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Sarge on Alpha
Posted by jparrella on Fri 21 Oct 2005 at 02:53
Tags: none.

Following kuba's post on Debian on Alpha, I'm reporting my latest Sarge installation on a Compaq Alphaserver DS20.

cpu : Alpha
cpu model : EV6
cpu variation : 7
cpu revision : 0
system type : Tsunami
system variation : Goldrush
system revision : 0
platform string : AlphaServer DS20 500 MHz

DS20 is a Tsunami/Goldrush (family/variation) Alpha machine that runs 500 MHz. It has 512 Mb. RAM. It has a magnetic tape unit, and we installed a new CD-ROM drive and three new SCSI disks. It hosts our webpage (currently running Mambo, migrating to Metadot) and two databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL).

With Debian Woody it had an uptime of almost a year, running kernel 2.2.20. We migrated to Sarge, but stayed with kernel 2.2.20. The end of this came a week ago, when we switched to another server and reinstalled Sarge with a 2.6 kernel.

Sarge installation is completely painless. There was no aboot record in our system, so Debian Installer was kind enough to create it for us. It automatically partitioned our disks, but we made slight changes on that.

The main deal with this Alphaserver is that SRM console is poorly documented in the equipment documentation. And, even if it were, there's no such thing as Compaq's support for Linux on DS20.

So we've to deal with the SRM console (which, as of now, is kind of interesting and we've taken the way around this) and the aboot kernel loader. This last one is curious, since it has reminiscents of grub (yet it has different syntax).

I was able to compile a 2.6.12 vanilla kernel by hand on the DS20, but this kernel didn't work. I did it a-la-Debian:

make menuconfig
fakeroot make-kpkg clean
fakeroot make-kpkg --revision=custom-1.0 kernel_image
sudo -
dpkg -i ../kernel-image....deb

But this didn't work. I don't know if it was my fault compiling, or aboot's fault booting. I'm unable to find good guides to kernel configuration on Alpha systems, since says last stable kernel is 2.2.19. I would really appreciate some feedback on docs I can read on compiling vanilla kernels on Alpha.

Have a nice day everyone at


Comments on this Entry

Re: Sarge on Alpha
Posted by Anonymous (213.178.xx.xx) on Mon 24 Oct 2005 at 23:11
maybe try linux-2.6 from unstable? *hint*

[ Parent ]