adventures with an indigo 2

I appologise in advance that this entry is of a fairly technical nature. hi mum.

earlier on in the year I bought an old SGI Indio 2. since then it’s been sitting under my desk at home doing nothing. Occasionally I boot it up, tell my self that it’ll be a nice machine if I get it set up and then turn it off again – but thats all it ever comes to. over the last couple of days I’ve decided to change all that and install linux on it.

the mips linux port is pretty new and cutting edge. this means two things:

a) almost no documentation

b) very few people to ask for help

still I gathered from the mailing list that I need to use bootp/tftp to load a kernel image over the network and then NFS mount a root filing system. however the thing about linux on an indigo 2 is that the graphics hardware is not supported so you are stuck with the console on a serial (tom !!!!) port. this is compounded by the fact that the serial port on the SGI has a wacky mac like connector meaning that I had to make up my own serial lead from a couple of digital camera cables.

to cut a long story short it took me about an hour of unsucessful boot attempts to discover that I needed to run the command “echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_no_pmtu_disc” on the linux box I was network booting from. then I spent about 4 hours looking at a blank serial console, remaking presumably faulty serial leads, trying different kernel images and having absolutely no luck.

finally as I last resort I tried #mipslinux on irc.openprojects.net where a very nice person, iluxa, pointed out to me that to get the serial console working I would need to set console=d in the prom monitor to start off with. I did and it worked. hurrah – as it was about 11:30pm I decided to go to bed.

tonight I am going to tackle an nfs root to mount after the kernel has booted. I’ll keep you all posted as I can tell that you are on the edges of your seats.

ps. for those of you who have noticed the reason that older entries keep appearing above newer ones in my diary is that I am still writing up my holiday diary (an others) and setting the date to when I should have written them. so keep an eye out !!

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