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Installing Debian sarge (beta4) on Cobalt

Installing Debian "sarge" on Cobalt

You need:
  - a MIPS based Cobalt machine (Qube, RaQ, Qube2, RaQ2, Gateway
  - a null modem cable
  - another machine with:
      - an NFS server
      - an TFTP server
      - a DHCP server

Prepare the server:
  - Install an NFS, TFTP and DHCP server
      - apt-get install nfs-user-server
      - apt-get install tftpd
      - apt-get install dhcp3-server
  - Configure the NFS server:
      - Edit /etc/exports and add something like:


      - mkdir /nfsroot
  - Configure the DHCP server:
      - Edit /etc/dhcp3/dhcpd.conf and add an entry similar to:

host cobalt {
    hardware ethernet 00:10:e0:00:eb:8d;
    option routers;
    option root-path "/nfsroot";
    filename "/boot/default.colo";

  - Restart the servers:
      - /etc/init.d/nfs-user-server start
      - dhcp3-server restart

Obtain the netboot images for the server:
  - Download the initrd and the kernel and put them in /boot/
  - Download the boot loader and its configuration file and put them in

Start the intallation:
  - Connect the null modem cable to the serial port
  - Use minicom, cu or screen with the settings 115200 8N1
  - Start your Cobalt and immediately press the left and right button at
    the same time.  This will enable netbooting.  You should see "Net
    booting" on the display.
  - After a few moments you should get a boot menu on the LCD.  Use the
    cursor key to go to "Network (TFTP)" and press the "e" (enter) button.
  - It should then boot debian-installer.

The Installation:
  - Follow the installation.  The only thing you have to keep in mind is
    that the Cobalt needs a specific partitioning schema.  Partition your
    disk and create a small boot partition (maybe 10-20 MB) as the first
    primary partition (/dev/hda1, IDE master #1); but then, do NOT format
    this or assign it a mount point - just leave it unassigned ("do
    nothing").  Create a root (/), swap and home partition (root has to be
    either ext2 or ext3, home can be anything).
  - As of this writing, CoLo (the Cobalt loader) is not in testing (sarge).
    After the base system is installed, colo will be installed, but since
    its not in testing at the moment an error will be printed.  Just ignore
    this and continue.
  - After the installation is done, reboot.

Notes about beta4:
  - beta4 can only create a normal ext2 file system on the boot partition
    whereas the Cobalt can only boot from an ext2 file system of revision
    0.  That's why we didn't format it with debian-installer.  After the
    installation, the system won't be able to boot from disk however.
    There is an easy workaround for this, though.  After debian-installer
    has finished, reboot the Cobalt and press the left and right button
    again.  It will then boot CoLo via the network from your NFS server.
    Here, choose "Enter a shell"", and CoLo will allow you to write
    commands on the serial port.  Write:

mount hda2
load /vmlinux
execute console=ttyS0,115200 root=/dev/hda2

    (assuming that your root file system is /dev/hda2)

  - Once you have completed the initial setup of your Debian system, log in
    as root.  You can now properly format your boot partition so the
    Cobalt firmware can boot from it.  You can now also install colo
    which wasn't installed because it's currently not in testing. (Note,
    it should enter testing on May 14).
    Do this:

mkfs.ext2 -r 0 -O none /dev/hda1
mount /dev/hda1 /mnt
cd boot
mv . /mnt
cd /
umount /mnt

  - Edit /etc/fstab and add a line like this:

/dev/hda1       /boot   ext2    defaults        0       2

  - Mount /dev/hda1

  - Edit /boot/default.colo and replace

mount hda2
load /vmlinux


mount hda1
load vmlinux-2.4.25-r5k-cobalt

When you reboot, CoLo will load automatically from disk and by default boot
from your new Debian installation.

Send an installation report to submit@bugs.debian.org using the template in
/root.  If you have any problems, just ask.

Done. (All of these last complicated bits and hand-editing will be
fixed in beta5.)
Martin Michlmayr

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