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Re: Updated installation images for Debian Ports 2019-04-09

Hi, and thanks for the inte3resting discussion.

Yes, the QLOGIC chip seems to be the issue. The Debian 5 installer
works flawlessly. I used full disk not netinstall for that.

I cannot say what would work best for the most people, and thus be
best place to put your efforts, but I do know that the floppy works on
this machine (AlphaServer 1200), though in Deb 5 I had to modprobe
floppy first.

I'd note that the firmware package (.deb) containing the qlogic stuff
is too big to fit on a 1.44MB floppy, but if the installer can read
the files from a directory structure as well as from a deb file, then
the deb can be exploded and the files put on several disks -- or just
the required files on a singe one. As long as individual files are
lass than disk capacity, this might act as a workaround to keep the
Debian kernel untainted.

Thus, it would be interesting to make floppy.ko available, and
possibly autoloaded, inside the initramfs on the installer. (Sorry if
I've got some terminology wrong, I'm not a system programmer or
anything). Plainly, it would be great if the firmware was already in
there, but if it cn't be....

Older disks boot ok (I have a recollection of booting Debian 9 and 8
as well, from http://backup.parisc-linux.org/debian-cd/debian-8.0/alpha/
-- probably the CD-1 rather than the netinst. So I am guessing there
must be an alternative.

Many thanks


On 4/16/19, John Paul Adrian Glaubitz <glaubitz@physik.fu-berlin.de> wrote:
> On 4/16/19 1:06 PM, jhcha54008 wrote:
>> As far as I understand, it seems that booting a SCSI
>> drive (disk, cdrom) on alpha needs a (non-free)
>> firmware for the QLOGIC chip (see the thread
>> following [1] for an example and the answer of Michael Cree)
> I see. I wasn't aware of that, thanks.
>> This firmware should be loaded somehow : embedded in
>> the (tainted) kernel (as suggested in [1]), included
>> in the initramfs or loaded from a floppy at boot time
>> (if the floppy drive is still functional and there is
>> a floppy driver in the kernel).
> We cannot really include stuff in the kernel as the kernel
> is the official Debian kernel and thus must therefore to the
> Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG).
>> These firmwares are packaged in : firmware-qlogic (non-free)
>> which is not mirrored on ftp.ports.debian.org/debian-ports
>> but on regular mirrors.
> Yes, those firmware packages can be used by adding something like:
> deb [arch=all] http://ftp.debian.org/debian unstable contrib non-free
> to your sources.list. For the installer, we could include the firmware
> on the CD the same way the unofficial Debian installation CDs do that
> but that will probably not help us if the firmware is required to access
> the firmware.
> It would be interesting to test an old Debian installation CD when Alpha
> was still an officially supported architecture. We need to find out how
> it was done back then.
>> Many thanks for all this work towards a (smoothly) working
>> install CD for alpha - and especially for fixing the generic
>> kernel and assembling the CD
>> (I am not able to test currently, sorry)
> You're welcome. It's a community effort, so I'll just say that on
> behalf of everyone involved :).
> Adrian
> --
>  .''`.  John Paul Adrian Glaubitz
> : :' :  Debian Developer - glaubitz@debian.org
> `. `'   Freie Universitaet Berlin - glaubitz@physik.fu-berlin.de
>   `-    GPG: 62FF 8A75 84E0 2956 9546  0006 7426 3B37 F5B5 F913

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