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Re: Installation of Debian on DecStation5000/133

On Sun, Feb 04, 2001 at 01:45:03AM -0500, EuphoriaDJ wrote:
> Ok I am totally new to mips and DecStations in particular.
> I would Like to know how to install GNU/Debian on my new DecStation.
> two caveates, First it has no hard drive yet can I use a hard drive from one
> of my old macs(SCSI),

That's no problem.

> also it has no ram any ideas on where to get some?

That's a problem. It will be hard to get RAM for it..

> Now how can I get the files nesisary to install Debian?

Download them. However, the mipsel port is far from being complete.
Not all binaries are out-of-the-box useable, as there are some
problems with glibc-2.0.6 -> glibc-2.2. Additionally, there are
quite some bits missing yet;(

> I really do not want to download a whole distribution, I do have intel
> debian laying around but I also need

You'll need to d/l all the packages you need. Try

> a piece of software for netboot right?

Yes, and it depends... Most of them (firmware dependant) can do bootp
and tftp, I personally use ISC's dhcpd to get bootp functionality
(yes, and please don't start any debate about ISC's thoughts about
BIND support!). Some do MOP booting (an old proprietary protocol
for maintaining and booting (Maintainance and Operation Protocol))
which I had cruel trouble with (read: no success).

You can however prepare a HDD with DELO (DEcstation LOader by
Florian Lohoff, see above URI) in another DECstation and boot
yours with is in the case of MOP.

To get things worse, there are a number of bugs in different firmware
releases which can give additional restrictions:

	- Firmware can't execute ELF binaries. Use ECOFF.
	- Size of boot image is possibly limited.

> And now that I am thinking about it, if I get source code for a particular
> program like my favorite wm blackbox
> will I be able to compile it or am I screwed. My C/C++ not so good, my perl,
> python, rebol pretty good though.

In that case, I think you'll learn quite a lot in the next few days;)
Mipsel is quite different to what you find on i386, sparc or alpha
wrt the number of bugs / non-functionallities you may encounter.

- Not all packages are available yet. Esp. not all X packages.
- There are first frame buffer drivers available, but I don't
  know about their useability. Most of the people working on
  DECstations simply use a serial console cable and/or ssh to
  access their box.
- You need to patch your compiler. The standard source tree for
  gcc/egcs aren't useable yet (Right? Or did I miss announces?)
- Latest (CVS-)binutils may work out of the box.
- The kernel is not that stable at the moment. (Well, it's not a
  problem to get uptimes of weeks ond more, bot don't do The Wrong
- There are binary incompatibilities between glibc 2.0.6 (don't use
  2.0.7, it's buggy all the way!) and 2.2.x. 

So working on DECstations isn't currently that easy as using a
regular PC...


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