Potato Installation guide - Amiga
In attachment I include "updated" version of debian-amiga.txt for
potato. My english is far from being perfect so you problably will notice
some errors but I want you to check it and report any suggestions etc.
Marcin Juszkiewicz Amiga 1200 Apollo 1240/40 64MB
mailto:email@example.com Fast-ATA 17.4+0.4GB
Szczepan/BlaBla Debian/m68k user
Debian/m68k GNU/Linux - Short Amiga installation instructions
Short Debian/m68k installation instructions for Amiga;
to be replaced soon by a _slightly_ longer version :-)
Frank Neumann, July 20th, 1998
Updated for Debian 2.1 Jan 29 1999 Michael Schmitz, Christian Steigies
Updated for Debian 2.2 19.06.2000 Marcin Juszkiewicz
A hopefully always up-to-date version of this document should be online at:
Ok, so you think you want to try Debian, dive into the wonderful world
of free software and world-wide programming collaboration? Fine. Your
first test will be to install the Debian base system on your Amiga, and I
hope this document will help you in getting that step done.
So, without any further ado, these are the absolutely vital steps you need
0) Before even thinking of starting to install Debian on your Amiga, you
should make a BACKUP of your current system. It's not like Debian will
erase all data on your harddisks immediately when it starts up, but you
can damage a lot easily if you are new to Linux or Unix in general.
If you have a DAT, MO or spare harddisk, this is the chance to use them
for creating a backup.
0b) Check out if your system is suited for Linux/m68k - please read the
Linux/m68k FAQ, available e.g. at http://www.linux-m68k.org/.
1) Get all required files from one of Debian's FTP sites,
like ftp.debian.org, ftp.de.debian.org etc. A list of mirror sites
can be found at http://www.debian.org/distrib/ftplist
No matter what mirror site you use, the path should always be:
These are the files you need:
Alternatively, get the official Debian/68k 2.2 CD set. The TGZ archive
and base2_2.tgz are in /install/.
2) Make subdirectory named "debian" and unpack the amigainstall.tgz file
to your harddisk (a subdirectory named "amiga" will be automatically
created for you). I recommend to unpack the archive directly onto the
created directory of a partition that has at least ~ 10 MB of free
space. When installing from CD, you can use the files in /install/amiga/
directly. Move the base2_2.tgz file into this same directory ("debian").
_Don't_ rename any files in that directory.
3) Partition your harddisk (or rather prepare partitions for Linux) :
There is a partitioning tool for Linux/m68k called amiga-fdisk, but for
now you'll have to do the partitioning yourself under AmigaOS using
the good old HDToolBox program.
You should have reserved at least two partitions for Linux: One for the
"root filesystem" and one for a "swap partition". The size recommendations
- for the root partition:
* absolute minimum should be 20 MB (this is just enough to install
the base system, and nothing else - probably enough for testing
it, but not for really using it)
* a reasonable system starts at around 200 - 400 MB, no limits upwards.
- for the swap partition: about twice as large as your main memory, but
rather more than that. Especially on systems with little main memory
(like 8 MB RAM), don't go below 20 MB swap space.
Naming conventions: This is important because under Linux your
partitions have different names than under AmigaOS. This is the
- The first SCSI harddisk (address-wise) is named "sda".
- The second SCSI harddisk (address-wise) is named "sdb", and so on.
- The first IDE harddisk is named "hda", the second IDE harddisk
is named "hdb", and so on.
The partitions on each harddisk are represented by appending a single
digit to the harddisk name: sda1, sda2, sda3 represent for first, second
and third partition of the first SCSI harddisk in your system.
Here is a real-life example: Let's assume you have a system with 2 SCSI
harddisks, one at SCSI address 2 and the other at SCSI address 4.
The first disk is then named "sda", and the second "sdb".
If the "sda" harddisk has 5 partitions on it, these will be named
"sda1", "sda2", ..., "sda5". Analoguous for the "sdb" harddisk and its
So, now that we know the partition names, you can actually change their
type from within HDToolBox so that the Linux installation program can
detect them easily:
Start HDToolBox, select the disk you want to use, click on the "Partition
Drive" button and select/create the partition you want to use as the
Debian root filesystem.
Now you need to enable the "Advanced options" and change the following
items under "Change":
Set the filesystem to "Custom Filesystem" or "Reserved Filesystem" (it
depends on your HDToolBox version what you get shown here), set the
identifier to "0x4c4e5800" (this is the hexadecimal equivalent of "LNX\0"),
disable the "Auto-mount this partition" checkbox, disable "Custom Bootcode",
set the "Reserved blocks at" settings to: "2" for start and "0" for end.
After having done this, select a partition that is to be used as a swap
partition, and repeat the same steps as above, but set the identifier
to "0x53575000" instead (this represents "SWP\0" in ASCII).
- Your root and swap partitions do not need to be on the same harddisk.
- You can have more than one partition for files besides the root
filesystem - this even makes sense very often, like when seperating the
user's home directories from the system file area. If you want to use
more partitions, prepare them just like the root partition.
If you're just going to try Linux for a short time, it's enough to
just have a single file partition.
- You can also have more than one swap partition, though that's not seen
- Write down the partition names (you know, the "sda1" etc. stuff) of
all partitions that you are going to use for Linux.
- At this point, please also write down the partition name (Linux-wise)
of the partition on which you have unpacked the "amigainstall.tgz"
archive. You will need this later for installation of the base system.
When you have made all required changes, go back to the main window of
HDToolBox and "Save Changes to drive". Think twice before actually
clicking on "Yes" - have you chosen the correctly partitions? No
viable data that could get lost now? Then click OK.
If required, the Amiga will reboot after this.
5) When you're back at your Workbench, start the Linux installation process
by double-clicking on the "StartInstall" icon in the "debian" directory.
You will have to press the <Return> key twice after the bootstrap program
has output some debugging information into a window.
After this, the screen will go grey, a few seconds of delay, and after
that a black screen with white text should come up, displaying all kinds
of kernel debugging information. These scroll by far too fast for you to
read, but that's not important right now.
After a couple of seconds, the installation program should start
If you get up to this point, you can be quite confident that you will be
able to install Linux on your system.
NOTE if you want to use a graphics board with linux, you have to tell
the kernel about the board. If you dont tell the kernel, it will use
standard amiga graphics for output (OCS, ECS, AGA) which you might not
notice if you have your only monitor connected to your graphics board.
To make your life easier, we have prepared a few scripts for boards which
are supported. Just doubleclick the relevant StartInstall to start the
install process, ie.
- StartInstall_clgen if you have a EGS Spectrum, Piccolo or Picasso board
- StartInstall_CV64 if you have a CyberVision64 board,
- StartInstall_CV3D if you have a CyberVision/3D board,
The scripts are using a resolution of 640x480 in 8 bit. Probably you want
to use higher resolutions after the system has been set up, but for now
please leave it at this resolution. For the CyberVision boards you _have_
to select a 640x480 screenmode in 8 bit, otherwise you will have a more or
less distorted screen.
For further info, esp if you want to use higher resolutions in your
linuxgo file, please read the relevant docs for your board (clgen.txt,
cv64.txt, cv3d.txt) which were taken from the kernel source or from the
linux-m68k mailing list.
6) So, now we're getting somewhere. The Debian installation program will
lead you through the steps of preparing the partitions from the Linux
side, unpacking and configuring the kernel modules and base system,
and finally rebooting. Some of the presented steps are not really necessary
on m68k platforms, and I'll tell you what you have to do at each step now.
- Release notes
This is just a screen with a few informations about Debian's goals,
who built the rescue set etc.
Now we come to the main installation screen which lists all possible
actions you can take, with the next logical step always being highlit
at the top of the list. I recommend to strictly follow the suggested
- Configure the keyboard
Depending on whether you have a U.S. or other keyboard, select the
one appropriate for you with the cursor keys and <Space>, then move
with <Tab> to the OK button and press <Return>.
- Initialize and Activate a Swap Partition
When pressing <Return>, you will see a list of partitions that the
installation program has found as being prepared by you for usage
as a swap partition. Probably there is only one choice, and it should
have the same name you wrote down under AmigaOS while you were in
If you have chosen to use several swap partitions, repeat the following
step for all of them:
* Press <Return> to accept the selected partition
* When asked whether you want to do a bad-block scan, you can safely
skip this step, so select "No" here using <Tab>.
* When asked whether you really want to initialize this partition as
a swap partition, think twice, then, when being sure, press <Return>.
At this point the swap partition will be "formatted" which only takes
a second (you'll hardly be able to read the text that appears at the top
of the screen - ignore that for now).
- Initialize a Linux partition
This is very similar to the previous step, but this time it's not about
swap partitions, but about "real" partition which are supposed to carry
files. Just as before, you'll be presented with a list of partitions
that the installer found to be valid as Linux filesystem partitions.
Again, for each of the partitions you have chosen, accept them, select
"No" when prompted for kernel 2.0.x compatibility, skip the
"Bad-block scan" and (when you are sure) select "Yes" to format
(initialize) the partition. After that, you will be asked whether you
want to mount the currently active partition as root ("/") partition.
Say "Yes" here at the first partition you use. Other partitions can
be mounted somewhere under this mount point afterwards.
- Install Operating System Kernel and Modules
As I assume that you are installing from files on a harddisk, you
will have to select "Harddisk: Filesystem on the harddisk" here.
Next you need to specify the (Amiga FastFilesystem) partition
on which you unpacked the "amigainstall.tgz" archive.
After that you also need to enter the path to the directory containing
the installation files - in the simplest case you just hit <Return>
because "/debian" is already set as default for the directory name;
otherwise you will have to type the path yourself. It has to begin
with a "/", followed by the directory components leading to the files
(e.g. "/tmp/newstuff/debian"). If installing from CD, change
"/debian" to "/install/amiga". Next you are asked whether you want to
select the files from a list or enter the path name manually; just
press <Return> here twice as the installation program will find the
correct and only available installation files itself.
The harddisk LED will blink for a while as the kernel and modules are
unpacked onto the root partition, and after that you get back to the
- Configure Device Driver Modules
This step is only necessary if certain device drivers need to be loaded
very early when Linux starts up later; like, an Ethernet driver has
to be pre-loaded so that the networking can already be initialized
at boot-time. For a stand-alone system you don't have to configure
anything here, but you should still select this item so that the
installer can build a list of available kernel modules.
When you see the next screen, you can immediately
"Exit: Finished with modules. Return to previous menu".
If you DO need to configure a device driver for your system, please
follow the on-screen explanations for selecting modules to be
pre-loaded (this section is a bit short right now, sorry).
For example: if you have PCMCIA Ethernet card you have to select
"apne" from "net" submenu.
When done, select the "Exit" item.
Once your Linux system is installed, you can get back to the
configuration of modules at any time by starting the "modconf"
- Install the Base System
Just as with the "Install Operating System Kernel and Modules" step,
you need to specify where the base system archive is located. This
file should be named "base2_2.tgz". If you have put it into the same
directory as the other installation files, you already know what to
do now: Select "harddisk: Filesystem on the harddisk", pick the
correct partition and (if necessary) enter the path name to the
directory containing those files. If you are installing from CD,
select "cdrom: CD-ROM drive" and enter "/install" as path. Again, as
everything should be in the place the installer expects them, press
<Return> twice after this to accept the default options.
At this moment you've got a few minutes time (depending on the speed
of your processor/harddisk) while the base archive is unpacked onto
the Linux root partition.
- Configure the Base System
In this step you just set the timezone that you're in - this should
be pretty intuitive. For instance, for Germany the selection
"CET - Europe" (first screen) and "Berlin" (second screen) should be
When asked whether your system clock is set to "GMT" (Greenwich
Mean Time), you will likely answer with "No" as most Amigas I have seen
so far always use the local time instead of GMT.
In case you have Geek Gadgets/Amiga Developers Environment (ADE)
installed on your Amiga you have a better option. You can set your
system clock to GMT (for Linux) and still have the correct time when
running AmigaOS, even Daylight Saving time is set correctly under AOS.
This is what I have added to my s:user-startup.
setenv TZ Europe/Berlin
- Configure the Network
We're almost done! This last step to do is to set up your networking
if you are so lucky to be connected to a net.
If you have no network, all you need to enter is your hostname (under
Linux, every computer has a name!). Pick something you like - your
girlfriend's name, a famous artist/writer/composer/character/actor/
whatever. Just one word, please.
If you are connected to a network, you need to enter:
* Your network's name
* The IP address of your computer
* The netmask
* Your broadcast address
* Your gateway's IP address, if one is available
* Your nameserver's IP address, if there is one available.
* Your type of connection - Ethernet, PPP, Slip or whatever else.
Well, that's it! Ignore the next suggested step ("Make Linux bootable directly
from harddisk") and instead select alternative 2: "Reboot the System".
After a few seconds, the Amiga should reboot automatically into AmigaOS.
So, one last step is required from you before you can boot your freshly
installed Linux: Go to the directory containing the installation files
and start up a texteditor into which you need to enter just one line:
amiboot-x.x -k linux root=/dev/yyyy ro
In this line, replace the "x.x" with the version number of the amiboot
program that is in that directory - it was "5.6" at release time.
Also, replace the "yyyy" with the Linux-wise partition name of the root
partition onto which you installed the system - like sda1, hdb3, whatever
it was, you figure.
Save that file, name it something like "linuxgo", and "protect linuxgo +s"
to make it executable like a program.
Now you can just type "linuxgo" (when being in that directory) to actually
start the system, this time booting from harddisk instead of a RAM filesystem.
The more advanced user might want to create an icon that is linked to that
script, or a short-cut key combination for ToolManager, or whatever you like..
The boot sequence will take quite a bit longer than when you installed the
system because a database of filenames has to be built ("Locate" database).
After that, you are automatically logged in, and need to take these
- Activate (or not) the "MD5 passwords" (recommendation: Yes, use it!)
- Activate (or not) the "Shadow passwords" (recommendation: Yes, use it!)
- Set a root password
- Create another (unprivileged) user account
- Remove PCMCIA stuff from kernel (if you selected it before - Ethernet
cards works without it)
- Determine whether you want to continue installing the system via
a PPP line or not (untested).
- Select source of packages for APT. You will be prompted for which parts
of Debian you want (non-US, non-free, contrib).
- Select which method of selecting packages you want - "simple" or
- If you selected "simple" then you will have to select whole packs of
packages you want to install.
When you quit this program, you get logged out and can log in as root
or as an unprivileged user if you created one before.
At this point you have a running basic Debian installation on your Amiga,
and if this all worked out (more or less) well for you, I'd definitely love
to hear about it! :-)
One more hint: To cleanly shut down a running Linux system, you must not
just reboot with Ctrl-Amiga-Amiga or turn off the computer - instead,
press the key combination "Ctrl-Alt-Del" (yeah, just like on a PC :-)
to shut down the system in a controlled manner.
That's "Ctrl" + "LeftAlt" + "Delete_on_keypad (.)".
..and maybe hundreds of other Linux- or Debian-related Web sites around
Good luck in the wonderful world of Debian/m68k.