Re: install from CD on an Indy
Thanks for all the info. I'm glad to hear that this is fairly easy to
do. I'd like to get the ISO image from you, but let's hold off for a
bit. I actually don't have the Indy or the CD set yet. I intend to get
some sort of cheap SGI machine to play around with soon, so I'll get
ahold of you when I do.
This leads to another question. Are there any SGI machines for which the
CD set works as-is? Basically I'm looking to get any SGI machine to play
around with linux-mips on. I only mentioned the Indy because I read
somewhere that it is the best supported machine, but what I'm actually
looking for is the path of least resistence and least pain. So if, for
example, and Indigo2 works just as well and can use the CD set as is,
then I'd probably go that route instead.
Thanks for the help,
> This (i.e. CD only installation) is indeed possible, and I have done it. But you cannot do it directly with the 6CD set, I think you also need a homemade "boot CD".
> I made mine as follows...
> I downloaded the tftpboot image to be found at
> (the principal significance of this image is that it uses a kernel with ISO9660 support compiled in, needed to mount the installation CDs locally rather than accessing them via NFS or ftp over a network - the 3.0r0 and 3.0r1 distributions do not have this yet, as far as I know). Then, since I was working on a Win2K platform, I used Nero to create an .iso image of a CD with this single file on the disc. Don't burn the disc yet, since this iso image needs to be modified first.
> The first 512 bytes of the iso image are then patched (I did it manually with a hex editor) to put a fake SGI disk label on the eventual boot CD - this is a small data structure which is read by the Indy PROM firmware, and contains (primarily) a pointer from filename "sashARCS" to the logical block on the disc where the tftpboot image file can be found - I derived this using IsoBuster (adjusting for the fact that the Indy firmware expects to work in logical blocks of size 512 bytes, whereas CD-ROMs natively number logical blocks of size 2K bytes). I think Guido Guenther was the first guy to figure out how to do this, by reverse engineering an IRIX install disc - there is some C source around on his website from which you can reverse engineer the SGI disc label format. There is some checksumming involved in making a disc label, I wrote a little bit of code to do that bit.
> Having modified the iso image, you then burn the disc. The Indy will now boot directly from this disc,and run the installer exactly as if you had done a tftpboot. Start the machine, escape into the PROM monitor, and select "Install System Software" (my Indy has a PROM version in which this is implemented in a GUI, but you also can do it with a "boot" command and appropriate arguments to specify the boot device.
> The install pretty much runs as normal from then on. You can do the necessary fdisk-ing with the tools that load into the RAMdisc created when booting into the installer, but of course when you get to the kernel installation part of the install process, you need to insert the real CD#1 from the set bought from your vendor. When fdisk-ing, you need to make an SGI volume header on your target bootable HD big enough to take the kernel (at least 5 MB, 10 would safer), but all this is covered in the HOWTOs etc available on the web.
> I also found that I head some problems with a TEAC SCSI CD-ROM drive (model 532S), but a 12X Toshiba one worked perfectly. Some people will tell you this is to do with the ability of the drive to support 512 byte logical block sizes, but I am not convinced. The TEAC had a specific jumper to force the drive into this mode, but still failed. I believe it is something to do with the SCSI implementation (maybe even a termination problem, I never found out) - the SCSI controller on Indys is reputedly very fussy.
> If it helps, I can email you the image iso image for the boot disc (it is on a different machine to the one I am using currently, so it will be a few hours yet before I can manage this).
> Bruce Murray
> Southampton UK
> > From: Chris Plummer <darwin.plummer@Sun.COM>
> > Date: Wed 05/Mar/2003 04:34 GMT
> > To: email@example.com
> > Subject: install from CD on an Indy
> > Is it possible to install Woody on an Indy using the Debian 3.0 6 CD set
> > that can be purchased from various venders (assuming the presence of an
> > internal or external CD-ROM drive of course). I'd rather not go the
> > netboot/netinstall route if possible. I've done it for the Qube 2, and
> > found it to be such a major pain compared to CD installs I've done on
> > other systems.
> > If it is possible, please pass along a brief description of what needs
> > to be done. Thanks!
> > Chris Plummer
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