS 9 and OS X on different partitions. Less than 8 GB is going to get pretty cramped pretty quick, though, so I also suggest getting a bigger HD. That being said, you probably only *need* 3 or 4 GB to get everything working.
In my case, I made the first partition 7.5 GB, and left the rest of the drive (32 GB or so) as the second partition. Install OS 9 on the second partition (not the less than 8 GB one). Start up your machine in OS 9, download XPostFacto from here and put it somewhere on your OS 9 partition. Put in your OS X 10.3 disc and start XPostFacto (XPF). Select the OS X CD and the partition you want to install X on and click the Install button. What this does is install the modified kernel extensions and a modified BootX onto the partition you want to install X on, and uses them to boot the CD. Installation should be normal, make sure you don't format the partition you are installing to, as this will erase the modified extensions and BootX. If you *do* accidentally format before you install, all is not lost, though. Boot back into OS 9 and run XPF. Choose the X partition and hit the Restart button. It will reinstall the needed extensions and boot you into X.
If you ever need to get back to OS 9, you can use XPF to do so, or hold Option at startup. This comes in handy when doing the next part of the installation.
You should have a working install of X on your machine now, but it is probably slow as molasses in the winter. This is because the cache isn't enabled. Amazing what 512 KB or 1 MB can do, huh? There are three methods of fixing this, and from everything I've read, it's kind of a crap shoot as to which one will work. The software supplied by different CPU upgrade manufacturers will work on other companies upgrades, so even if you have a Powerlogix upgrade, the Sonnet solution may work best for you. Here are the three possibilities, followed by how to fix it if your machine breaks.
1) The easy way. Though it probably won't work. Start XPF and hit the Options button. Then make sure "Enable L2/L3 Cache" is checked, close the Options dialog, and hit Reboot. This will most likely result in a kernel panic at startup, but it may work for you. I got the kernel panic. If you do boot without the kernel panic, the way to tell if cache is enabled is to go to About This Mac under the Apple menu and click More Info... at the bottom. When the profiler comes up, it should list cache under the CPU type and such. If it doesn't, it isn't working.
To fix it if it's broken: Boot back into OS 9 by holding down Option at boot, start up XPF, hit the Options button, uncheck the "Enable L2/L3 Cache" option, close Options, choose the X partition, hit Restart.
2) The Sonnet way. Sonnet supplies software called Sonnet X Tune-up, which is located here. It is currently at 1.2.7, but there is a version 1.2.8 that works better for this application. The 1.2.7 version installs extensions which aren't compatible with 10.3, so if you use that, you have to use XPF to reinstall the newer extensions over the Sonnet supplied ones. 1.2.8 isn't available on their website, but it is available here by request. There is no direct link. Just explain that you want it to try 10.3 on your older Mac, and they should send it to you. I have it already, but I can't post it as of now as they haven't given me permission to do so. If I hear back from them, I will upload it here to AF. After you install 1.2.8, restart the machine. Either it will work and it will boot much faster, or you will get a kernel panic. I got a kernel panic. Again, if it boots, you can check to see if the cache is enabled in the profiler.
To fix it if it's broken: Boot back into OS 9 by holding down Option at boot, do a find for "SonnetCache.kext" and delete it. Use XPF to restart back into X.
3) The Powerlogix way. Powerlogix supplies software called CPU Director, located here. There is also a seemingly newer version here, but I used the 1.4f1 version. Perhaps the 1.5f2 version is better, I will investigate. Run CPU Director once it is downloaded. It will ask if you want to install PLKEXT; say yes. Once it has started, go to the L2 and L3 tabs and make sure the cache is set to On, and also check the Enable on Startup checkbox. This should enable your cache once your machine has booted. It doesn't enable it at boot time AFAIK, though, so booting will still be slow. Once your machine is booted it will be nice and fast. There have been those who have problems with this software too, though. It may give you an error about PLKEXT crashing, but it will still let you re-enable it. Annoying, but not fatal.
To fix it if it's broken: It can't break your system (at least not AFAIK). It just will or won't work.
For the report on this and other cache-related problems, check out this thread on OWC's website. They go over some troubleshooting stuff there. The XPF or Sonnet way seems to be the best as far as usability, considering it speeds up boot times significantly, but the CPU Director software is definitely the safest way.
Any errors or addendum should be directed to me so that I can fix them in the Howto. Hope it works for you!