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Re: Setting up an old Debian on an old Sun

Jerome Warnier wrote:
On Mon, 2011-02-28 at 19:10 +0000, Mark Morgan Lloyd wrote:
For reasons that seemed good at the start of the weekend, I'm trying to get a copy of Sarge onto a SPARCstation IPC. Basically, I want something compact with a 2.4 kernel as a repository for some kernel hacking I did a few years ago.

The old IPC won't boot from CD, so I'm doing the installation on an SS20. That's fine, except that I don't think it's putting SILO's first-stage loader where the IPC's ROM can find it: if I do something like boot sd(0,3,2) it pauses and then sits there flickering the drive activity light without any indication that it's found SILO.

I don't see why it would not boot from a SCSI CDROM, except it needs to
use a special block size (512 bytes if I remember correctly).
Right: http://www.obsolyte.com/sun_ipc/

Can anybody remember the magic incantation needed to get this going?

Honestly, IPC's architecture is "sun4c", while SS20 is "sun4m".
Though sun4c is not supported by Sarge or Etch, nor even Woody it seems,
which was the first Debian to ship with kernel 2.4 (2.4.18).
You're out of luck there.

For historical completeness...

A 2.4.27 kernel /without/ SMP support will boot the IPC, but doesn't appear able to drive the onboard SCSI hence can't find its root filesystem; I got there by installing using an SS20 with only a single CPU module. I'd have liked to have tried Woody with a 2.2 kernel on it, but I've got bogged down with installation CDs and/or programs that misbehave in various ways and have very much run out of the time I can spend on what is basically just an historical curiosity.

One interesting thing that came out of the exercise was that while the IPC's firmware was fairly limited as to what it would load (e.g. no ext2 support, no CD and only a limited number of blocks using TFTP) I was able to load SILO over TFTP which then gave me ext2 access. One thing SILO still couldn't do however was load a complete kernel using TFTP, I presume it was simply using the firmware to do that so inherited its limitations.

Mark Morgan Lloyd
markMLl .AT. telemetry.co .DOT. uk

[Opinions above are the author's, not those of his employers or colleagues]

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