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Joined: 17 Oct 2002
Posts: 886
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 11:28 pm    Post subject: Indy Install: Confused on Slave kernel compile Reply with quote

Hello all,

I've acquired 4 Indy R5000 boxes. I'm reading on the mips install guide...and now over to the diskless guide.

I'm ok with making sure I have what I need on the 'master' box as far as kernel options. But, I'm confused as to how to put the 'slave' boxes kernel together.

The master box is my Gentoo Linux box....x86 architecture..(Pentium 4 I think). How do I compile a mips kernel on that box? Or, is it saying I just do a small kernel....x86...since it will be coming from that box to the Indy over the net-boot.

I'm just a little confused here..never done diskless or net-boot....and need a little push in the right direction.


Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.........
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Joined: 20 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a bit confused as to what you're asking...

Okay, What exactly did you have in mind?

Compilling a MIPS kernel:
First, you need to download a MIPS kernel -- the stock source will not work for MIPS. There's a couple of ways to obtain it.

Method 1: Gentoo Portage
- Simply run 'emerge mips-sources' (if need be, add the x86 keyword to the ebuild) . This will put the files under /usr/src, patched, ready to go.

Method 2: Linux-MIPS CVS
- Have a look at the instructions here. Substute "linux" as the repository. If you want one of the 2.4 series of kernels, append -r linux_2_4. I also have a small script that does this all for you.

Method 3:
- I've recently started producing weekly snapshots of Linux-MIPS CVS here. Note that this is hosted on my home internet connection (512/128Kbit ADSL) so it may not be the fastest way to fetch the kernel.

Compilling a kernel

For netbooting in general, you usually want to compile the following options into the kernel:
- Device drivers for the network card (for SGI, that will be most likely the Seeq driver)
- IP: DHCP or IP: BOOTP support (under Device Drivers-->Networking Support-->TCP/IP Networking-->IP: kernel level autoconfiguration)
- NFS Client support and Root over NFS support.

Assuming you've got a cross-compiller going (see below), you should be able to type something like the following to produce the kernel.

$ make vmlinux modules CROSS_COMPILE=mips-unknown-linux-gnu-
$ mkdir ../image
$ make modules_install INSTALL_MOD_PATH=$PWD/../image

Your kernel will be the vmlinux file sitting inside the kernel source, the last line above helpfully puts your kernel modules in the $PWD/../image directory, so you can put them in the right place for the Indy to find them.

Cross Compillers:

If you haven't got a cross compiller yet... install one using the following commands:
# emerge sync
# emerge crossdev
# crossdev --arch=mips

That should build a cross compiller in /home/crossdev/mips. To add it to your PATH:

# export PATH="$PATH:/home/crossdev/mips/bin"

I recommend putting the following into your /etc/profile:
for d in /home/crossdev/*; {
        [ -d $d ] &&

export PATH

That script sets up the PATH variable for you.

Root FS preparations and Booting the machine
Once that is done, you should be able to set up some root directories (using a Stage 3 tarball) in your tftpboot directory, export them out, and fire each box up in turn. The Linux Documentation Project has 3 howtos on exactly this topic.

As far as booting the actual Indy up, you'll need to hit ESC before it fires up, and press 5 to get to the PROM monitor prompt. At this prompt, use the commands:
> unsetenv netaddr
> unsetenv dlserver
> init
> bootp(): root=/dev/nfs ip=dhcp

Hopefully that should do what you want.
Stuart Longland (a.k.a Redhatter, VK4MSL)
I haven't lost my mind - it's backed up on a tape somewhere...

Gentoo/MIPS Cobalt developer, Mozilla herd member.
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