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SouthOfHeaven
Tux's lil' helper
Tux's lil' helper


Joined: 05 Apr 2003
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:28 am    Post subject: Linux on Silicon Graphics Workstation 540 Reply with quote

This is a Quad Xeon machine ... my main question is graphic driver for its Cobalt Graphics Chipset, would i be able to use this machine at its full extent in linux ? I have seen this deal where i can buy this machine for $200 CAD ... so thats about $150 USD so im thinking about it, but i am worried i will not be able to run Xorg with its graphics card. Any ideas ?

Thank you,
Andrei
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Kumba
Developer
Developer


Joined: 16 Jul 2002
Posts: 383
Location: Sigma 957

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know, the VisW series of workstations (which yours is, I believe) use the same graphics driver as the MIPS-based SGI O2, called "gbefb" (Graphics BackEnd FrameBuffer). Youy'll have to check on that, though. We currently don't have support for these systems in Gentoo (to the best of my knowledge), even though they are x86-class, primarily due to the unique nature of the bootloader it'll need (arclx iirc), and the graphics chipset.


--Kumba
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tcort
Retired Dev
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Joined: 10 Jul 2004
Posts: 17
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 4:06 pm    Post subject: Installing Gentoo on an SGI 540 Reply with quote

I just posted some install notes for my SGI 320 on Gentoo Wiki. It should also apply to the 540.
http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_SGI_320_setup_using_ARCLX.exe

From http://www.leupen.com/~remko/sgi/Tutorials/Linux_install/Linux1.htm:
Quote:

What works

Linux support is not perfect for the VWS, the main problem being the lack of information from SGI for their proprietary architecture. This is necessary for full Linux support. Currently most of the hardware has basic functionality and existing development kernels are quite stable. The following parts work:

* Base hardware (CPU including SMP, memory, PCI)
* Graphics subsystem (Cobalt) including digital output, but not accelerated.
* Serial and parallel ports
* IDE controller
* Qlogic 1080 SCSI controller
* USB Keyboard/Mouse - additional units work intermittently
* Audio interfaces
* Ethernet

What does not work

* Video I/O
* IEEE1394 controller
* Accelerated X
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roterstern
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Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi tcort!

I have also problems installing Gentoo on Sgi 320. Did you succeded to compile your own 2.6 Kernel on the machine? Do you really use arclx.exe? Larc.exe works only on my machine to boot an old Slackware Kernel. Nothing else. Do you have some hints for me? Thanks!

http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-430273-highlight-sgi+320.html
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darkn0th
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Joined: 14 Jul 2004
Posts: 42
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(dunno if anyone is going to bother to read this but anyway)

So I've got a sgi vsw320 too, pentium III coppermine@850Mhz, patched to the latest firmware release (1.005) although it's not the latest board (1.006J) according to the site mentionned above. I followed the slackware install procedure which does work, you can even upgrade to slackware 9.1 afterwards. However I have never been able to boot any other kernel than the sgi 2.2.10 one succesfully. The others I've tried have given various results, going from freezing at the arcboot stage (kernel is loaded with the memory entry point messages but nothing more (using 2.6.16 kernels compiled under gentoo) to booting then crashing with either a hang when detecting the SCSI Qlogic 1080 board or throwing an APIC on CPU 40(40) error (using 2.6.x kernels found on Florian Boor's site).

Also I've only been able to get the floppy root disk to work once, all my floppies seem to die otherwise when using DD. I may try using the windows Rawrite.exe tool to make another go at it as I've held on to the dreaded Win2000 partition till I get a more functional linux. Ideally I want a full gentoo distro.

My current thought path is to do a boot cd to do away completely with unreliable floppies. However my lack of expertise here is telling... :

I took my slakware sgi iso, added the contents of the color.gz file (which is a ramdisk really) and booted it. Of course everything was read only so not terribly functional at all. I'm now examining how knoppix and catalyst produce their livecds, although the fact that you have to use arclx2.exe to boot really seems to constrain the possibilities. What's needed is too be able to pass on from the ARC config page of the PROM the ramdisk emplacement. So far I can only pass on devices as the root disk, not a file (you get kernel panics on boot if you attempt something like root=color.gz or initrd=color.gz (color.gz being in the same partition as the kernel).

I'm also fairly sure there's some kind of size limit to the kernel that arclx2.exe (decembrer 2003 version) can load. I haven't examined the code but it seems really weird that all the kernels I've compiled in gentoo have failed. Compiling 2.6 ones from slackware, even in 9.1 is a no go as the toolset is just too old and throws up loads of errors. So I'm pretty stuck here. If any one has ideas please do tell. I've scoured the linux-vsw sourceforge mailing list for info but couldn't find anything much. Maybe the only answer is to acquire a second CPU + VRM so APIC errors disappear.
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darkn0th
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Joined: 14 Jul 2004
Posts: 42
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I've finally cracked it. I've booted a patched 2.6.12.3, a vanilla 2.6.16 and a vanllia 2.6.17 all compiled from a fresh slakware 9.1 install. Full instructions to install gentoo will follow when I've worked around a fairly serious Intel EtherExpress 10/100 timeout / eeprom corruption issue with the kernels, but otherwise it all works remarkably well. Watch this space...
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Nabele
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Joined: 14 May 2007
Posts: 1
Location: Lausanne

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello to all.

I've got a set of 8 SGI 320 machines that I would like to setup as a cluster. Do you have news on your setup?

Thanks.
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