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Install problems on an Ultra 1 200E

I would like to install Debian linux on a Sparc box to help with some
porting work I'm trying to do.  I have a lifetime supply of retired
Ultra 1's, so figured to install on one of those.  

While I installed Slackware on a PC maybe 12-14 years ago, this is my
first stab at any Linux since then.  But I've worked with Unix flavors
(kernel/driver development, etc.) since the 1970's.  So easy on the
jargon, please.

The install disk I downloaded was debian-504-sparc-netinst.iso.  
That's burned to CD.

The box configuration is Ultra 1 200E, with 512 mb and a single 
Sun-barcoded 18 gb. disk.  My thinking was to install to defaults so I
could learn my way around the system.

Everything went OK until it came to partitioning the disk.  I didn't see
any choices to run an fdisk or define the layout, and took the "use the
whole disk" option.  The partition failed, and after some
jiggery-pokery, I gave up.  I couldn't find a way to any disk utility 
to help me.

Put this disk in slot 1, put a Solaris boot disk in slot 0, and
discovered that my 18gb disk was now a 5 gb disk.  Evidently, Debian
rewrote the disk VTOC, changing it from 7608 cylinders to 2200.

Right now I've recovered the disk by using Solaris utilities to rewrite
the VTOC.  But I'm very reluctant to try anything with an install that
trashes a disk.

In short, what do I do now?  


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