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1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding="UTF-8"?>
2 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/gentoo-mips-faq.xml,v 1.2 2005/09/08 12:18:45 yoswink Exp $ -->
3
4 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
5 <guide link="/doc/en/gentoo-mips-faq.xml">
6
7 <title>Gentoo Linux/MIPS Frequently Asked Questions</title>
8
9 <author title="Author">
10 <mail link="redhatter@gentoo.org">Stuart Longland</mail>
11 </author>
12
13 <abstract>
14 This FAQ is intended to answer some of the most frequently asked questions
15 relating to Gentoo/MIPS and Linux/MIPS in general.
16 </abstract>
17
18 <!-- The content of this document is licensed under the CC-BY-SA license -->
19 <!-- See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5 -->
20 <license/>
21
22 <version>1.1</version>
23 <date>2005-09-08</date>
24
25 <faqindex>
26 <title>About this document</title>
27 <section>
28 <title>Introduction</title>
29 <body>
30
31 <p>
32 This FAQ is intended to answer frequently asked questions about Gentoo/MIPS and
33 Linux/MIPS that we receive from various users. It's aimed at both new users
34 and experienced users alike. It has been split into a number of categories
35 to make navigation easier.
36 </p>
37
38 <p>
39 If you have anything to contribute to the FAQ or, having read this guide, you
40 still have questions that are left unanswered, feel free to
41 <uri link="http://mips.gentoo.org">drop us a line</uri>.
42 </p>
43
44 </body>
45 </section>
46 </faqindex>
47
48 <chapter>
49 <title>About the Gentoo/MIPS Project</title>
50 <section id="what">
51 <title>What is Gentoo/MIPS?</title>
52 <body>
53
54 <p>
55 Gentoo/MIPS is a small project within the Gentoo Foundation, responsible for
56 looking after the MIPS port of Gentoo Linux. We currently look after two main
57 sub architectures of the MIPS family specifically: Silicon Graphics systems and
58 MIPS-based Cobalt servers.
59 </p>
60
61 </body>
62 </section>
63 <section id="why">
64 <title>Why install Gentoo Linux on MIPS?</title>
65 <body>
66
67 <p>
68 Okay, sure, some MIPS machines aren't the fastest boxes on the block these days.
69 However, despite the age of some of these beasts, they still can make very
70 functional, useful machines. A Cobalt Qube 2 could make a very nice broadband
71 Internet router, capable of hosting websites, email, IRC and numerous other
72 tasks. There are a number of reasons why you'd want to install Linux on this
73 sort of hardware.
74 </p>
75
76 <ul>
77 <li>
78 It teaches you a lot about computer hardware by giving you an alternate
79 frame of reference
80 </li>
81 <li>
82 It allows you to turn what would otherwise be useless junk into a very
83 functional system
84 </li>
85 <li>
86 Status Symbol: Linux on x86 is so common these days it's not funny.
87 However, Linux on MIPS is a lot less common and quite a talking point.
88 </li>
89 </ul>
90
91 </body>
92 </section>
93 <section id="port">
94 <title>Why don't you port Gentoo to NetBSD/MIPS or IRIX?</title>
95 <body>
96
97 <p>
98 Hey, great idea. Unfortunately, a lot of the Gentoo/MIPS team already have
99 their hands full looking after Linux/MIPS as well as other commitments.
100 However, you're welcome to give it a try. May I suggest raising this on the
101 <uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org/viewforum-f-32.html">Gentoo Forums</uri> and
102 see what the interest is first. Also, have a look at some of the other threads
103 on porting Gentoo to other architectures such as
104 <uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-113387.html">Solaris/SPARC</uri>,
105 <uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-319607.html">IBM OS/2</uri> and
106 <uri link="http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-319691.html">Microsoft Services
107 For Unix</uri> for hints on how to proceed. If after some hacking you get
108 something useful out of it... chances are a few developers will pick up on this
109 and help you get it to the next stage.
110 </p>
111
112 </body>
113 </section>
114 </chapter>
115
116 <chapter>
117 <title>MIPS Hardware FAQs</title>
118 <section id="hw-what">
119 <title>What is MIPS?</title>
120 <body>
121
122 <p>
123 <uri link="http://www.mips.com">MIPS Technologies</uri> is a company that
124 produce a number of RISC CPU cores which implement the MIPS Instruction Set
125 Architecture. These processors appear in all sorts of hardware ranging from
126 small embedded devices to large servers.
127 </p>
128
129 <p>
130 It also happens to be an acronym; <b>M</b>illions of <b>I</b>nstructions
131 <b>P</b>er <b>S</b>econd.
132 </p>
133
134 </body>
135 </section>
136 <section id="hardware">
137 <title>What sort of hardware uses MIPS processors?</title>
138 <body>
139
140 <p>
141 Good question. In short... Heaps. MIPS Processors see use inside all sorts
142 of machines, ranging from small PDAs (such as the early Windows CE powered Casio
143 PDAs), X Terminals (e.g. Tektronix TekXPress XP330 series), through to
144 workstations such as the Silicon Graphics Indy and O2 and even high end servers
145 such as the Silicon Graphics Origin 2000.
146 </p>
147
148 <p>
149 Here is a list of some of the more famous MIPS-based systems in use. A more
150 comprehensive list can be found on the
151 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Systems">Linux/MIPS website</uri>
152 </p>
153
154 <table>
155 <tr>
156 <th>Sony Game Consoles</th>
157 <ti>
158 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/PS1">
159 PlayStation</uri><br />
160 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/PS2">
161 PlayStation 2</uri><br />
162 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/PSP">
163 PlayStation Pocket</uri>
164 </ti>
165 </tr>
166 <tr>
167 <th>Nintendo Game Consoles</th>
168 <ti>
169 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Nintendo_64">
170 Nintendo 64
171 </uri>
172 </ti>
173 </tr>
174 <tr>
175 <th>Silicon Graphics Machines</th>
176 <ti>
177 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP12">
178 Iris Indigo</uri><br />
179 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP19">
180 Challenge</uri><br />
181 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP19">
182 Onyx</uri><br />
183 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP22">
184 Indy</uri><br />
185 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP22">
186 Indigo 2</uri><br />
187 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP22">
188 Challenge S</uri><br />
189 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP27">
190 Origin 200</uri><br />
191 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP27">
192 Origin 2000</uri><br />
193 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP27">
194 Onyx 2</uri><br />
195 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP30">
196 Octane</uri><br />
197 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP30">
198 Octane 2</uri><br />
199 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP32">
200 O2</uri><br />
201 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP34">
202 Fuel</uri><br />
203 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP35">
204 Origin 3000</uri><br />
205 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP45">
206 Origin 300</uri><br />
207 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP53">
208 Origin 350</uri><br />
209 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/IP53">
210 Tezro</uri>
211 </ti>
212 </tr>
213 <tr>
214 <th>DECStations</th>
215 <ti>
216 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Deskstation_rPC44">
217 rPC44</uri><br />
218 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Deskstation_Tyne">
219 Tyne</uri>
220 </ti>
221 </tr>
222 <tr>
223 <th>Cobalt Microservers</th>
224 <ti>
225 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Cobalt">
226 Qube 2700</uri><br />
227 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Cobalt">
228 Qube 2800</uri><br />
229 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Cobalt">
230 RaQ</uri><br />
231 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Cobalt">
232 RaQ 2</uri>
233 </ti>
234 </tr>
235 <tr>
236 <th>
237 Broadcom-based 802.11g<br />
238 Broadband Internet Routers
239 </th>
240 <ti>
241 <uri link="http://openwrt.org/">Linksys WRT54G</uri>
242 </ti>
243 </tr>
244 </table>
245
246 <p>
247 ... and that's only just scratching the surface. These machines are wide and
248 varied. Many of them do not currently run Linux. Of those that do, we only
249 support a handful, although you're welcome to port Gentoo/MIPS to any MIPS
250 machine if you so wish. Some of these machines are also the focus of the <uri
251 link="http://embedded.gentoo.org">Embedded Gentoo Project</uri> such as the
252 Linksys WRT54G.
253 </p>
254
255 </body>
256 </section>
257 <section id="supported">
258 <title>Is my machine supported?</title>
259 <body>
260
261 <p>
262 This question is difficult to answer. Your machine could fall into one of three
263 different baskets:
264 </p>
265
266 <ul>
267 <li>Your machine is supported by Gentoo/MIPS</li>
268 <li>Your machine is supported by Linux/MIPS, but not by Gentoo/MIPS (yet)</li>
269 <li>Your machine is not supported by Linux/MIPS</li>
270 </ul>
271
272 <p>
273 For the first one an easy way to find out is to have a look at the
274 <uri link="/doc/en/mips-requirements.xml">Gentoo/MIPS
275 requirements page</uri>. This will tell you if the system you've got can
276 theoretically run Gentoo/MIPS. Stuart has also written a
277 <uri link="http://stuartl.longlandclan.hopto.org/gentoo/mips/">hardware support
278 database</uri> in which users may contribute their experiences. This can help
279 measure how well Gentoo/MIPS runs on a particular machine.
280 </p>
281
282 <p>
283 If you don't find your machine listed there, you may wish to have a look on the
284 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Systems">Linux/MIPS
285 website</uri> to find it there. Installation won't be straightforward however,
286 as the actual process of producing a kernel and suitable boot media for your
287 hardware will have to be done largely by yourself. Naturally though, we'll try
288 to help where we can.
289 </p>
290
291 </body>
292 </section>
293 <section id="support_X">
294 <title>Why don't you support machine X</title>
295 <body>
296
297 <p>
298 If you've looked at the Gentoo/MIPS Hardware Requirements page, you've probably
299 noticed there are a LOT of machines we don't support. In the case of SGI
300 hardware, very little is known about some of them, not enough
301 to successfully port Linux to them.
302 </p>
303
304 <p>
305 If you managed to get Linux working on a box currently listed as
306 <e>unsupported</e> however, feel free to tell us. We'd be interested to know.
307 </p>
308
309 </body>
310 </section>
311 </chapter>
312
313 <chapter>
314 <title>MIPS Software FAQs</title>
315 <section id="stage">
316 <title>Which stage tarball do I use?</title>
317 <body>
318
319 <p>
320 This will depend on the CPU type running in your system. The stage filename is
321 named as follows:
322 </p>
323
324 <pre caption="Stage Tarball Naming Scheme">
325 stage3-mipsel4-2005.0.tar.bz2
326 \____/ \_____/ \____/
327 | | |
328 | | `--- Gentoo Release (e.g. 1.4, 2004.3, 2005.0)
329 | |
330 | `----------- Endianness and ISA Level
331 | mips ==> Big Endian
332 | mipsel ==> Little Endian
333 |
334 | R3xxx and earlier: ISA Level 1
335 | R4xxx series: ISA Level 3
336 | R5000 and above: ISA Level 4
337 |
338 `------------------ Stage Tarball type: 1, 2 or 3.
339 </pre>
340
341 <p>
342 So for those of you who are running R4000-class CPUs, try a <c>mips3</c> or
343 <c>mipsel3</c> stage tarball.
344 </p>
345
346 <p>
347 For those running R5000-class or later CPUs, try a <c>mips4</c> or
348 <c>mipsel4</c> stage tarball.
349 </p>
350
351 <p>
352 Sometimes the filename will have <c>n32</c> or <c>n64</c> in the filename as
353 well. These refer to 64-bit userland images. At the moment, support for 64-bit
354 userlands is still quite flaky and a lot of packages are broken. I'd suggest
355 leaving these alone unless you're particularly brave and don't mind a rather
356 bumpy ride.
357 </p>
358
359 </body>
360 </section>
361 <section id="chroot">
362 <title>I got told "Illegal Instruction" or "Cannot Execute Binary
363 File" when chrooting. What did I do wrong?</title>
364 <body>
365
366 <p>
367 This is generally caused by using the wrong stage tarball. If you try to run a
368 <c>mips4</c> userland on a <c>mips3</c> CPU, you'll get an <e>illegal
369 instruction</e> error message. Likewise, if you have a Big Endian CPU and you
370 try running Little Endian code on it, you'll get told <e>cannot execute binary
371 file</e>.
372 </p>
373
374 <p>
375 The fix is simple... clean out your partition, then unpack the correct tarball.
376 Which one is that I hear you ask? Have a read of the previous FAQ entry.
377 </p>
378
379 </body>
380 </section>
381 </chapter>
382
383 <chapter>
384 <title>Silicon Graphics Specific FAQs</title>
385 <section id="netboot">
386 <title>Why doesn't my SGI machine netboot?</title>
387 <body>
388
389 <p>
390 This could be for any number of reasons, ranging from cabling issues, through to
391 issues on the server. The best way to troubleshoot any problem is a
392 step-by-step approach...
393 </p>
394
395 <ol>
396 <li>
397 <b>Have you got the SGI machine (and server) plugged into the right
398 network ports?</b><br />
399 Make sure the network is cabled correctly. Also note that some machines
400 have special needs. For instance the Challenge S cannot obtain network
401 connectivity under Linux via its UTP port, you need to use the AUI port
402 via a transceiver.
403 </li>
404 <li>
405 <b>Are there any firewalls in use?</b><br />
406 Make sure your firewall is not blocking DHCP/BOOTP requests (ports 67 and
407 68 on UDP) or TFTP (port 69 on UDP).<br />
408 <c>iptables -I INPUT 1 -p udp --dport 67:69 -j ACCEPT</c> should get things
409 rolling.
410 </li>
411 <li>
412 <b>Have you disabled packet MTU discovery and set the port range?</b><br />
413 SGI boxes require <path>/proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_no_pmtu_disc</path> = 1 and
414 <path>/proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_local_port_range</path> = "2048 32767". See <uri
415 link="/doc/en/handbook/handbook-mips.xml?part=1&amp;chap=2#doc_chap4">the
416 Gentoo/MIPS handbook</uri>.
417 </li>
418 <li>
419 <b>Is the server giving out the correct details via BOOTP?</b><br />
420 Double check your <path>/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf</path>. ISC's dhcpd won't dish
421 out addressing information via BOOTP unless the machine has been statically
422 defined with a fixed address.
423 </li>
424 <li>
425 <b>Which TFTP server are you using?</b><br />
426 <c>tftp-hpa</c> and <c>netkit-tftp</c> are known to work. <c>atftp</c> is a
427 lot more advanced, this can cause problems. If in doubt, try installing
428 <c>tftp-hpa</c> and see if the problem clears up.
429 </li>
430 <li>
431 <b>Are the daemons running?</b><br />
432 <c>dhcpd</c> should show up when typing <c>ps ax</c>. As for TFTP, it'll
433 largely depend on whether its a standalone server, or if its running from
434 <c>(x)inetd</c>. <c>tftp-hpa</c> runs as a process called <c>in.tftpd</c>.
435 Look for that in the <c>ps ax</c> output and start any services not
436 currently running.
437 </li>
438 <li>
439 <b>Does the kernel exist in <path>/tftpboot</path>?</b><br />
440 Make sure you place the kernel image to be booted in this directory and
441 that it is world-readable. (<c>chmod 644 /tftpboot/foo</c>) Also, in your
442 <path>/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf</path>, note that the path to the kernel will be
443 relative to the <path>/tftpboot</path> directory if you're using
444 <c>tftp-hpa</c>.
445 </li>
446 <li>
447 <b>Have you unset the <c>netaddr</c> and <c>dlserver</c> PROM
448 variables?</b><br />
449 Try running <c>unsetenv netaddr</c> and <c>unsetenv dlserver</c>.
450 </li>
451 </ol>
452
453 </body>
454 </section>
455 <section id="serial">
456 <title>The machine downloads the kernel, but then "hangs" (using a monitor and
457 keyboard -- not serial console)</title>
458 <body>
459
460 <p>
461 Unfortunately, not all graphics frame buffers are supported under Linux yet.
462 This doesn't mean you can't use the machine... it just means you'll need a
463 null-modem serial cable to interact with it. It is quite possible that the
464 machine is in fact running, however, the system is outputting to the serial
465 console rather than the screen.
466 </p>
467
468 </body>
469 </section>
470 </chapter>
471
472 <chapter>
473 <title>Cobalt Specific FAQs</title>
474 <section id="cobaltboot">
475 <title>Why won't my Cobalt machine boot?</title>
476 <body>
477
478 <p>
479 This could be for a number of reasons. Our easiest bet however is to run
480 through a checklist and make sure everything is correct.
481 </p>
482
483 <ol>
484 <li>
485 <b>Have you got the Cobalt machine (and server) plugged into the right
486 network ports?</b><br />
487 Make sure the network is cabled correctly. Please note, the Cobalt firmware
488 will only boot via the Primary network port.
489 </li>
490 <li>
491 <b>Are there any firewalls in use?</b><br />
492 Make sure your firewall is not blocking DHCP/BOOTP requests (ports 67 and
493 68 on UDP) or RPC/Portmap (port 111 on UDP and TCP).<br />
494 <c>iptables -I INPUT 1 -p udp --dport 67:68 -j ACCEPT</c><br />
495 <c>iptables -I INPUT 1 -p udp --dport 111 -j ACCEPT</c><br />
496 <c>iptables -I INPUT 1 -p tcp --dport 111 -j ACCEPT</c>
497 should get things rolling.
498 </li>
499 <li>
500 <b>Is the server giving out the correct details via BOOTP?</b><br />
501 Double check your <path>/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf</path>. ISCs dhcpd won't dish
502 out addressing information via BOOTP unless the machine has been statically
503 defined with a fixed address.
504 </li>
505 <li>
506 <b>Are you exporting <path>/nfsroot</path> in your
507 <path>/etc/exports</path>?</b><br />
508 Make sure you are exporting that to the Cobalt machine. It only needs
509 read-only access. Also remember to run <c>exportfs -av</c> after you edit
510 the file.
511 </li>
512 <li>
513 <b>Are the daemons running?</b><br />
514 <c>dhcpd</c> should show up when typing <c>ps ax</c>. Likewise with
515 <c>portmap</c> and the other RPC daemons. The following commands should
516 look after this for you:<br />
517 <c>/etc/init.d/dhcp start</c><br />
518 <c>/etc/init.d/nfs start</c>
519 </li>
520 <li>
521 <b>Does the kernel exist in <path>/nfsroot</path>?</b><br />
522 Make sure you place the kernel image to be booted in this directory and
523 that it is world-readable. (<c>chmod 644 /nfsroot/foo</c>)
524 </li>
525 </ol>
526
527 </body>
528 </section>
529 <section id="qube2700">
530 <title>Why don't you support the Qube 2700?</title>
531 <body>
532
533 <p>
534 The Qube 2700 was the first of the Cobalt servers. While they are very nice
535 machines, unfortunately, they lack a serial port. In other words, any
536 interaction with the machine has to be done through a network. At present, our
537 netboot images do not support this, although plans are in the works that may
538 enable support for this machine.
539 </p>
540
541 </body>
542 </section>
543
544 </chapter>
545 </guide>

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