PL 1600 Debian

PL 1600 Debian


This post was last updated on June 1st, 2020 at 04:06 pm

SmartStart 5.0 system erase
manual install
set date/time (I set to GMT time rather than local time)
sys cfg
cfg Smart-2/DH
install F10 partition
SmartStart 5.0 completes

Boot to Debin 3.0 net install CD (10MB)
cfg kbd/us
preload modules from floppy/skip
pop in floppy with cpqarray.o on ext2 from drivers.tgz
mount /dev/fd0 /mnt
insmod /mnt/cpqarray.o
umount /mnt
pop out floppy (after light stops)
partition a hard drive / /dev/ida/c0d0
c0d0p3 compaq diags
add /boot, /, and swap
mark swap type 82 (linux swap)
/boot: new, primary, 100 (MB), beginning
mark /boot bootable
swap: new, logical, 1024 (MB), beginning
type 82 (linux swap)
/: new, logical, rest of space (7933 MB)

So you should have something similar to:

c0d0p3       primary  Compaq diagnostics    37.61MB
c0d0p1  boot primary  Linux                100.28MB
c0d0p5       logical  Linux swap          1023.60MB
c0d0p6       logical  Linux               7933.88MB


Initialize your / partition (c0d0p6)
Initialize your /boot partition (c0d0p1)

Follow the rest of the steps:
install kernel and driver modules, from CD
Install base system, oops no network
Notice, no network, so let’s get the network running:
Configure device drivers, net, tlan
configure the network, dhcp
Install base system, network, set proxy if needed (

I can get the mouse working on the PL1600 by specifying nousb as a boot parm, so here goes:
Edit kernel boot parameters, nousb

I can’t find any way to get cpqarray into the kernel, so here’s the manual way of getting that in there:

It is offering to make a boot disk or reboot, so I’ll take this opportunity to do the initrd stuff now:
ls /target
ls /target/boot
chroot /target
If you need a http proxy, then set it here:
vi /etc/profile, add http_proxy= and the same for https_proxy, also add export http_proxy https_proxy.
su –
mount -t proc /proc /proc

NIC is already up and running, or you could bring it up now if you are re-rescuing your system

apt isn’t working, so let’s run base-config, this seems like an appropriate step, you also set your root password and other important stuff during this step

base-config is offering to run tasksel and dselect, I’ll decline now and will set up those later.

Exiting base-config you get a little message conserning telinit timeout, return code 1, just ignore that.

apt-get install initrd-tools
The above installs ash, zlib1g, cramfsprogs, and initrd-tools.
This uses cramfsprogs, maybe that was my problem before with the other cramfs package.

I run mkinitrd -k -o /boot/initrd.rb, but I’m not too pleased with the outcome, I can’t open up the initrd file because it says “mount: fs type cramfs not supported by kernel”. I’ll try this one, but I don’t think it will work. I will take the results and make our own ext2 initrd and test out which one works, cramfs or ext2 — I know the ext2 will work.

cd /tmp
dd if=/dev/zero of=initrd.ext2.rb bs=1024k count=4
yes y | mke2fs initrd.ext2.rb
mkdir initrd.ext2.rb.d
mount initrd.ext2.rb initrd.ext2.rb.d/ -o loop
(cd /tmp/mkinitrd.9508/initrd/ && tar -cf – .)|(cd /tmp/initrd.ext2.rb.d && tar -xvf -)
#***** change the 9508 to match whatever number you have on your system***#
umount initrd.ext2.rb.d/
rmdir initrd.ext2.rb.d/
mv initrd.ext2.rb /boot/
ln -s /boot/initrd.ext2.rb /initrd.ext2.rb

For a little cleanup I will change the name of /boot/initrd.rb to /boot/initrd.cram.rb
And I will put a link as follows:
ln -s /boot/initrd.cram.rb /initrd.cram.rb

The next step is to add an initrd= entry into /etc/lilo.conf, then run dpkg-reconfigure lilo to stamp the hard drive. There is no lilo.conf yet, so we have to run that from the installer menu.

Make system bootable
Please don’t choose the mbr, choose the /boot partition (or / if no /boot partition), this is to keep the F10 key press functionality on boot. I choose /dev/ida/c0d0p1
I put all items found onto the LILO boot menu, this way the F10 partition can be selected from LILO as well as pressing F10 at boot time.

DO NOT install a Master Boot Record if you wish to keep the F10 key press functionality at boot time.

I will skip adding the initrd entry to /etc/lilo.conf and running the dpkg-reconfigure lilo, so that I can try out the 2 initrd’s I created.

Remove the debian boot cd and choose “restart the computer”

At the LILO boot prompt specify Linux initrd=initrd.cram.rb or linux initrd=initrd.ext2.rb

I specify Linux initrd=initrd.cram.rb, no luck
I specify Linux initrd=initrd.ext2.rb, success

Rename Other (/dev/ida/c0d0p3) to be SCU – Compaq System Configuration Utilities

It appears that you can’t pass initrd= on the LILO boot prompt. I will modify lilo.conf to have 3 entries, 1 plain, 1 with initrd=initrd.cram.rb, and 1 with initrd=initrd.ext2.rb, will run dpkg-reconfigure lilo, then will boot trying the 3 options. I thought for sure it would take initrd=, I know it does take init=. I guess I have some reading to do. I will complete this entry Monday (1/12/2004).

Rescue consists of the following
boot to net install cd again
pop in floppy (with cpqarray.o on ext2 fs)
mount /dev/fd0 /mnt
insmod /mnt/cpqarray.o
umount /mnt
pop out floppy (after light stops)

mount /dev/ida/c0d0p6 /target
mount /dev/ida/c0d0p1 /target/boot
chroot /target
su –
mount -t proc /proc /proc
vi /etc/lilo.conf

copy 3 lines of image=/vmlinuz, label=Linux, and read-only. Paste twice, change the labels on 2 of them and add initrd accordingly




dpkg-reconfigure lilo

umount /proc
cd /
umount /target/boot
umount /target

ALT+F1, pull out floppy and cd, choose “reboot the system”

Maybe I’ll give try3 a round to clean this up more, but that’s probably not necessary

cramfs didn’t work, I know 4MB on my ext2 is overkill. I could add on compression for it and could probably shrink the size of the initrd by using “du -s” on that directory for the initrd. I’ll rely on later finding the “proper” way of creating an initrd for debian.

ext2 worked, so I’ll leave it at that for a while.
Oh, and don’t forget to mark the default to be initrd.ext2.rb

Try 1

My attempts on Debian 3.0 on PL1600 w/ cpqarray.o (Smart-2/DH)

I started out with SmartStart 5, did a system erase, performed a manual install of Linux. This configured everything including the array and also installed the F10 partition. I could have also done this manually: smartstart-manual.html

I used a 10MB net boot CD

Also of note I have the embedded tlan nic and 2 add in eepro100 nics. I used the first eepro100 nic for all my net communications during the installation.

I needed to add the cpqarray.o driver since I had no other storage. I couldn’t figure out how to get any driver disks working (the set I found was a split set so they had to be recombined to be useful, I don’t have info on this so I just skipped that). So I grabbed drivers.tgz:

I unpacked drivers.tgz and grabbed out cpqarray.o (I tried making the floppy disk structure in hopes the installer would like it, but no joy. So, just mke2fs a floppy and copy cpqarray.o to the root directory.

Start the installer, answer most of the questions, then at the appropriate time switch over to vt2 (ALT+F2) and insmod the cpqarray.o driver

mount /dev/fd0 /mnt
insmod /mnt/cpqarray.o
umount /dev/fd0

You will have to get the installer scren to move once, in order to find the drives, so just pick something like “configure keyboard”, then it will find the drives and allow you to begin partitioning, etc.

Note that this system (PL1600) takes the F10 partition. You may wish to take care and not overwrite the master boot record (/dev/ida/c0d0, /dev/cciss/c0d0, or /dev/sda) when installing LILO. Also don’t delete the F10 partition. Just create a /boot as a primary and mark it bootable (probably don’t need the separate /boot partition, could likely create / as a primary and mark it bootable).

When I finished up I couldn’t find any way to convince the installer to load cpqarray.o on each boot.

I rebooted the system and no cpqarray.o was loaded.

I proceeded to rescue the system with the same net install CD and I created an initrd.

debian initrd help:

I configured my proxy (/etc/profile – http_proxy=, same for https_proxy, and also export http_proxy https_proxy). “su -” to re-read /etc/profile

I installed via apt-get install packagename the following packages: file, binutils, initrd-tools, and maybe modutils and mkcramfs.

I had zero luck with the default “mkinitrd -o /boot/initrd.rb”. I tried reading the file and I was informed I had no cramfs support. Great, let’s fall back to ext2.

Now, proceed to make a script, I stuck it in /etc/mkinitrd/mkext2fs.rb, and marked it executable.

# Note, that OUTFILE=$2 didn't work for me so I hardcoded it to my initrd file.
echo debug dirname is $DIRNAME
echo debug outfile is $OUTFILE

# Note, I hardcoded this to 4MB
dd if=/dev/zero of=$OUTFILE bs=1024k count=4
ls -ltrh $OUTFILE
yes y | mke2fs $OUTFILE
mkdir ${OUTFILE}.d
mount $OUTFILE $OUTFILE.d/ -o loop
(cd $DIRNAME/ && tar -cf - .)|(cd ${OUTFILE}.d/ && tar -xvf -)
umount ${OUTFILE}.d/
rmdir ${OUTFILE}.d/

I edited /etc/mkinitrd/mkinitrd.conf so that my script would run (last line in the file). The commented line is the original, I changed it to the non-commented line below (thanks to man mkcramfs on what the values of %s and %s were):

# Command to generate the initrd image.
#MKIMAGE='mkcramfs %s %s > /dev/null'
MKIMAGE='/etc/mkinitrd/mkext2fs.rrb %s %s'

I then ran mkinitrd -o /boot/initrd.rrb and it generated an initrd with cpqarray.o in there.

I added the following line to my /etc/lilo.conf under my “label=Linux” entry:

and I made a soft link:
ln -s /boot/initrd.rb /initrd.rb

I re-ran LILO:
dpkg-reconfigure lilo

And I was finally rocking and rolling.

To bring up networking in rescue mode, I would often do this:
mount /dev/fd0 /mnt
insmod /mnt/cpqarray.o
umount /mnt
mount /dev/ida/c0d0p6 /target
mount /dev/ida/c0d0p1 /target/boot
chroot /target
su –
mount -t proc /proc /proc
insmod eepro100
/etc/init.d/networking restart

Then to get out, I would do the above in reverse:

umount /proc
cd /
umount /target/boot
umount /target

Found a little help here on using dpkg

I’m sure there has to be a smoother pathway, but this was my first attempt and I did get it working. If I get a chance I’ll redo these instructions, or if anyone wants to email me any missing pieces I didn’t document then feel free to email me.

Oh, as a side note, I haven’t yet got the PS/2 mouse to work on KNOPPIX, I suspect the same for debian. I probably need some noacpi or other boot parm to fix.

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shibaa987 274 posts

Linux kernel developer and a firmware developer with an experience of 10+ years.

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