HAH!!!!!! IT WORKED!
Here's the procedure I used. Very useful if your Mac came only with OSX 10.3.x media and you don't have a full OSX 10.4.x installation DVD; in my case I only have a 10.4.6 "upgrade" DVD, which requires that a previous Mac OS X installation be on the hard drive already. That isn't useful to me.
I got everything to fit in a 16 GB Flash drive; the disk image created of my HDD was under 6 GB! So now I have room to put in disk images of actual Linux installations later on! How sweet is that?! So you'll need at the very least an 8GB or larger USB flash drive to be able to follow all of the steps listed below. Please note that you still need your Tiger DVD (install DVD or upgrade DVD) to actually boot off of since there's a likelihood that your old G3 or G4 won't be able to boot off of a USB2.0 flash drive no matter how you partition or format it. So essentially, you'd only be using the flash drive to contain a saved hard disk image.
This might come across as common-sense to most seasoned/veteran OS X users... but I'm putting this procedure up anyway for people who don't have the luxury of a Firewire hard drive or a second PPC Mac to boot off of. Firewire equipped hard drives are becoming increasingly hard to come by in local computer stores, mind you....
1) Install your Mac OS X and upgrade to Tiger. Otherwise, if you have a full 10.4 Tiger DVD (or CDs), go ahead and install Tiger from them).
2) Boot into your new install of Tiger.
3) Install the following:
- X11; you already know that some apps you might install in the future might require it, so you might as well install it now and get it over with. X11 is on your Tiger DVD or in one of your 4 Tiger CD's (if you participated in Apple's CD exchange program).
- Any up-to-date web browser of your choice; in my case i downloaded the newest TenFourFox
- the most recent version of Carbon Copy Cloner
4) Once you've installed all of the above, go into Software Update from the Apple Menu and install every available update it finds for your Mac. Reboot as needed.
5) Repeat step 4 above as many times as needed up until the point where you can go into Software Update and it no longer finds any more updates for you.
6) Go to Apple's iTunes website and install the absolute latest iTunes for your computer. In my case, it was the very last one supported by my iMac G3. You should note that if you were to try this using Software Update, it won't be able to get iTunes for you. You have to do it the old fashioned way; log onto the website yourself, download and install iTunes.
7) Personalize and configure your network settings, date, time, location, and user accounts (and privileges).
8) Insert your USB flash drive (with at least 8GB of available space). Format it to HFS+ Journaled. In my case, I kept the option to install Mac OS 9 drivers enabled.... hey... you never know when you'll need it...
With regards on how to partition it, well... you can just put everything on one partition, but if you want to involve imaged Linux installs (that is, you've used a disk imaging program to make disk images of any given flavor of Linux that was already installed on your hard drive), you might want to keep those Linux hard disk images in a separate partition in a different drive format........ i haven't done that myself yet because I'm still learning.......
I already know about how some Linux distributions also do some weird crap about creating 2 or 3 additional partitions to store the swap (virtual memory) and whatever else separate from the actual Linux OS install partition. So yeah... if I get around to it, I'll let you know how I deal with it.....
9) Go into Carbon Copy Cloner. Under Source, select your hard drive in the pull down menu. In the pull down menu next to it (the one with an icon of a gray/black gear and a right arrow/triangle, select "Backup everything". For the destination, select "New disk image...".
Make sure that you specify the "READ-ONLY" option under Image Format. Save it to the formatted USB flash drive (do NOT save the image onto your hard drive and then drag it to the USB drive). The disk image should have the extension ".DMG" after the file name. Please note that the system folder that will be captured in the disk image will not be blessed.
Creating the READ-ONLY disk image took almost 8 f***-ing hours to do!!!! But I retract my hidden, four-letter swear word because in the end, it's worth it!! :-) I recommend that you do this at night and sleep on it while waiting for it to finish. When you get up in the morning, you'd have something that's pretty f***-ing sweet! (And this time, i'm not sorry for swearing!)
What you end up with is a Mac-formatted USB flash drive that has the most up-to-date installation of Tiger and some useful stuff... all of which can be restored onto a blank internal or external hard drive in about an hour and a half (or less) as opposed to having to go through the painless installation, reboot, update, reboot, update, reboot procedure.
Now if you ever need to restore your hard drive to have your up-to-date Mac OS Tiger installation:
1) simply insert your Tiger DVD or Tiger upgrade DVD and boot from it
2) wait until the Mac OS X installer appears then insert your USB flash drive
3) go into Disk Utility (from the Utilities menu) and select your hard drive
4) partition your hard drive to however you need or want it to be.
5) then select "Restore". Under Source, point to the saved disk image on your USB flash drive. Then click and drag your hard drive into the "Destination" field/text box. Select "Erase Destination" if you haven't formatted your hard drive already. And make sure "Skip Checksum" is enabled. Then click the "Restore" button right next to it.
For 5-6GB from a USB 1.1 or 2.0 flash drive, the restoration might take anywhere from an 1.5 to 2 hours.
Once the restoration has completed, eject your USB flash drive and reboot your Mac. Eject your Tiger DVD by clicking and holding down your mouse button during the reboot cycle (let go of the button when the DVD gets ejected).
You'll notice that you get a gray screen with a folder with the Mac OS icon blinking on and off along with a folder icon with a question mark. This indicates that the restored system was indeed not blessed
To repair this, simply boot from your Tiger DVD, and go into terminal. Once there, type in the following command:
bless -mount "/Volumes/Hard Drive Name" -setBoot
Please note that the double quotation marks are needed if your hard drive's name includes blank spaces. After performing the above command, you'll notice that you won't get any confirmation notice of any kind. Then, all you need to do is reboot your system and eject your installation CD/DVD (just like before).
Voilà! Your hard drive should now not only be bootable, but should contain all the updates and goodies you put into it!
Also note that if you want to skip the part about getting to the gray screen with the blinking Mac OS system folder, simply go into Terminal and type in the command I provided above to bless the hard drive...... THEN reboot.
I have thought about including Mac OS 9 somewhere in there, but that might make the whole thing take longer to do. I'd instead recommend that you start out with a hard drive that is partitioned in three. The 1st partition will contain OS X, the 2nd partition will contain OS 9.x.x, and the 3rd partition would be for file storage.
You can install OS 9.x.x from your CD onto the 2nd hard drive partition at any point after you've restored and blessed OS X on the 1st hard drive partition.
Alternatively, after having restored OS X, you can download Sheepshaver and might be able to use a bootable, read-only CD image of your Mac OS 9 install CD to install OS 9 onto the 2nd hard drive partition. Simply edit Sheepshaver's settings to boot off of the OS 9 CD image. Then you'd likely have to make sure the targeted partition is actually listed as one of the visible volumes to be made available to Sheepshaver when it starts up.
After all of that is done, you can have the luxury of either dual-booting between OS X and OS 9, launching "Classic" from within OS X, or even emulating OS 9 from within Sheepshaver (on top of OS X).
Apart from getting an external Firewire hard drive to boot off of, or even having a second PPC Mac to do a network or Firewire boot from (via target disk mode), well.... I'd argue that having a USB flash drive with all the OS X updates is the next best thing. Slow, yes, but I'd say it is still faster than installing from CD/DVD and then downloading all the updates (again) and installing them, rebooting, installing more updates (that weren't recognized the 1st or 2nd time around), rebooting, etc.