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AlphaServer 1000A (how to install debian)

Hi all.

Maybe this is usefull for somebody...

How to boot and install debian on a Digital AlphaServer 1000A

There are two types:
	noritake      : EV4 cpu, AlphaServer 1000A 4/XXX
	noritake-primo: EV5 cpu, AlphaServer 1000A 5/XXX

It seems that both systems are nearly unsupported by Linux: they
are unknown by 2.0 and 2.1 kernels, and there is not MILO (Linux
MiniLoader) for them.

If you are impatient (like me) you can get a kernel and boot with
it from


I have tried all noritake-2030-srm-ev5-* and only -07nov.img is
stable enough for booting and installing debian. But lots of
programs just don't run at all or oopses the kernel... :-(

How to start?

1) Switch to SRM console if you are using ARC console or AlphaBios
   (without MILO you can't use ARC/AlphaBios with Linux I think).
2) Make a bootdisk with the kernel from gatekeeper.dec.com:
   cat noritake-2030-srm-ev5-07nov.img > /dev/fd0
   You will get a floppy with an ext2 filesystem, and two files in
   it: linuxboot and vmlinux.gz.
3) Put the floopy on the drive and type from SRM console:
   >>> boot dva0 -file vmlinux.gz -flags "root=/dev/fd0 load_ramdisk=1"
   The kernel should boot and ask for the ramdisk (the one with
   root.bin from ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/unstable/main/disks-alpha/...)
   NOTE: kernels availables at the moment (07nov is the last one)
   don't have minix support (!), so you will have to make a
   "root.bin" disk with ext2. It is very easy to make one, but if
   you don't know how/want to do it you can get my root-ext2.bin from

After loading the ramdisk you should see the welcome to the debian
setup :)

Next times you will have to boot again with the boot floppy:
   >>> boot dva0 -file vmlinux.gz -flags "root=/dev/sda2"
   (replace sda2 with your root filesystem)

I think you will find usefull SRM Firmware Howto at

Roberto Lumbreras Pastor  *  mailto:rover@lander.es
Lander Internet - Spain   *  http://www.lander.es/
Tel +34 1 556.28.83       *  Fax +34 1 556.30.01

Hardware is indeterministically reliable.
Software is deterministically unreliable.
People are indeterministically unreliable.
Nature is deterministically reliable.

     Quoted from "Linux System Administrator's Guide", by Lars Wirzenius.

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