booting from disk on a rs6000 model 43p-150 SOLVED
A while back I sent a note to this list detailing my procedure for booting
my RS6K from the network. RE:
Now, I have a RS6K which boots from disk!
I could not have gotten this to work without the gracious help of
Hollis Blanchard, benh, and others in the #mklinux and #debianppc
channels on freenode.
Below is a copy of my unedited notes. For now, I am keeping a copy
of these notes at this URL:
Notes about linux on a RS/6000 Model 43p 150
These are my notes from working with linux on the 150. At this time, it is
unedited. If you are only interested in the settings/procedure for booting
from disk, skip to the bottom.
Things which should work and I was able to verify:
boot from network
boot from disk.
Things which should work but I was unable to verify:
How to access the openfirmware prompt:
Press F8 as soon you see hear the first beep and see the icons in
open firmware. The last icon shown at this time is the scsi icon. Later, the
speaker icon will display and it will play the first few notes of a song. If
you haven't pressed F8 by the time the song plays it is too late and it will
try to boot the OS.
How to access the openfirmware sms menu:
Notes about openfirmware:
location of the official reference:
In open firmware "boot disk" works with the kernel image at the top of the
linux src tree. ie. Use /usr/src/linux/vmlinux in conjunction with
yaboot to boot from disk. In open firmware, "boot net" works with the kernel
image in /usr/src/linux/arch/ppc/boot/images/zImage.chrp-rs6k
shows the device tree
show info about the current device node?
shows the pci functions
moves you to the /pci node.
takes you to the root node.
ls won't do anything now.
devalias shows the device alias list.
devalias can also be used to specify an alias.
In my setup, I have the following:
SCSI ID 3 = cdrom aka linux /dev/cdrom
SCSI ID 4 = disk1 aka linux /dev/sda
SCSI ID 5 = disk2 aka linux /dev/sdb
SCSI ID 6 = disk3 aka linux /dev/sdc
devalias disk /pci@80000000/scsi@10/sd@5,0
will set the boot disk to be disk2. Note, I could not get this setting
stick between power cycles. ie. I had to set it each time I powered on
and off the unit. Afterwards, I learned that you can set this using SMS
via the select boot sequence menu.
boots kernel via network using tftp. If you dont have the dhcpd server
running prior to issuing the boot net command, it will not work even
though it seems likes it trying to retry the operation. When I was
using tcpdump, I never saw any packets so I wonder what its doing.
Shows you the settings for a particular variable. You can issue the
command without arguments if you want to see all settings. Or, you
can issue the command with arguments if you want to see a particular
setting. ie. printenv boot-file will display only the value
of the boot-file variable.
setenv <variable> <value>
allows you to set a variable.
how do you interrupt the boot net command?
How do you unset a setenv string?
setenv boot-file <cr>
The box shipped with a Fire GL1 video card. I don't know what the model
number is but that's what it showed when I did a lspci. It worked well
in console except it didn't seem to scroll very fast. I also could not
get X to work with it.
I swapped it out with an ATI pci rage video card for mac. Since its a mac
it will show the openfirmware screen when the rs6k boots. I've been told
you can use a pc version card once you get to linux, but it will not display
the open firmware screens. Anyway, this card has a slightly different look
but it updates the screen faster. I have not been able to get it work with
X however. That is a todo.
Partition tools info:
fdisk, pdisk does not.
Actually, fdisk will work but it will complain about the AIX disk label.
Then it will not print the partition info created with cfdisk. So,
use fdisk to create the intial "dos label". Then use cfdisk later
if you want the simplicity of cfdisk.
yabootconfig will complain about a missing prep partition even though
it exists if the AIX disk label remains on the disk. ie. if you create
the partition using cfdisk you will lose. You must create the partition
Notes about getting package not found error:
Hit f1 to get sms menu.
Hit select software and get "word called in boot-manager package not found"
Failed to Boot
0 > _
The fix is to go to sms and select boot sequence. Make sure the first disk is
the one with yaboot installed.
Things which I found helpful to read (in order of relevance):
HOWTO-Booting with Yaboot on PowerPC
That is the exact title.
RS6000 yaboot notes by email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was in my yaboot docs dir on Debian linux. The file was
called README.rs6000 I used their exact partition scheme.
How to get the rs6k to boot from disk.
I probably did this the most insane way possible. I installed my rs6k
by first booting from net and used a floppy disk as my root filesystem.
Then I used a debian ppc cdrom to get my base install on the hard disk.
Because I didn't know how to partition the disk correctly, I had a working
root filesystem via the hard disk but it would not allow me to boot from the
See my debian mailing list post on how I did that.
Later, I created a proper partitioned disk on my second disk using the
README.rs6000 file described above as my guide. I used fdisk to create the
partitions because fdisk will erase the AIX label. (see note above about fdisk
After I had booted linux via network and partitioned the disk, I put linux in
single user mode and mirrored the entire filesystem (except /proc, /mnt, /tmp)
onto the second disk.
(My exact syntax was: tar -c `cat dirlist` -C /| tar -x -C /mnt/disk2)
Note, once I had the rs6k booting from disk2, I remirrored it back to disk1
with a proper partitioned disk. Gotchas for the partitioning is that
the prep partition needs to be less than 10MB, the partition needs to be
bootable, and it needs to be the first partition. (In my case, I made it
Then I ran yabootconfig to install yaboot and kernel. I had to edit the
yabootconfig script so that it would not try to perform the write to
nvram since it would hang on my particular kernel level. This is done
by adding --nonvram. ie. do this:
mkofboot -f $YBINARGS --nonvram || exit 1
Once you run yabootconfig, it will create a /etc/yaboot.conf file, copy the
yaboot boot loader to the prep partition, and enable you to boot the linux
kernel you specified. If you add changes to the /etc/yaboot.conf file so that
you can boot a second kernel, do not rerun yabootconfig because it will erase
your existing file instead of adding to it. Instead run ybin. Also, if you
intend to run ybin, you should add the nonvram switch to the config file
like they do in the README.rs6000 file.
For reference, here is my final /etc/yaboot.conf file:
Here is how my links for /vmlinux and /vmlinux.old look:
r6:~# ls -l /vmlinux*
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 19 Mar 15 22:10 /vmlinux -> /boot/vmlinux-2.6.3
lrwxr-xr-x 1 root root 23 Mar 20 05:12 /vmlinux.old -> /boot/vmlinux-2.4
Here is how my disk is partitioned:
Disk /dev/sda: 18.2 GB, 18200739840 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 17357 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 2 2032 41 PPC PReP Boot
/dev/sda2 3 17168 17577984 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 17169 17357 193536 82 Linux swap
Name Flags Part Type FS Type [Label] Size (MB)
sda1 Boot Primary PPC PReP Boot 2.10
sda2 Primary Linux ext3 17999.86
sda3 Primary Linux swap 198.19
Here are my open firmware settings:
ie. its blank.
/pci@80000000/scsi@10/sd@4 /pci@80000000/ethernet@c /pci@80000000/scsi@10/sd@3:1,\ppcbootinfo.txt
This is to much to type in by hand. It was generated via sms menu. However, it means boot from
scsi disk id=4 first, then network, then cdrom, then floppy disk, and then scsi disk id=5.
Looking at it in more detail, I think it means pci device, address 0x8000 0000, scsi, LUN 10 maybe,
ID 4. On the cdrom, it looks like it selecting partition 1. I don't how it intends to boot from
the text file though?
devalias disk /pci@80000000/scsi10/sd@4,0
This means to boot from scsi id 4 using partition 1 (its zero based count) ie the prep partition.
If you want to boot from disk id=5 (/dev/sdb) you need to change this to sd@5,0. Once again, you can
do this via sms or openfirmware using devalias command.
John F. Davis
ABC #6334 1992 R100GSPD Durham, North Carolina