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Netbooting a Sparc for Installation via Debian TFTP image
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Joined: 11 Dec 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 3:27 pm    Post subject: Netbooting a Sparc for Installation via Debian TFTP image Reply with quote

I wrote this months ago and it was sitting around on my machine. I figured I'd post it since someone mentioned using a windows TFTP program, and we don't want this.

I figured out how to do this from multiple sources on the internet. No single source has totally correct for netbooting with Gentoo.

Here is how I set up netbooting to allow my PIII gentoo machine to netboot a Sun Sparc Ultra 2 Creator 3D.

The Debian instructions are located here:

However, there are differences in the configuration needed. Gentoo has different versions of some of the servers, so configuration is different from the above site.

Here is my set up:
grendel PIII gentoo 1.4_rc1 ip
nasgul Ultra 2 mac address: XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX ipaddress

On my small network I knew that was free (the rest is DHCP controlled from a router) However, the machines were connected only to a hub and not the DHCP routed for the boot. I don't know if that would be a problem...

1) get the software

emerge netkit-bootp
emerge netkit-tftpd
emerge rarpd

2) make a directory for tftp
default is /tftpboot

3) get a debian tftpboot.img file for booting and copy it to /tftpboot then you need a symolic link to the file inside tftpboot. The needed name is the hex value of the ip address. I decided to give the sparc machine the ip address, and this translates to C0A80014. So just make a link with the correct name to tftpboot.img. Older Sparcs that are not ultra need to have there extension on the end of the file name

4) The proper files need to be configured to allow everything to work

/etc/ethers ( for rarpd )
# Sun_Mac_Address Sun_IP_Address

/etc/hosts grendel localhost
# Sun_IP_Address Sun_Host_Name nasgul

/etc/bootparams ( for bootparamd which does bootp )

nasgul root=

/etc/inetd.conf ( used to start tftp )

#I copied this from elsewhere
tftp dgram udp wait root /usr/sbin/in.tftpd in.tftpd /tftpboot


To see as much input as possible, I opened multiple xterms and issues the following commands one in each. The commands enable debugging so that most info can be seen.

rarpd -e /etc/ethers -i eth0 -n -v -d

portmap -dv (needs to be started before bootparamd )

bootparamd -d -s

/etc/init.d/inetd start (for tftp may need to be restart if inetd
already runs other programs. the actual executable is in.tftpd )

tftp can be tested by executing: "tftp localhost" and then "get
tftpboot.img" It should display the time it took to download. This
should be done from a directory other than /tftpboot

then start the Sparc and hit Stop - A during the boot. then type net
boot. That should do it.

Possible problems (I say possible because I had trouble booting for a long time. I believe the ultimate problem was an incorrectly named boot image. However, I spent a lot of time changing everything else before I realized I had to rename the boot image):

I believe the procedure requires the ethernet driver to be in multicast mode. Multicast can be checked with ifconfig -a. If it down not say MULTICAST you can try to enable it with "ifconfig eth0 multicast". It is usually automatically enabled, but for some reason my Linksys 10/100 card doesn't have that automatically enabled on boot (tulip driver). Multicast is a kernel option, so you may need to do a kernel compiliation.

I originally made the wrong file link to tftpboot.img You can check
your system log for the tftp request and see what file the Sun Machine is requesting.

Booting the Sun Machine without being connected to a network and then connecteding to a hub didn't activate the connection for some reason. tpe-link-test? was set to false at the time. Enabling the test, and making the required reboot allowed the ethernet adapter to work again...
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