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NeTTrom versions [was: Re: boot problems...]

On Fri, 21 Jul 2000, Adam C Powell IV wrote:
> What NeTTrom firmware revision do you have?
> [What revision does Debian require?  Is there a way to probe this
> easily, so the installer can give a warning?]

Currently there is not "easy" way to check the NeTTrom version, on a
running system without watching the machine boot, or checking the output
of the boot over serial.  It would be possible to do...

The following is a little walk down the NeTTrom version numbers for
NetWinders and what is required.  (Based off the top of my head, so some
of the older ones may be not exactly correct, see
http://www.netwinder.org/~ralphs/compat.html for up to 2.1.9, 99/08/31).

Since Debian ARM uses a 2.2 kernel you will need a minimun of NeTTrom
version of 2.1.7 to boot properly.  Your millage may vary with
2.0.4.  There have been reports of problems with 2.1.8, when trying to
network boot, although this vesion should not be in wide use.

In short:

NeTTrom version 2.0.4 - 2.1.6 (inclusive) will have intermittent problems,
and should be upgraded, prior to upgrading your kernel.  Some of these
versions will not allow you to upgrade your flash with a 2.2 kernel.  In
these cases you will need a 2.0.3x kernel to first upgrade the

NeTTrom < 2.0.4 will need a 2.0.3x kernel to upgrade the flash prior to
upgrade.  I have made a special rescue image which has a 2.0.31 kernel,
and will upgrade almost any old NeTTrom version.

NeTTrom version 2.1.7 is OK with 2.2 kernels, although it will have
trouble with large (>8GB) drives.

NeTTrom version 2.1.8, as I've said has been known to be problematic in
upgrading the firmware.  In this case you may need a 2.0.35 kernel to
upgrade the NeTTrom.  (This release is not in wide use).

NeTTrom versions 2.1.9 - 2.1.15, should not have problems upgrading, some
functionality may be missing in some of the releases.  Not in wide use.

NeTTrom versions 2.1.16, and it's many successors namely: 2.1.16a,
2.1.16b, and 2.1.16c.  Should be OK.  2.1.16c is what is currently
shipping in the Office Server product.  It has a fix for one of the
crystals which was running too high, on some machines (this fix is not in
the main stream until around NeTTrom 2.1.28).

Then there were various releases from 2.1.17 to 2.1.23 (not in wide spread
use).  These should be in varying degrees of OKedness.

NeTTrom version 2.1.24 is what is currently shipping on the DM machines
(DM 3.1-15).  Does not have the crystal fix.

Then there were various releases from 2.1.25 to 2.1.3x (not in wide spread
use).  These should be in varying degrees of OKedness.

NeTTrom 2.2.1  OK, but has a problem if the following is done:
	boot diskless
                 [let it fail, unplug the network cable]
         boot diskless  
		[actually boots off the hard drive, not ideal]

NeTTrom 2.3.2 This version has support for 256 MB of RAM (need a recent
2.2.14 kernel or later).  Also has the above problem fixed.

NeTTrom 2.3.3.  This version supports hard drives > 33.6 GB, requires at
least a 2.2.14 kernel.  The latest version.

In short I would recommend at least having NeTTrom 2.1.16c.  The next one
I would recommend would be 2.1.24 (but I would say to upgrade to the
latest. :))  If you want support for really large drives you will need
NeTTrom version 2.3.3.
Although the official answer is to use 2.1.16c, but who likes
official.  There are currently no known problems with 2.3.3.

Hope this is helpful.


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