[Gllug] SGI Octane pain

Christian Smith csmith at thewrongchristian.org.uk
Tue Jul 11 16:01:05 UTC 2006

Richard uttered:

> It seems that the only Linux distro which even makes a tilt at supporting SGI 
> Octane hardware is Gentoo. This fact alone makes me unhappy. IP30 is the 
> problem child of the Linux family, and only the very clever/unstable folks at 
> Gentoo are willing to give it some love.
> I don't have access to IRIX install disks, nor another machine I can put this 
> (SCSI) disk into :-( I also don't have the exact PROM error message in front 
> of me, but it's something like "no media present: scsi(0)disk(1)...". hinv 
> does report the disk.

Can't help there. I've never used an Octane and it's been a while since I 
powered up my Indigo.

> So, using some highly suspect methods, and a total lack of regard for man 
> pages, I've trashed (poss. never had) the sgilabel that's supposed to be on 
> my disk. I have half a Gentoo (stage4?) installation on the disk, compiled a 
> kernel, and now I can't boot the disk. I'm scared witless of re-partitioning 
> the disk because I don't think I'll be able to put sash back on it 
> afterwards, which means I won't be able to execute the all important 
> "bootp():/sgikern...." at the PROM, so I'll be left with a "functioning" box 
> that will not boot from disk, and won't give me access to the prompt so I can 
> boot from the network. Well, that's the fear anyway. Since 2am this morning, 
> I have figured out that I might be able to use an NFS mount to hold sash 
> while I work on the partitions, and if there's an issue I'll have a 25kg 
> paper weight, but that's not the real problem anyway.

You don't need a disk to be network bootable, so don't worry about 
trashing the disk label.

> How do I proceed from here? Can I re-build the sgilabel without 
> re-partitioning the disk? Has anyone on the list succeeded in running 
> not-IRIX on an SGI machine (preferably Linux on an IP30/Octane)? If someone 
> gave me the sgilabel from their disk, what would happen if I put it on mine 
> (dvhtool can/"should" accomplish this lesser task)?

I've briefly had NetBSD up on an SGI Indigo (IP12). IP30 is not a 
supported NetBSD platform. Bummer.

You can netboot an SGI using bootp/NFS, so you can always hand craft a 
root image on NFS and boot to that, and rebuild the disklabel. The 
instructions for booting from network can be found in the NetBSD 
installation guide. Just replace the NetBSD kernel and distribution with a 
Linux kernel and distribution:)


While I've never tried it, your best bet might be to use a netboot image 
of Debian/MIPS, using debootstrap, and compile a custom kernel that 
supports IP30 (the userland should be the same on any MIPS machine).

> Thanks,
> Richard


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