Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333? - Linux

This is a discussion on Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333? - Linux ; I just got an Alphaserver 1000 5/333 with RAID and 7 4GB drives. I've been running Red Hat 6.2 on a PC164/500 for a few years now, and plan to install a new system from scratch and then copy data ...

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Thread: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

  1. Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    I just got an Alphaserver 1000 5/333 with RAID and 7 4GB drives. I've been
    running Red Hat 6.2 on a PC164/500 for a few years now, and plan to install
    a new system from scratch and then copy data over. I've got a copy of Red
    Hat 7.1, but would like to run something a bit more modern. Who's making
    Alpha distributions these days, and are any of them more suited to that
    hardware than others?

    Slackware need not apply. I'd prefer to stay away from Debian, but will use
    it if nothing else is available.

  2. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    jmaynard@thebrain.conmicro.cx (Jay Maynard) writes:

    > I just got an Alphaserver 1000 5/333 with RAID and 7 4GB drives. I've been
    > running Red Hat 6.2 on a PC164/500 for a few years now, and plan to install
    > a new system from scratch and then copy data over. I've got a copy of Red
    > Hat 7.1, but would like to run something a bit more modern. Who's making
    > Alpha distributions these days, and are any of them more suited to that
    > hardware than others?
    >
    > Slackware need not apply. I'd prefer to stay away from Debian, but
    > will use it if nothing else is available.


    Gentoo is available for Alpha. It'll take some time to compile all
    the stuff, though.

    --
    Måns Rullgård
    mru@kth.se

  3. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    Why stay away from Debian?? It's been running almost flawlessly on both
    my Alpha 164LXs here for a few months now.

    Jay Maynard wrote:
    > I just got an Alphaserver 1000 5/333 with RAID and 7 4GB drives. I've been
    > running Red Hat 6.2 on a PC164/500 for a few years now, and plan to install
    > a new system from scratch and then copy data over. I've got a copy of Red
    > Hat 7.1, but would like to run something a bit more modern. Who's making
    > Alpha distributions these days, and are any of them more suited to that
    > hardware than others?
    >
    > Slackware need not apply. I'd prefer to stay away from Debian, but will use
    > it if nothing else is available.



  4. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    On Fri, 23 Jan 2004 02:29:11 GMT, retorq wrote:
    >Jay Maynard wrote:
    >> I'd prefer to stay away from Debian, but will use it if nothing else is
    >> available.

    >Why stay away from Debian?? It's been running almost flawlessly on both
    >my Alpha 164LXs here for a few months now.


    Because I disagree, profoundly, with nearly all of the political positions
    the Debian project takes, starting with their kowtowing to RMS and going
    from there.

  5. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    >>>>> "Jay" == Jay Maynard writes:

    Jay> On Fri, 23 Jan 2004 02:29:11 GMT, retorq wrote:
    >> Jay Maynard wrote:
    >>> I'd prefer to stay away from Debian, but will use it if nothing else is
    >>> available.

    >> Why stay away from Debian?? It's been running almost flawlessly on both
    >> my Alpha 164LXs here for a few months now.


    Jay> Because I disagree, profoundly, with nearly all of the political positions
    Jay> the Debian project takes, starting with their kowtowing to RMS and going
    Jay> from there.

    That is a good reason not to use it. Good luck.

    However, it is one of the best supported distributions for hardware
    that is not supported by the commercial Linux distributions.

    I heard that gentoo has an alpha distribution you should take a look
    at that.

    Currently running debian sarge as a server on an alpha xp1000 24/7
    without any problems.

    Later,

    Alan


  6. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    Same here, Debian/Testing / Apache, PHP, MYSQL, sendmail, Perl and a few
    other packages. Uptime is much better than any of the MS boxes I run.

    Spamme Now wrote:
    > Currently running debian sarge as a server on an alpha xp1000 24/7
    > without any problems.



  7. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    On Thu, 22 Jan 2004 21:38:00 -0600, Spamme Now wrote:
    >I heard that gentoo has an alpha distribution you should take a look
    >at that.


    I'm trying it now. I've run into a problem, though, which may not be
    Gentoo-specific: My 1000A has a DAC960 (KZPSC) RAID controller. The DAC960
    driver appears not to handle BSD disklabels, which aboot requires. I can't
    seem to get the 1000A to run MILO from a floppy (the OSLOADDIR variable will
    only accept CD as the source drive). Am I screwed?

  8. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    >>>>> "Jay" == Jay Maynard writes:

    Jay> On Thu, 22 Jan 2004 21:38:00 -0600, Spamme Now wrote:
    >> I heard that gentoo has an alpha distribution you should take a look
    >> at that.


    Jay> I'm trying it now. I've run into a problem, though, which may not be
    Jay> Gentoo-specific: My 1000A has a DAC960 (KZPSC) RAID controller. The DAC960
    Jay> driver appears not to handle BSD disklabels, which aboot requires. I can't
    Jay> seem to get the 1000A to run MILO from a floppy (the OSLOADDIR variable will
    Jay> only accept CD as the source drive). Am I screwed?

    Don't know much about that controller and alpha. Another option is
    boot from another device. Options are network device, cdrom device,
    floppy device, or another harddisk on a different controller.
    Currently using ide drives on an ide controller, but I use a scsi disk
    or the ethernet controller to boot.

    Booting over the ethernet card (network boot) is what I usually use
    for install these days.

    Note I have not tried the gentoo release. This problem maybe specific
    to gentoo.

    Good luck.

    Alan


  9. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    jmaynard@thebrain.conmicro.cx (Jay Maynard) writes:
    > I'm trying it now. I've run into a problem, though, which may not be
    > Gentoo-specific: My 1000A has a DAC960 (KZPSC) RAID controller. The DAC960
    > driver appears not to handle BSD disklabels, which aboot requires. I can't
    > seem to get the 1000A to run MILO from a floppy (the OSLOADDIR variable will
    > only accept CD as the source drive). Am I screwed?


    Err, how?

    I've set up redhat box with aboot and DAC960 using bsd disklabels. No problems.
    Only tricky thing was that when setting up partitions, the first partition
    could not start from cylinder 0 because aboot takes a few cylinders from
    start of the disk, so I started first partition from cylinder 5, after
    which aboot installatation did not screw my /boot partition anymore

    Also, there were no way to set up raid sets in that alpha box. I had
    remove the DAC960 and plug it into intel box, boot MS-DOS and run
    configuration utility in there in order to get my raid sets defined.
    After that I could plug the card back to alpha box (1000a 5/400 in my case)
    and go on setting partitions and stuff .. it was redhat 7.1 that did
    not have DAC960 support in kernel so I had fist to install to separate
    disk sitting behind the qlogic scsi card and after the initial installation
    was complete, I compiled a kernel that had dac960 support compiled in.
    I think it is this driver http://www.dandelion.com/Linux/DAC960.html that
    is included in the stock kernel also.

    Remember to use firmware recent enough. And when flashing new fw to
    DAC960, do check the model. There are many models of DAC960 and the
    ones shipped with older alphaservers often have that smaller flash
    memory that can only eat v2.78 fw and no 3.x or more recent versions.
    Driver works ok with 2.78 fw.

    --
    Antti Järvinen, costello@iki.fi
    "concerto for two faggots and orchestra"

  10. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    On 23 Jan 2004 11:22:34 +0200, Antti Järvinen wrote:
    >jmaynard@thebrain.conmicro.cx (Jay Maynard) writes:
    >> I'm trying it now. I've run into a problem, though, which may not be
    >> Gentoo-specific: My 1000A has a DAC960 (KZPSC) RAID controller. The DAC960
    >> driver appears not to handle BSD disklabels, which aboot requires. I can't
    >> seem to get the 1000A to run MILO from a floppy (the OSLOADDIR variable will
    >> only accept CD as the source drive). Am I screwed?

    >Err, how?


    The problem I'm seeing is that there are no /dev/rd/c0d0* files being
    created by the driver. I do get /dev/rd/disc0/disc, which appears to be the
    entire logical volume (it's the right size), but upon reboot, that's still
    the only one there. I can't figure out how to get to the partitions. Can I
    simply create the /dev/rd/c0d0p0, /dev/rd/c0d0p1, and so on, and have it
    work? The driver says there's no partition table at start time, either, even
    after creating a BSD disklabel.

    >I've set up redhat box with aboot and DAC960 using bsd disklabels. No problems.
    >Only tricky thing was that when setting up partitions, the first partition
    >could not start from cylinder 0 because aboot takes a few cylinders from
    >start of the disk, so I started first partition from cylinder 5, after
    >which aboot installatation did not screw my /boot partition anymore


    The Gentoo documentation covers all that; I've set up the a partition at
    cylinder 3 for 512 MB, then the rest of the volume as partition b, with the
    whole-volume partition c as always.

    >Also, there were no way to set up raid sets in that alpha box. I had
    >remove the DAC960 and plug it into intel box, boot MS-DOS and run
    >configuration utility in there in order to get my raid sets defined.


    You can now do this on the Alpha. There's a package at
    ftp://ftp.compaq.com/pub/softpaq/alphant/m-arcapp.zip that contains
    ARCCF.EXE and ARCFL.EXE. These are run via the AlphaBIOS's Run Maintenance
    Program menu. (At boot time, say "arc" at the >>> prompt, then enter setup
    mode, select Utilities (I think), then Run maintenance program. Specify the
    full filename; .EXE is *not* assumed.) ARCCF.EXE will work with the 2.73
    firmware, and ARCFL.EXE will flash it onto the board.

    >Remember to use firmware recent enough. And when flashing new fw to
    >DAC960, do check the model. There are many models of DAC960 and the
    >ones shipped with older alphaservers often have that smaller flash
    >memory that can only eat v2.78 fw and no 3.x or more recent versions.
    >Driver works ok with 2.78 fw.


    I think you mean 2.73, since that's the latest. I did get that flashed onto
    the board with no problems, once I discovered that I needed it. The two
    utilities and the firmware image will just fit on a floppy.

  11. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    Jay Maynard wrote:
    > On Thu, 22 Jan 2004 21:38:00 -0600, Spamme Now wrote:
    >>I heard that gentoo has an alpha distribution you should take a look
    >>at that.

    >
    > I'm trying it now. I've run into a problem, though, which may not be
    > Gentoo-specific: My 1000A has a DAC960 (KZPSC) RAID controller. The DAC960
    > driver appears not to handle BSD disklabels,


    None of disk drivers handles such things like variations in a disk
    partitioning. Not that abstraction layer. It is quite likely that in
    the future a code which handles partitions will be kicked out entirely
    from Linux kernel to a user space. This is not the case currently but
    that code only uses services of disk drivers.

    > which aboot requires.


    Hm, sounds rather like a trouble between your firmware and aboot.

    > I can't seem to get the 1000A to run MILO from a floppy (the OSLOADDIR
    > variable will only accept CD as the source drive). Am I screwed?


    Milo loader works with ARC, and later derivatives, firmware; aboot
    is used when you have a firmware of an SRM kind. These two firmware
    families are not compatible and have different boot device requirements.

    Michal


  12. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 20:19:28 +0000 (UTC), Michal Jaegermann
    wrote:
    >Jay Maynard wrote:
    >> I'm trying it now. I've run into a problem, though, which may not be
    >> Gentoo-specific: My 1000A has a DAC960 (KZPSC) RAID controller. The DAC960
    >> driver appears not to handle BSD disklabels,

    >None of disk drivers handles such things like variations in a disk
    >partitioning. Not that abstraction layer. It is quite likely that in
    >the future a code which handles partitions will be kicked out entirely
    >from Linux kernel to a user space. This is not the case currently but
    >that code only uses services of disk drivers.


    Yeah. As it turns out, the Gentoo LiveCD I was using doesn't have OSF/BSD
    disklabel support in its kernel. (Dumb.) I'm building the system now by
    defining both OSF and DOS partitioning, identically, and will use the OSF
    disklabel once the build is finished and I boot the new kernel. (I assume
    that installing aboot will overwrite the DOS partition table.)

    >> which aboot requires.

    >Hm, sounds rather like a trouble between your firmware and aboot.


    The aboot program does require OSF disklabels. Not a firmware issue.

    >> I can't seem to get the 1000A to run MILO from a floppy (the OSLOADDIR
    >> variable will only accept CD as the source drive). Am I screwed?

    >Milo loader works with ARC, and later derivatives, firmware; aboot
    >is used when you have a firmware of an SRM kind. These two firmware
    >families are not compatible and have different boot device requirements.


    Yes, I know about the firmware differences; I've been around Alphas for a
    number of years. This is my first aboot install, however, as the others have
    been MILO. I also know about SRM vs. ARC firmware because I've been working
    with OSF/1 on the Alpha since the 1.x days, as well as OpenVMS and Linux.

    The problem with MILO is specific to this system. I switched it to ARC mode,
    and tried to define an OS that runs linload.exe and uses that to load milo
    from the floppy, but the system refused to let me specify the floppy drive
    as the source for the OS. It would only accept the CD.

    As it happens, I don't need to go that route, since I've figured out the
    problem with aboot and SRM mode, so I'll just use that.

  13. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    Jay Maynard wrote:
    > On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 20:19:28 +0000 (UTC), Michal Jaegermann
    > wrote:
    >>Hm, sounds rather like a trouble between your firmware and aboot.

    >
    > The aboot program does require OSF disklabels. Not a firmware issue.


    It would be really simple to hack aboot (you have sources) to work with
    FAT type partitioning. As a matter of fact it sort of does that when
    handling a floppy as a boot device. There are no partitions on floppies
    but particular files on a FAT file system need to be found. But aboot
    works with a firmware (SRM) which expects only disklabel type partition
    tables on hard disks so there is no point in doing that.

    One more file system type aboot needs to be aware of is iso9660 for
    CD booting; but in that case we do not have partitions either. Still
    there is no rule which would prevent you from customizing aboot to
    handle some other file systems layouts and media - provided you will
    find a way for a firmware to cooperate with that.

    Michal


  14. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    On Mon, 26 Jan 2004 18:44:23 +0000 (UTC), Michal Jaegermann
    wrote:
    >Jay Maynard wrote:
    >> On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 20:19:28 +0000 (UTC), Michal Jaegermann
    >> wrote:
    >>>Hm, sounds rather like a trouble between your firmware and aboot.

    >> The aboot program does require OSF disklabels. Not a firmware issue.

    >It would be really simple to hack aboot (you have sources) to work with
    >FAT type partitioning. As a matter of fact it sort of does that when
    >handling a floppy as a boot device. There are no partitions on floppies
    >but particular files on a FAT file system need to be found. But aboot
    >works with a firmware (SRM) which expects only disklabel type partition
    >tables on hard disks so there is no point in doing that.


    There's also the minor issue that aboot lives at the very front of the disk,
    as does the DOS partition table.

    In any event, I was able to successfully get the system installed by using
    the dual-definition approach.

  15. Re: Which distribution for AS 1000 5/333?

    Jay Maynard wrote:
    > On Mon, 26 Jan 2004 18:44:23 +0000 (UTC), Michal Jaegermann
    >>It would be really simple to hack aboot (you have sources) to work with
    >>FAT type partitioning.

    >
    > There's also the minor issue that aboot lives at the very front of the disk,
    > as does the DOS partition table.


    Well, no. Both DOS (FAT) partition table and disklabel partition table
    grab sector zero and aboot code needs to be a tad farther. At some
    point I needed to write some utilities handling disks at pretty low
    level and I had to dig in that. In any case this is a truly theoretical
    point.

    > In any event, I was able to successfully get the system installed by using
    > the dual-definition approach.


    Whatever works....

    Michal

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