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 PostPost subject: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:16 pm 
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Anyone come across one of these?

Looking for any software related items, or hard drive images/recoveries

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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:56 pm 
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That is a early Xbox 360 Dev kit. You see, to cut costs, Microsoft used PowerMac G5s, which has the same quad-core processor, the IBM G5 PowerPC.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:40 pm 
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From what I read, they use a custom ROM instead of OpenFirmware. I was looking for the same thing, a PPC-LE bootloader for Windows NT, but Veneer.exe is still the only one.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:45 pm 
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It's been discussed here before as well.

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=33201&p=386985&hilit=xenon#p386985

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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:27 am 
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hm I was curious if it used a regular open firmware or not. The Xbox Alpha I believe used a different bios in order for it to work also


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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:32 am 
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Cyros wrote:
hm I was curious if it used a regular open firmware or not. The Xbox Alpha I believe used a different bios in order for it to work also

By the looks of the thread mentioned by mrpijay, it seems to surprisingly use OpenFirmware, as the Xenon Alpha kit owned by user Dandu had Mac OS X on it. It would be interesting to see what would happen when someone tries to run the software that came with the kit on a normal Mac.
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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:29 am 
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I don't see why a Mac Pro would use a custom build firmware for Xenon development when it's most likely the software that makes the development. They most likely had specialised software that could run the software rather than the entire machine was custom built (including OF) just for development, especially since the hardware is similar yet different. And considering it can run OSX without any issues only strengthens this theory as OSX wouldn't run or load if it had some custom firmware on it. OSX is picky even between OpenFirmware revisions and versions, so having OSX to run flawlessly with a custom one is unlikely. Or the firmware was reflashed which is of course possible, but I don't see why it would be beneficial with reflashing the firmware when you can just run it as-is with minimal changes to the development tools instead, or even use partial virtualisation to virtualise the hardware that isn't native in the Mac Pro.

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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:15 pm 
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I managed to get a hold of XDKRecoveryXenon0615. It contains the files needed to run on the sdk itself. One thing I would like to try and find in this exe is what partitions and directories the files get copied to on the dev kit hard drive. This remote recovery is looking to ftp the files it seems. Maybe if we can reparation a hard drive to match that of the dev kit. could be similar to x360 hdd partition? and drop the according files there and point open firmware to boot somehow? Or would it be possible to make this into a bootable iso? that would be cool for someone to test on an Apple G5. If we figure it out dandu can test it on his unt. I'm just not sure if the graphics card or anything else needs to be hardware specific to boot like the xbox alpha II needed certain specs

heres a screen shot

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Seems if you were to have a working unit, open firmware boots "xeboot" which is not included. I know other xbox 360 recoveries contain this file but not sure what the file itself contains. sinxe the xeboot on the alpha could have different settings because of the architecture but that im unsure of ill have to take a look. I'm going to give it another shot at asking the fellow with a working unit and see if he will spare just the xeboot file.

edit:
looks similar to 360 file explorer

.text:600038E8 0000000F C \\Device\\Cdrom0
.text:60003848 0000001F C \\Device\\Harddisk0\\MuEmulation0
.text:60003868 0000001F C \\Device\\Harddisk0\\MuEmulation1
.text:60003888 0000001D C \\Device\\Harddisk0\\Partition1
.text:600038A8 0000001D C \\Device\\Harddisk0\\Partition2
.text:600038C8 0000001D C \\Device\\Harddisk0\\Partition3
.text:60004BA0 0000001D C \\Device\\Harddisk0\\Partition0
.text:600038F8 0000001E C \\Device\\MediaBoard\\Partition0
.text:60004C00 0000001F C \\Device\\Harddisk0\\PhysicalDisk
.text:60003830 00000018 C disk0\\Partition3\\Devkit


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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:56 pm 
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mrpijey is right. MS, unlike many developers, is specialized in build software bridges so their software developments can run in generic and easy obtainable "development environment" hardware, almost without any modification in both hardware and the developed software piece. Them also will reutilize any technology them already own instead reengineering it, if they can.

For example, for the RPi2, they just ship in their IoT kit a generic RPi2 you can get in any store, and Win10 IoT for the RPi2 is just an standard Win10 ARM build, at least as bootmgfw and kernel respects. So, to load Win8/10 on them they emulate a full UEFI environment with ACPI on top of the normal broadcom firmware bundled with these things.

The same can be said about your well known NTLDR emulating ARC on top of BIOS (Emulation code is in the first bits of the file header, "Startup.com"), or VEENER emulating ARC on top of OF in the older PowerStacks, etc, etc. The point is, i also think and i'm sure "99%" thse kits did their magic in software only, using an isolated "bridge" module to boot the alpha developer kit in these G5 Macs, without any physical modification to Mac firmware.

Edit: A fast google search revealed a some light about this subject here and here. Indeed, loader name is XeBoot, a pretty standard XCOFF module. Also check that all the files are in a single 10 HFS partition, which is itself not recognized as bootable by "mac-boot" OF command... so probably it needs firmware environment variables set up to load the Xeboot executable. And yes, it can boot in normal retail Mac G5 machines, but only to certain firmware level it seems.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:40 pm 
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I like that break down, do you think the devkit is in hfs? not the xpartition? or are you talking about somethig different. and like you said it seems a newer open firmware wouldnt allow another user to boot. i hope someone can get one working. I couldnt find the xeboot file i found a site that someone found a recovery with the xeboot on it but he hasnt been active since 2008. whats an example of firmware variable, do you think a hard drive image could be re created. most files are there but obviously not all.

edit: nvm i read the link above about hfs


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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:27 pm 
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Cyros wrote:
I managed to get a hold of XDKRecoveryXenon0615.


Please upload this XDKRecoveryXenon0615 somewhere!

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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:10 pm 
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My guess for custom firmware comes from a single place: booting Apple's OpenFirmware with little?=true (little endian mode) fails spectacularly. You need to do a hardware NVRAM bypass (the long PowerButton press thingy).
This is the actual reason for which Veneer.Exe from Windows NT 4.0 PPC edition fails. In the CHRP specification the little mode booting for PPC is clearly specified and I wasn't able to reproduce it.
That being said, Apple did some serious development in this area on their OpenFirmware implementation. It supports quite a few PC technologies: MBR, FAT, ISO9660 and it has a PE-COFF loader. It also has a boolean called nt-hack? with no clear purpose. My guess is that it might work if and only if you use a PCI Cirrus VGA adaptor (which NT 4.0 supports) and set a few properties.

If Microsoft wrote an OS loader that switches PPC endianness at runtime it might work, but OpenFirmware is not capable of doing something like that.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:51 am 
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The Distractor wrote:
Cyros wrote:
I managed to get a hold of XDKRecoveryXenon0615.


Please upload this XDKRecoveryXenon0615 somewhere!



it is the remote recovery, i believe you need to have the system installed already...


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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:43 am 
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Does anyone have a hdd with this os installed and would share that with us?
I got only the XDKRecoveryXenon0615.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:29 am 
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unfortunatley there are two known people with working units as they are collectors they do not want to part with "helping the world fix their xenon dev kits without the hard drive" they are afraid of fakes being sold online for a huge amount of profit. yet the history on the units themselves as they were each developed on by different companies. the history is the value imo. we have the bootloader dumped and currently working on dumping the dashboard which we have half of. just a matter of setting everything up correctly and creating a new hard drive image with correct partitions.


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 PostPost subject: Re: Xenon Alpha Mac Kit        Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:40 pm 
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Going to bump this, because more information, and specifically, a hard drive image has been released recently. I've posted this in another thread, but I figure putting it here as well could help people passing by this thread with interest.
The recently launched XenonWiki have provided along other information a guide on how to build a "FrankenXenon", a DIY Alpha G5 Kit, along with a hard drive image of a build of the XenonOS that will run on this system once properly equipped.
Now, don't expect to rush out and buy a PowerMac G5 to play 360 games on, it obviously won't just work. Their FAQ elsewhere on the Wiki even says that beta builds of 360 games from that time period might not even work on that build of XenonOS due to the large amount of changes made to its kernel over this time period. I do wonder if any of the 360 betas on the FTP will run on it. That said, it interestingly does have Original Xbox emulation, even if it's far from perfect and likely won't play a majority of games well if at all. I'm pretty stoked that this has finally been publicized, and I am definitely assembling a PowerMac G5 system to play with this at some point in the future.

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