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RE: Etch beta 2 now working on Sunfire V240 with vanilla 2.6.16 compiled from source

Hi Ashley,

Regarding your earlier message, I've contacted the silo maintainer asking him to get 1.4.11 uploaded into the archive.

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006, Ashley Hooper wrote:

The final instalment in my monologue (for now):

OK, if you follow my previous instructions on booting the Netinst CD and
chrooting into the installed Debian environment, you can then download,
compile and install the vanilla 2.6.16 kernel, and it works.

It seems that the Debian-patched 2.6.15 kernel doesn't like the V240 and

We now have 2.6.16 in unstable. Could you please try that? I'd really like to get to the bottom of it, and try to identify why the Debian kernels do not boot.

As you can imagine, I'm a very happy chappy!

Rules of thumb:

1.  Install a PCI NIC that is known to work on Sparc Linux (i.e. 3Com
3C59x or similar)

Please file the bug reports against kernel (and CC me) for the problems you had with the network cards. Some useful advice on what to include with your bug report is available in the kernel handbook at


2.  Install from Debian Etch beta

3.  Partition so that your 1st partition is ext2 for /boot, and fully
resident within the first 1 GB of the disk.  Create other partitions for
swap, / etc.

I don't think that the 1GB restriction applies to any newer machines, that's the problem we used to have with very old sparc32 boxes. I think you should be safe even if your /boot partition is larger (or does not exist even).

4.  Allow the installation to complete and reboot from the hard disk.
At this point the system will hang on rebooting into the new Linux
environment - 'Switching root ....'

If you finally got a booting kernel, could you please experiment a little bit to figure out what causes the hang? It is actually rather late in the boot process, when system is switching root from initrd to real root. I'd guess that initrd generators might be to blame here. If you are using initramfs-tools to generate it, could you try yaird (and vice versa)? Information on how to do that is available in kernel handbook as well. I guess that your self-built kernel booted because you built it without initrd, and now because of Debian patches.

5.  Boot the Etch CD again and type Rescue at the Silo boot prompt.

6.  Drop out of the installer to the ash shell (select Go Back then
choose the shell option from the Debian installer menu)

7.  Mount all filesystems and chroot into the new system (partitions
below are for my system, yours may vary):

	mkdir /mnt
	mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
	mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot
	mount /dev/sda4 /mnt/usr
	mount /dev/sda5 /mnt/var
	chroot /mnt /bin/bash

8.  Mount your pseudo filesystems and bring up your network interfaces:

	mount /proc
	mount /sys
	ifconfig lo up
	ifconfig eth0 netmask
	route add -net netmask gw

9.  You should now be able to use apt-get to get ncurses-dev which
you'll need if you want to 'make menuconfig'

10. You can now use wget to download and compile a new kernel from the
kernel sources, then copy the binary to /boot and add an entry to

11. Reboot into Linux/Sparc joy!

Good work, you might want to add these instructions to SparcInstallationNotes topic on wiki.debian.org (at least until we fish out all these bugs :-).

If anyone would like assistance getting Debian working on a V240 (or
similar), email me.

Best regards,

Jurij Smakov                                        jurij@wooyd.org
Key: http://www.wooyd.org/pgpkey/                   KeyID: C99E03CC

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