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Installing Gentoo on an E4500
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ibtim13
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Joined: 12 Sep 2003
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Location: Troy, NY

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:44 pm    Post subject: Installing Gentoo on an E4500 Reply with quote

I have just acquired a Sun E4500 with 8 400Mhz 8MB USII CPUs, 8GB ram, and no harddrives.

I want to install Gentoo on it and I've heard hints that none of the internal drive boards available for the E4500 are compatible with Linux.
Is this true? If so, are there any specific requirements for external drives that would be capable of running Linux?
I've currently got an external SCSI drive running off of one of my Ultra 2's, I could use that if it would work. It's LVD not HVD though and I'm not sure if the SBUS LVD SCSI controller I have is bootable. It may be, its a PTI Qlogic, ISP (qpti is the driver in linux).

I've had Gentoo running on a pair of Ultra 2's for the past 3 years and have been very happy with it, far happier than I have ever been with solaris.
Worst comes to worst I'll put Solaris 10 on there and deal with it, but I'd really rather not.

Aside from that, I'm open to anyone's advice on installing/running gentoo on an E4500. I've seen a couple people mention having them around here so I'm hopeful that if there are any pitfalls someone will know of them.

Thanks
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Grrr, can't think of anything clever right now, I'll go back and edit this later (9/12/2003)
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alex.blackbit
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

why you don't just try out if the internal backplane works?
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ibtim13
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't yet have the machine, it's en-route. I wanted to acquire any other parts I might need before or soon after it gets here.
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Grrr, can't think of anything clever right now, I'll go back and edit this later (9/12/2003)
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ibtim13
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Joined: 12 Sep 2003
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Location: Troy, NY

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone know if it's normal for an E4500 to take about 15 minutes to get to the OBP ok prompt? It took so long I thought the machine was dead. It did finally get there and I was able to boot the gentoo cd, but 15 minutes is a very long time to POST. I've never seen a machine take more than 30 seconds to get that far, even much older machines. My Ultra2s take about 12 seconds.
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blu3bird
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check if diag-switch? is enabled and diag-level is set to max. In that case 15 minutes should be normal.

Code:
printenv diag-level
printenv diag-switch?


If it is just disable it.

Code:
setenv diag-switch? false
reset-all

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Weeve
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used an E3500 and for non-headless configurations, its definitely a couple of minutes before it anything posts on the monitor.
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ibtim13
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

diag-switch? was not enabled, it takes even longer to boot to the OBP prompt with that enabled, closer to 25 minutes.

Also, in case anyone is interested, the answer to the question of whether the internal disc boards work is yes, as long as you connect them to a supported controller. I hadn't realized until I actually got one of the boards that the SCSI connection was done via an external cable and could be connected to any SCSI controller.

And now for my next question: Does anyone know if sun SBus gigabit ethernet cards work in linux. I've heard that the sun gigabit ethernet driver only works for the PCI cards, but if there's any evidence to the contrary I'd be happy to hear it. They're all fiber, so I'd need to get a bunch of fiber equipment to be able to use them,
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alex.blackbit
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

since i currently do not have a sun system running myself i do not see the sun-specific options in "make menuconfig".
but after a quick look in /usr/src/linux/drivers/net/Kconfig i found that:
Code:
config SUNGEM
        tristate "Sun GEM support"
        depends on NET_ETHERNET && PCI
        select CRC32
        help
          Support for the Sun GEM chip, aka Sun GigabitEthernet/P 2.0.  See also
          <http://www.sun.com/products-n-solutions/hardware/docs/pdf/806-3985-10.pdf>.

config CASSINI
        tristate "Sun Cassini support"
        depends on NET_ETHERNET && PCI
        select CRC32
        help
          Support for the Sun Cassini chip, aka Sun GigaSwift Ethernet. See also
          <http://www.sun.com/products-n-solutions/hardware/docs/pdf/817-4341-10.pdf>

i believe these are the two sun gigabit cards that are supported.
since i read "depends on NET_ETHERNET && PCI" in both cases i would believe that you have no luck with sbus cards. sorry.
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krakadikt5k
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got 2 E4500s running already. there is an evident lack of hardware support for newer sbus cards, to the point where i was considering sbus pcmcia adaptors for pcmcia gigabit net cards. if you have any questions about 4500s i might be able to help you, i haven't worked on them terribly much, most of the time i spend on them is just trying to kludge portage into installing software that works.
-dan
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Tiberizzle
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd recommend getting the PCI I/O module, 2x 64bit/66MHz PCI slots and gobs of fun debugging random PCI devices never intended for use on a sparc64 system :wink:, but the seletion is a lot better. I eBay'd mine for around 80$, I've seen some go for as low as 25$ though.

It still has the integrated SCSI you need for the disk board and media tray, so you can ditch the SBus module altogether if you want. I believe Intel e1000 NICs are fairly stable on sparc64, and probably a good bit cheaper than blessed Sun NICs of any variety.
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ibtim13
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds like a great idea. All the PCI I/O boards on ebay at the moment are priced pretty high ~$300USD, but I'm guessing if I wait a bit someone may throw one up there for less.
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