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sparc etch netboot image cant use oldstable


The most recent debian compatible with 32 bit Sparc (for example Sparcstation 4, SUN 4M) is etch.

However as I understand the firmware on SUN 4M for SCSI breaks the SCSI module used on etch (esp SCSI module) so CD based installs hang (I've tried).

This leaves netboot via RAPR/TFTP. This works, however the current etch sparc32 boot.img contains an installer which has hard-coded paths and variables which are no longer valid and the install fails.

Now that lenny is the latest release, all archives and mirrors online have updated their paths so that etch is now under 'oldstable' with a release file that sais suite: oldstable. However in the netboot installer there is no way to choose oldstable.

Specifically the installer is hard-coded to retrieve release from


The variable being: stable, unstable, experimental - or in the case of later version: lenny, sid, etc ...

Further more there in no way to change those variables at boot time since the boot image binary doesn't give a chance to enter boot variables for the installer (such as d-i:mirror/suite=oldstable).



1. update installers in the netboot images to include 'oldstable' as one of the suites that can be chosen...

2. or hardcode the image under /sparc32/netboot/ to retrieve only codename: etch, suite: olstable (since we know lenny doesn't work with 32bit sparc)

3. or allow free user input for variables: path, suite and codename.

4. or allow boot variables to be set before the installer boots (or during, after, however it is possible)

5. dirty fix would include a symlink in archive.debian.org from 'debian_for_spark32'/dists/stable -> /dists/etch/oldtable with a Release file that sais Suite: stable instead of oldstable.

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