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Re: Sarge install attempt on Alpha

On Sat, Aug 28, 2004 at 01:28:48AM +0300, Paavo Hartikainen wrote:
> 2. With some effort I managed to set up BOOTP server on my OpenBSD
>    SPARC, TFTP I have used before. Now "boot ewa0" works.

> 3. I noticed that kernel (on "boot.img") does not detect TGA (DECchip
>    21030) frame buffer. No messages from kernel show up on frame
>    buffer console.

> 4. With 'boot ewa0 -flag "console=ttyS0"' and terminal on serial port
>    I got at least messages from kernel, but still cannot get to
>    installer.

> 5. Replacing TGA frame buffer with ATI (Mach64 GX) helped me further
>    and I got to see that root filesystem was not found.

So TGA devices don't support VGA, they require a specific framebuffer

The tgafb module is included as part of the d-i netboot images (as well
as the CD images), but there does not appear to be any framebuffer
autodetection support for alpha.  cc:ing debian-alpha, in case anyone
there knows how to get framebuffer modules loaded at boot time on this

> 6. Reading Debian sarge rc1 Installation Guide did not help directly,
>    but I ended up trying "strings boot.img | less" and found
>    "root=/dev/ram ramdisk_size=16384 devfs=mount,dall" not too far
>    from the beginning.

> 7. Using 'boot ewa0 -flag "root=/dev/ram ramdisk_size=16384
>    devfs=mount,dall"' I got installer up and running.

This should be equivalent to boot ewa0 -flag "", actually.
Unfortunately, aboot/SRM don't give any mechanism for appending kernel
arguments, so to netboot to serial console you need to list all of these
kernel options plus console=ttyS0.

> 9. When installer got far enough to touch partition maps, it did run
>    out of RAM.  Some processes got killed by kernel and installer got
>    somewhat confused, I killed it from shell and it restarted itself.

Hmm, this is probably the first lowmem test we've had with d-i.  My
system requires paired DIMMs, so it'd be hard to configure it as a
lowmem system even if I wanted to... :)

Unless someone is willing to step forward and work on lowering the
memory requirements on alpha, this limitation will probably just have to
be documented for sarge.

> 10. Starting with additional "debconf/priority=medium" let me play
>     around more to get to partition table options dialog, but "parted"
>     would still not run.  When I did start "parted" from installer
>     shell, it said "Error: Unable to satisfy all constraints on the
>     partition." when I used "print".

parted does not allow overlapping partitions.  You have a full-disk
partition (partition c), which is required by Tru64, but will not work
with the Debian installer because of this parted limitation.  (Even if
you do partition the disk the way you want it using tools other than
partman, you won't be able to select any partitions to use for

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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