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Kumba
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:31 pm    Post subject: Re: toBoot an Octane Reply with quote

SilverDirk wrote:
So the way I understand it, there's the SGI PROM, which invokes a small loader which loads the kernel which boots the machine. With the netboot setup, the DHCP server sends (both the loader and the kernel to the SGI prom?) and it boots successfully. With the current setup, we are giving parameters to the prom at the prompt, and then it runs ARCLoad (named sash) which is supposed to load the kernel, and either the loader isn't working correctly or the kernel image is disfunctional.

You're adding a level of abstraction that's unneeded. There is no separate "loader" in the SGI Prom; at most, it's an ARCS function call that jumps to the memory address of the binary image loaded into memory (the loading into memory itself done by ARCS).

Arcload itself can be named anything for standard disk booting. There's no need to specifically call it 'sash'. We only use specific names on the LiveCD because the PROM has hardcoded names to look for when booting off of a CD.


SilverDirk wrote:
So, in the short run we would like to get the system to boot automatically. I think I read something about the SGI prom being smart enough to load the kernel itself? I would like to just forget arcload if it solves the problem.

If you want off-disk booting, you need arcload. Only IP22 systems (Indy && Indigo2 R4x00) were able to load a kernel directly out of the Volume Header and boot it. All systems thereafter needed a bootloader to accomplish this (PROM bug in future systems we think; could even be a kernel bug no one's ever bothered to chase down).

If you want straight netbooting, you can set the PROM to negotiate with a DHCP server to fetch the kernel it needs, and that gets copied directly into memory where it can be booted w/o the need for arcload.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You're adding a level of abstraction that's unneeded. There is no separate "loader" in the SGI Prom;

Ok, thats kind of what I was looking for. So this means the image file I downloaded for netbooting is in fact a plain old kernel.

I think it all makes sense now. ;-)

To summarize for people who happen accross this thread in the future (and give people a chance to correct my understanding of it all):
  • Octanes load their kernel file from a special kind of partition called a Volume Header, which isn't much different than a boot partition using some special (and very limited) filesystem
  • Using boot console commands, you can have the PROM pull its kernel from other file names
  • Using the bootp command, you can have the PROM pull its kernel from a bootp server
  • The "root=/dev/whatever" parameter passed to the bootp command is basically a parameter to the kernel (like in Lilo or Grub) that tells it where its filesystem is.
  • Therefore, the root=/dev/ram0 filesystem must be coming from the netboot kernel image
  • With the default PROM variables (as set for an IRIX install), the PROM will load an executable named "sash" from the volume header
  • Because of some unknown bug in something which nobody plans to investigate ;-), the Octane PROM cannot load the linux kernel from disk, though bootp isn't affected
  • The solution is a program called ARCLoad, which the PROM loads from disk (as if it were a kernel) and then ARCLoad loads the real kernel (as specified in its config file) which also resides on the volume header
  • The kernel image released in May has a bug which cripples the network card, resulting in a strange scenario where the machine successfully netboots and then suddenly can't talk to the DHCP server. (tx is fine, though rx no longer works). The solution is to use the new images that Kumba fixed at http://dev.gentoo.org/~kumba/mips/netboot/new/

Ok, so now we have some success to report: we tried copying our freshly compiled kernel to the dhcp server (i.e. my laptop- still no official access to the real one) and also copied the netboot kernel to the volume header. (so both kernels are available at both locations) The netboot kernel loads from either bootp or disk. The fresh kernel loads from neither netboot nor disk. In short, our kernel was defective.

We got our kernel config from some other website/newsgroup post, and then tailored it. Aparently is wasn't for our machine, or was for a different revision of the kernel, or we tweaked something the wrong way. So, we thought... "hey, lets grab the gzipped config they used in the netboot kernel from /proc". 8) We then tailored it to our preferences, and rebuilt the kernel, and it worked!! (*yay*/*cheer*/*dance*)

So, now we have a machine which automatically boots our own-kerneled Gentoo installation. We're all set, and ready to head to other things like X. :D Thanks for al the great software and support, guys, we'd have no chance otherwise.


Last edited by SilverDirk on Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Galahad
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the octane prom can load the linux kernel directly from the volume header, but it's a bit cumbersome always having to set some variables in the prom to load what you want.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galahad wrote:
the octane prom can load the linux kernel directly from the volume header, but it's a bit cumbersome always having to set some variables in the prom to load what you want.


No it can't. Apparently, the kernel b0rks rather badly when loaded in this manner.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can't? I had assumed it would be the same as indigo2 which can load linux just fine (as I tested myself).
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galahad wrote:
It can't? I had assumed it would be the same as indigo2 which can load linux just fine (as I tested myself).


As does both my Indy and Indigo2 Impact... but these are the exception to the rule -- or so I've been told.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's seems there is a problem with that , my Octane hangs in 'Loading Kernel' , let's hope this is an ARCload problem.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just curious, but why the heck would you want to run Linux on an Octane? Octane is a heavy-duty visualization machine, and it just seems silly to run an OS that doesn't have support for the video subsystem!

VPro is a very capable series of graphics hardware, and IRIX is the only OS that has proper support for it. IRIX comes with the MIPSpro C compiler, and you can compile/run all your favorite Open Source applications on IRIX. In fact, I'm typing this message in Firefox 1.5 on IRIX 6.5.22 on my Octane2 right now.

Do yourself a favor and go to nekochan.net and learn a little more about your machine and it's capabilities, then hit ebay and buy an IRIX CD set - you won't regret it once you see what VPro can really do....
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 10:16 am    Post subject: Irix Reply with quote

Maybe you are right but I am not into visualization stuff I just collect old machines and like Linux.

At the moment I am happy with netbooting my Octane and using the console (Thanks to Gentoo and its community), the only thing I really HATE about this machine is the noise.

It's the most noisy machine I have, after trying to open it in order to replace the fans with something more silent I failed miserably, I just can't find the way to take out the fans.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lupin_the_3rd wrote:
Just curious, but why the heck would you want to run Linux on an Octane? Octane is a heavy-duty visualization machine, and it just seems silly to run an OS that doesn't have support for the video subsystem!

VPro is a very capable series of graphics hardware, and IRIX is the only OS that has proper support for it. IRIX comes with the MIPSpro C compiler, and you can compile/run all your favorite Open Source applications on IRIX. In fact, I'm typing this message in Firefox 1.5 on IRIX 6.5.22 on my Octane2 right now.

Do yourself a favor and go to nekochan.net and learn a little more about your machine and it's capabilities, then hit ebay and buy an IRIX CD set - you won't regret it once you see what VPro can really do....


VPro is nice... but Linux support will come.
I believe OpenGL support has already been fathomed out... it's now just a case of working out DMA, and everything should be set.
Impact is the other way around, DMA works fine, but we're yet to gain OpenGL.

Besides, Linux/MIPS is rather, err... addictive. :-) I have played with IRIX (note, played... never got much further than that, as I lacked most of the critical pieces) on my Indy, but found Linux to be much more up-to-date and usable.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2005 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best point of irix is that it's very fast on these machines.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

and the worst part of IRIX is that it is totally screwed up ;-)

I mean really, putting ifconfig in /etc ? Half the system binaries are in /etc or other odd locations, and configuring the machine in general is a nightmare, since it is meant to be done through their control panel stuff. Add to that the problems of having all the wrong versions of libraries, and the pain of trying to get everything ironed out in order to run useful software (other than the packages provided by SGI, like Firefox), and the unpleasant learning curve involved with learning IRIX, and we'd just rather install something reliable and familiar like Gentoo.

Can the Octane's hardware really stand up to the new PCI express Raedon and GeForce cards, anyway? I'm thinking not. While it may have been a great graphics box once, it seems more useful now as a network endpoint and part-time desktop.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lupin_the_3rd wrote:
Just curious, but why the heck would you want to run Linux on an Octane?


because we can ;)? Seriously, back in the nineties I had a serous hard-on (sorry for the mental image!) for Silicon Graphics. To me, there were computers, and then there were Silicon Graphics. SGI made the ultimate dream-machines. And those dream-machine came with a price-tag to match.

Today, used SGI-machines are affordable. And for me at least, the idea of having a genuine (well, not 100% genuine, since it would be running Linux instead of IRIX) SGI-workstation is really, really appealing. Maybe I wouldn't be using the machine to it's full potential, but I would still have a SGI-workstation on my desk. Maybe I could give IRIX a shot, but in the end, I'm a Linux-user, not IRIX-user. And IRIX IS dying. I just don't see IRIX moving forward anymore, whereas Linux is moving forward at a trendemous pace.

Quote:
Octane is a heavy-duty visualization machine


And PS2 is a game-console, yet some people run Linux on it.

Quote:
Do yourself a favor and go to nekochan.net and learn a little more about your machine and it's capabilities


I did. I even dared to post a message on their forums mentioning that I'm interested in installing Linux on SGI-workstation. End-result? My post was deleted, my username in the forum was deleted, and I was banned from the website (I can't access the website from the machine I posted the message from, but I CAN access it from my machine at home).

As I have been checking out nekochan-forums, and usenet in finding info about SGI-hardware, I noticed that the SGI/IRIX-users are VERY hostile towards Linux. Linux in general is derided, and if someone mentions the possibility of running Linux on SGI-hardware, the lynch-mob appears. I for one can't understand that hostility.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SilverDirk wrote:
Can the Octane's hardware really stand up to the new PCI express Raedon and GeForce cards, anyway? I'm thinking not. While it may have been a great graphics box once, it seems more useful now as a network endpoint and part-time desktop.


PCI Express != PCI. It's another bus format entirely, a modern incarnation of AGP.

Even if the busses were compatable, video cards are a special case, as they get their ROMs mapped to a special location in RAM, and the system BIOS then jumps to instructions inside that ROM. These instructions are in x86 machine code ... totally useless on a MIPS machine.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SilverDirk wrote:
Ok, thats kind of what I was looking for. So this means the image file I downloaded for netbooting is in fact a plain old kernel.

Yup. ARCS is odd this way. Boots a straight-up kernel over the network w/o a hitch, but on anything other than IP22, hates loading it off the Vlume header.

Come to think of it, this is probably due to the ELF relocations the prom does in memory to shift segments of the kernel around to different memory addresses. Probably h0rks something. This was the primary challenge Stan faced when he designed arcload to boot across all SGI machines -- he needed a relocatable ECOFF for 32 bit systems, and a relocatable ELF64 for the 64bit systems. No easy task, and binutils' support for creating ECOFF, let alone relocatable ECOFF, is apparently in major bitrot land, so Stan had to write his own micro ELF->ECOFF converter, 'wreckoff' (seen briefly in the arcload build process).

Complete and utter guess, but no one's really been able to figure out why direct kernel loading works only on IP22 and none of the other supported systems.


SilverDirk wrote:
  • Octanes load their kernel file from a special kind of partition called a Volume Header, which isn't much different than a boot partition using some special (and very limited) filesystem

DVH isn't really even a file system. It's literally a raw partition area with "markers" indicating the offsets and sizes of stored images. The DVH header contains enough space to reference 16 images, each with a maximum of 8 character names. FAT16 is probably a more complex file system, if I recall correctly.



SilverDirk wrote:
  • Therefore, the root=/dev/ram0 filesystem must be coming from the netboot kernel image

/dev/ram0 is for initrd-based kernel images only. And those are soon-to-be things of the past, as the NewWay(TM) is a method called initramfs. initramfs is the current trick used to sneak in things like the embedded /proc/config.gz and such, and someone modified it to also hold a file system in memory, so it's virtually a universal way now for all linux-supported arches to have an embedded micro-file system in the kernel. This makes it perfect for netboots.

initramfs actually requires no root= parameter to be passed. My understanding of it is that the kernel checks to see if root= was passed, and it not, looks for a /init file in the initramfs archive embedded within. If it finds /init, it loads and executes that.


SilverDirk wrote:
  • By default, the kernel (or, just any executable really) the PROM loads is called sash

bzzzzt. Survey Says: 0 points!

Actually, the PROM doesn't care what any kernel is named. This kernel name is defined in the ARCS Prom variable OSLoadFilename. OSLoader is the boot loader that loads the kernel. In IRIX's case, 'sash' is the boot loader that loads whatever IRIX calls a kernel (probably /stand/vmunix or something).

For CD Booting, it's a whole different story. The PROM actually has one of two hardcoded values: sashARCS for 32-bit systems (IP22, IP32), and sash64 for 64bit systems (IP27, IP28, IP30). An IRIX install CD is much like a partitioned disk image, and thus has an SGI Disk Label on the CD allowing the CD to have partitions. Plus it has these two bootloaders in the DVH which the PROM looks for and loads the appropriate one, just like on an IRIX Install CD.


SilverDirk wrote:
  • The kernel image released in May has a bug which cripples the network card, resulting in a strange scenario where the machine successfully netboots and then suddenly can't talk to the DHCP server. (tx is fine, though rx no longer works). The solution is to use the new images that Kumba fixed at http://dev.gentoo.org/~kumba/mips/netboot/new/

Actually, in this particular case, it's the Network driver for both Octane (IP30) and Origin (IP27) systems that has the bug. The bug was dormant, until an upstream change in the networking layer caused the bug to bite us. That is since long gone, as Stan, the author of the Octane port, completely redrafted the IOC3 driver. IOC3 is sort of a quasi PCI-Device/Bus that has extra PCI devices, like scsi, networking, kb/mouse, etc, hanging off of it. Stan's newer IOC3 metadriver eliminates alot of the annoyances found in the older driver. However, his changes haven't been merged into linux-mips.org git yet.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galahad wrote:
the octane prom can load the linux kernel directly from the volume header, but it's a bit cumbersome always having to set some variables in the prom to load what you want.

Galahad wrote:
It can't? I had assumed it would be the same as indigo2 which can load linux just fine (as I tested myself).


Only IP22-class systems (Indy and Indigo2 R4x00) systems were able to do this. All other ported systems fail. We're not sure why specifically. It could be a kernel bug, a prom bug, could be the ELF/ECOFF relocation mess mentioned in my last post.

Even if you have an IP22 system, we highly recommended using a bootloader to load your kernels and try not to rely on DVH as an alternative.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lupin_the_3rd wrote:
Just curious, but why the heck would you want to run Linux on an Octane? Octane is a heavy-duty visualization machine, and it just seems silly to run an OS that doesn't have support for the video subsystem!

VPro is a very capable series of graphics hardware, and IRIX is the only OS that has proper support for it. IRIX comes with the MIPSpro C compiler, and you can compile/run all your favorite Open Source applications on IRIX. In fact, I'm typing this message in Firefox 1.5 on IRIX 6.5.22 on my Octane2 right now.

Do yourself a favor and go to nekochan.net and learn a little more about your machine and it's capabilities, then hit ebay and buy an IRIX CD set - you won't regret it once you see what VPro can really do....


Whether VPro works or not is really irrelevant. We support Linux on these systems purely as a hobbyist aspect. The sad fact is, SGI appears to be in ill health. Their stock is delisted, most of their core talent is with other firms (ArtX, ATI, Nintendo, etc), and they're making a rapid exit from the MIPS hardware market and embracing IA64.

Case-in-point, to truly unlock the power of one of these systems, you are correct, one needs IRIX. But one needs a whole *lot* more than just IRIX. The modular design of an Octane is so superior in so many ways, it's just not funny, and IRIX alone can't exploit all those features and add-on cards. It takes other IRIX software out there to do this, and that software is not very easy to come by for the average user looking to learn a little more about non-x86 hardware. Even if a user gets their hands on it, it's possible they may not understand how to use it. I'll admit if I got my hands on a copy of some 3d modelling program on IRIX that taps into the full power of a VPro, odds are it'd sit in my closet for years simply as a relic. I couldn't 3d-model my way out of a 2d paper bag, so such things are pretty useless to me. (And by extension, IRIX is useless to me).

Thus, I put these machines to a different use -- Linux. Can Linux tap the full power?, Nope. But I don't really care either. The stuff I do on my Octane is stuff I know how to do and have fun doing, and the machine fulfills that role extremely well. Will the full power of a VPro ever be unlocked in Linux?, Possibly. Stan, the guy who did the original port of Linux to the Octane, more or less has both ImpactSR and VPro reverse engineered w/o docs, so anything is possible in the future when he has time to implement code.

And honestly, if you think Linux on an Octane is some sort of unholy blasphemy, just wait until one of us gets our grubby paws on a Tezro :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Redhatter wrote:
SilverDirk wrote:
Can the Octane's hardware really stand up to the new PCI express Raedon and GeForce cards, anyway?

Even if the busses were compatable, video cards are a special case, as they get their ROMs mapped to a special location in RAM, and the system BIOS then jumps to instructions inside that ROM. These instructions are in x86 machine code ... totally useless on a MIPS machine.

I just mean that the raw rendering speed of top-end x86 hardware is rather good. PCIE contributes to x86 rendering speed. Can the VPro system pull off rendering on the same magnitude as needed for Doom3? It may have been a stunningly well-designed system that puts the rest of the industry to shame, but as clockspeeds climb upward new x86 systems with accelerators will eventually be better.

If you were going to set up a visualization box these days, I think x86 would be the choice.

As a sidenote, it turns out our machines don't have the VPro cards ;)


Kumba wrote:
SilverDirk wrote:
  • Octanes load their kernel file from a special kind of partition called a Volume Header, which isn't much different than a boot partition using some special (and very limited) filesystem

DVH isn't really even a file system. It's literally a raw partition area with "markers" indicating the offsets and sizes of stored images.

Well, its got variable-sized blocks of data that are indexed by ascii keys. "special very limited filesystem" fits well enough for me. ;)

Kumba wrote:
SilverDirk wrote:
  • By default, the kernel (or, just any executable really) the PROM loads is called sash

bzzzzt. Survey Says: 0 points!

Actually, the PROM doesn't care what any kernel is named. This kernel name is defined in the ARCS Prom variable OSLoadFilename. OSLoader is the boot loader that loads the kernel. In IRIX's case, 'sash' is the boot loader that loads whatever IRIX calls a kernel (probably /stand/vmunix or something).


(sort of what I meant by "default"). Original post updated. The point was that if you don't want to play around with stuff in the PROM, just name your loader "sash" in the volume header.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:55 am    Post subject: Octane 2 CPU R10000, MXI and 2nd card as well. Reply with quote

8)

Hi guys, I have been reading up in the forums quite a bit, I just got my first IP30 sys, I have had an Indigo 2 in the past (back in 1998, running Irix).

I have bootp loaded the netinstall image for the R10000 series, and get through the install process up to the point where I get this error message:

I run this command:

# USE="ip30" emerge mips-sources

But always get this error:

!!! Please attach the following file when filing a report to bugs.gentoo.org:
!!! /var/tmp/portage/gmp-4.2.1/work/gmp-4.2.1/config.log

!!! ERROR: dev-libs/gmp-4.2.1 failed.
Call stack:
ebuild.sh, line 1539: Called dyn_compile
ebuild.sh, line 939: Called src_compile
gmp-4.2.1.ebuild, line 42: Called econf '--localstatedir=/var/state/gmp' '--disable-mpfr' '--disable-mpbsd' '--enable-cxx'
ebuild.sh, line 541: Called die

!!! econf failed
!!! If you need support, post the topmost build error, and the call stack if relevant.

Any clues? I'm using the most recent files from the Gentoo Mips site to my knowledge.

Also, anyone need an IRIX with 1024 Megs Ram, 9 gig drive dual 150mhz R10000s for dev? I have a few and can sell them cheap.

Thanks!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:10 am    Post subject: Re: Octane 2 CPU R10000, MXI and 2nd card as well. Reply with quote

Pliablemammal wrote:
8)

Hi guys, I have been reading up in the forums quite a bit, I just got my first IP30 sys, I have had an Indigo 2 in the past (back in 1998, running Irix).

I have bootp loaded the netinstall image for the R10000 series, and get through the install process up to the point where I get this error message:

I run this command:

# USE="ip30" emerge mips-sources

But always get this error:

!!! Please attach the following file when filing a report to bugs.gentoo.org:
!!! /var/tmp/portage/gmp-4.2.1/work/gmp-4.2.1/config.log

!!! ERROR: dev-libs/gmp-4.2.1 failed.
Call stack:
ebuild.sh, line 1539: Called dyn_compile
ebuild.sh, line 939: Called src_compile
gmp-4.2.1.ebuild, line 42: Called econf '--localstatedir=/var/state/gmp' '--disable-mpfr' '--disable-mpbsd' '--enable-cxx'
ebuild.sh, line 541: Called die

!!! econf failed
!!! If you need support, post the topmost build error, and the call stack if relevant.

Any clues? I'm using the most recent files from the Gentoo Mips site to my knowledge.


You're the second person to hit this issue... something is up.

That said, apparently ddc solved the problem here: http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-p-3599548.html#3599548

I shall pass this message onto the rest of the dev team... something is up.

Quote:
Also, anyone need an IRIX with 1024 Megs Ram, 9 gig drive dual 150mhz R10000s for dev? I have a few and can sell them cheap.


An Irix did you say? Nice... it'll go nicely with my Solaris, and Windowses sitting in the corner. :-P
(Hint: IRIX is an operating system, not a machine)
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Pliablemammal
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tight okay i will get right on it and see if that will fix my issue, i was able to compile it earlier today doing some weird stuff like using n32 vs the other options, but it wouldn't do anything past emerging the kernel src, making it, and after that wouldn't emerge anything else at all...

okay here goes nothing.. i'll post back shortly.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pliablemammal wrote:
tight okay i will get right on it and see if that will fix my issue, i was able to compile it earlier today doing some weird stuff like using n32 vs the other options, but it wouldn't do anything past emerging the kernel src, making it, and after that wouldn't emerge anything else at all...

okay here goes nothing.. i'll post back shortly.


Errr, you should definately not be messing with n32. That is a flag that's not to be meddled with.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey if I open up telnet on my router can you take a look at the error, I tried but I can't get the remerg tarball to install correctly so I'm stuck in the water at the moment.
I only need a little help getting the linux kernel src to compile and I think I can install everything else from there... Not too sure though maybe there will be other broken files in the IP30 release?

Please advise thanks!
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Errm, I'm not going to do it for you. ① because it won't help you if you get the problem again, and ② you don't want complete strangers messing around with your hardware.
(Also, ③ with Telnet, there's no guarantee that it won't be a complete stranger)

How about we start with emerge --info? What settings have you got in make.conf?
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