I have an iMac and a G4, and on both of them I have the same problem: When booting pressing option, I am supposed to be able to select OS9 or OSX, but I am not. There is only the icon for OSX to select.
well, i believe you can specify which OS you want to boot by manually specifying the boot file from the OF prompt. it would look something like this:
for OSX. i m not sure which file is the boot file for OS9 (and i no longer run OS9, so i can t go looking for it), but one of the files in your System Foler (Mac OS 9) should work. maybe there is a BootX file in there?
in that command, replace hd with the OF device name of your boot volume. the number following it is the partition number of the OS. it will depend on how your system is installed. if OS9 is installed there will be more partitions than if it is not.
hold down option-command-O-F at startup to get to the OF prompt.
as to the question of whether it is possible for apple to include this functionality, in theory it is. they could assign a key to do a forth script that executes just what i described, and then update everyones firmware.
i don t think this will happen, however. the way the mac os boots, is to look for a blessed folder. this method is more reliable than just specifying a file name to boot.
since it is only possible to have one system folder blessed, there is no way to know that two OSes are bootable on one partition.
I'll tell you why I need to know: there is an Apple app called Open Firmware Password, which makes it impossible to use another startup disk or to use the machine as Target Disk.
This is great, but if the system is fucked, how do you then get at the disk? The software says that with a password you can boot from a different volume, but I don't have one. (And with new macs, how do you put a CD in a dead Mac anyway?)
(This is not theoretical, I had a fucked system recently because I used a corrupted JPEG as desktop image. I had to put the iMac into Target disk mode to fix it.)