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Old 09-30-2008, 11:08 AM   #1
indienick
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Sun SPARC Ultra 1 workstation not able to boot from CD


I recently acquired three SPARC Ultra 1 workstations - yes, I know they are old, but they are still quite usable.

I also managed to receive a nearly pristine copy of Solaris 8 with them; in the box, with all of the manuals and extra CDs.

I apologize as my subject line for this thread may be misleading, as my concern is more towards the CD-ROM drive on these workstations being able to boot from non-Sun CDs.

There was absolutely no problem doing fresh installs of Solaris 8 onto these machines, but I would much rather Linux, as I don't have any documentation on Solaris 8 and I most definitely do not have the necessary resources (ie. money and gobs of time) to put towards learning these new systems with things like installing software (including setting up repositories) and configuring the systems.

I went to install NetBSD on one of the workstations (as NetBSD is the only distribution I can find with sparc32 support), but the system refused to boot from the CD - my dad, who used to admin many of these workstations, walked me through the process of booting from the CD from BIOS (or, the pre-OS stage). No matter what I did, I could not boot from the NetBSD image I had burned to a CD-R, but when I popped the Solaris 8 Install CD in, it worked without a hitch.

Why is this? The NetBSD CD can (sort of) be booted from any of my x86 computers - the BIOS at least offers me the option of being able to boot from the volume, but the Sun BIOS refuses to boot the CD. Does this have anything to do with CD "extensions" (ie. "Rock Ridge")?

Does anyone have any ideas as to how I could get the BIOS to boot from the NetBSD install CD? Is there a "something special" I have to do, either from the BIOS, or in the process of burning the ISO?
 
Old 09-30-2008, 04:52 PM   #2
ilikejam
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Hi.

Nobody else is biting, and I use Sparc machines, so I'll have a go.

The correct magic seems to be:
From the OK prompt:
> setenv boot-file netbsd
> boot cdrom

Dave
 
Old 10-01-2008, 09:29 AM   #3
indienick
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Thank you very much for the response, ilikejam. I will try it when I get home after work, today, and post my results.
 
Old 10-01-2008, 07:44 PM   #4
indienick
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Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work, but it gave me the following output:
Code:
Rebooting with command: boot cdrom
Boot device: /sbus/espdma@e,8400000/esp@e,8800000/sd@6,0:f File and args: netbsd
The file just loaded does not appear to be executable.
Boot device: disk:a File and args: netbsd
boot: cannot open netbsd
And after all that, is a prompt:
Code:
Enter filename [netbsd]:
Where can I go from here?
 
Old 10-01-2008, 09:14 PM   #5
indienick
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Okay - I'm thinking it may have to do with something about the Sun CD drives looking for block lengths on the CD of 512 bytes, and I noticed that cdrecord uses a default block length (BLKLEN) of 2048 bytes. How on Earth do I change this? The man-page doesn't seem to have any information regarding this, either that, or I'm just missing it.
 
Old 10-02-2008, 06:30 AM   #6
ilikejam
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First thing I would do is check the NetBSD CD and find out what the kernel image is called. On Linux it's vmlinuz, I assume from what I've seen about NetBSD that the kernel image is just called 'netbsd', but I don't know for sure.

I can't see anything in the cdrecord man page for block lengths either, so you may be out of luck.

Dave
 
Old 10-02-2008, 09:40 AM   #7
indienick
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In the occasion that I am out of luck with NetBSD, do you happen to know, off-hand, if Sun distributes Solaris 9 or 10 for 32-bit SPARC processors (or are they assuming that, by now, any SPARC processors still in use are 64-bit)?

Also, I recall seeing something in the OpenBoot PROM messages that fly by - something about "64-bit processor found, locked at 32-bit"...or something to that effect. Is there a way, in the PROM or by a dip-switch on the motherboard to set this to 64-bit operation?

Last edited by indienick; 10-02-2008 at 09:42 AM.
 
Old 10-02-2008, 09:52 AM   #8
ilikejam
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The Ultra 1 isn''t on the Solaris 10 HCL, but I know Solaris 9 works. I'd give Solaris 10 a go first, just to see though.

It's possible that your machine is set to boot the 32 bit kernel - check:
# eeprom | grep boot-file

If there's nothing defined, or if kernel/sparcv9/unix is listed, then you're booting the 64 bit kernel. If it's kernel/unix then you're booting the 32 bit kernel.

Dave
 
  


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