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salivian
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Joined: 15 Sep 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 11:33 pm    Post subject: Gentoo on SGI Visual Workstation 320 Reply with quote

Hi ...

Did anybody try installing gentoo on SGI Visual Workstation 320/540 ?

Will it work ...? (will X work?)


Thanks!
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djrogier
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Joined: 19 May 2005
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Location: Greenville, SC

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 2:47 am    Post subject: SGI VWE 320 Reply with quote

SGI says only certain distros will work on the Visual Workstation Enviroment. I need to install something besides SuSe or RedHat on this box... :? PLEASE!

Has any one had any luck with getting the install even started? SGI's only instructions are for RH6.1 and SuSe.

FYI... the VWE has a visual boot loader stored in the PROM with all kinds of wacky differences.

This is a 2x PIII 450 with 512MB RAM and SCSI HDD with CDROM and FLOPPY
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robbat2
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Joined: 19 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

See the gentoo wiki for the existing process (it involves installing Slack8 first).
I'm working on a pure-Gentoo way for installing (also detailed on the wiki).
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darker
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to post this in the alternative architectures forum.
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robbat2
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was following up for the good of the other users, while seeing if anybody had asked about the VisWS before.
They aren't really alternative architectures, it's an SMP x86 box, just with a very funky firmware instead of a BIOS.
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darker
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

robbat2 wrote:
I was following up for the good of the other users, while seeing if anybody had asked about the VisWS before.
They aren't really alternative architectures, it's an SMP x86 box, just with a very funky firmware instead of a BIOS.

Oops! I didn't read carefully enough. I saw SGI and assumed it was one of those MIPS machines. Sorry.
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darkn0th
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Joined: 14 Jul 2004
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Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm reopening this thread as I'm going to once again try to get Gentoo working on a SGI VisualStation 320 (and if I win a bid on Sunday, a 540 too). Since the loss of all data from the gentoo wiki, I'm going to rewrite the post. It may still involve Slackware 8, not sure yet. It's certainly easier with Win2K preinstalled as you can copy files to the precious /dev/hda2 fat16 partition with network support and all. Booting anything else is *really* complicated. More news as I make progress (I'll post on Monday or Tuesday ).
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robbat2
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:03 pm    Post subject: Content backup Reply with quote

Here's a backup of the content of the page, as it was at the end of 2006.
http://dev.gentoo.org/~robbat2/sgi_visws_320/

That was shortly before I lost my VisWS320 hardware, and I don't believe ANYBODY touched in the intervening years.
The 540 would be wicked if it was fully equipped.

Here's my hints on working on it, you'll need an IDE ZIP drive in the machine, as the native bootloader couldn't handle CDs at all when I tried. You might be able to get away with arclx on a floppy and the crazy kernel on a CDR.

- Start with your kernel, configure and prepare it.
- Build the modules.
- Build an initramfs containing ALL of the modules you need, be generous.
- The initramfs should also contain a very generous busybox, enough that you can bootstrap yourself with it (network file access esp).
- Build the initramfs INTO the kernel.
- Put ArcLX AND the kernel onto a zip disk.
- Have fun booting from there onwards.
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darkn0th
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info robbat2. It'll help me I'm sure. Just hope that the 2.6.26 kernel (the last that supports the VSW machines directly) can deal with initializing the network card's firmware properly. That had always been a problem for me.
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darkn0th
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK I scored a dual Xeon 550MHz 1Gb VSW540 with an ide 160Gb drive. I've got a 15Gb 15k SCA drive but no adapter for it. At least it's an SMP box and fully equipped (well, could do with a couple more procs :) ).

Anyway, on the VSW320 I've been running into issues booting a 2.6 kernel, be it a precompiled one from Florian Boor's site or my own using vanilla 2.6.26. arclx2.exe starts up but won't load my kernel! So I'm stuck with the antique 2.2.10 kernel on a slackware base. I'm now going to try on the VSW540 mainly, and adapt any procedure to the vsw320 not that it's that different in the end. More to follow.
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darkn0th
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, I'm stuck this time. I've compiled using gcc 3 & 4 vanilla kernels 2.6.23.37 & 2.6.26.8 but arclx2.exe just hangs. It goes a bit further with the gcc3 compiled kernels, saying it's loading the kernel at 0x1000000 but doesn't do anything else. This is on the VSW320. On the VSW540 *no* kernel will load. I've tried combinations of arclx.exe (the SGI 1999 one) and arclx2.exe but it doesn't get me anywhere. It's not a syntax problem, I can see the file being selected but then blam. If robbat2 or anyone else has an idea I'd love to hear it. So much for my assumption that an SMP machine would work better...
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