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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 1.6 2011/09/04 17:53:40 swift Exp $ -->
3
4 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
5 <guide>
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 <author title="Editor">
13 <mail link="mattst88">Matt Turner</mail>
14 </author>
15
16 <abstract>
17 This FAQ is intended to answer some of the most frequently asked questions
18 relating to Gentoo/MIPS and Linux/MIPS in general.
19 </abstract>
20
21 <!-- The content of this document is licensed under the CC-BY-SA license -->
22 <!-- See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5 -->
23 <license/>
24
25 <version>3</version>
26 <date>2012-07-08</date>
27
28 <faqindex>
29 <title>About this Document</title>
30 <section>
31 <title>Introduction</title>
32 <body>
33
34 <p>
35 This FAQ is intended to answer frequently asked questions about Gentoo/MIPS and
36 Linux/MIPS that we receive from various users. It's aimed at both new users
37 and experienced users alike. It has been split into a number of categories
38 to make navigation easier.
39 </p>
40
41 <p>
42 If you'd like to contribute to the FAQ or, having read this guide, you
43 still have questions that are left unanswered, feel free to
44 <uri link="http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/base/mips/">drop us a line</uri>.
45 </p>
46
47 </body>
48 </section>
49 </faqindex>
50
51 <chapter>
52 <title>About the Gentoo/MIPS Project</title>
53 <section id="what">
54 <title>What is Gentoo/MIPS?</title>
55 <body>
56
57 <p>
58 Gentoo/MIPS is a small project responsible for looking after the MIPS port of
59 Gentoo Linux.
60 </p>
61
62 </body>
63 </section>
64 <section id="why">
65 <title>Why install Gentoo Linux on MIPS?</title>
66 <body>
67
68 <p>
69 Okay, sure, some MIPS machines aren't the fastest boxes on the block these days.
70 However, despite the age of some of these beasts, they still can make very
71 functional, useful machines. A Cobalt Qube 2 could make a very nice broadband
72 Internet router, capable of hosting websites, email, IRC and numerous other
73 tasks. There are a number of reasons why you'd want to install Linux on this
74 sort of hardware.
75 </p>
76
77 <ul>
78 <li>
79 It teaches you a lot about computer hardware by giving you an alternate
80 frame of reference
81 </li>
82 <li>
83 It allows you to turn what would otherwise be useless junk into a very
84 functional system
85 </li>
86 <li>
87 Status Symbol: Linux on x86 is so common these days it's not funny.
88 However, Linux on MIPS is a lot less common and quite a talking point.
89 </li>
90 </ul>
91
92 </body>
93 </section>
94 <section id="port">
95 <title>Why don't you port Gentoo to NetBSD/MIPS or IRIX?</title>
96 <body>
97
98 <p>
99 Hey, great idea. Unfortunately, a lot of the Gentoo/MIPS team already have
100 their hands full looking after Linux/MIPS as well as other commitments. A
101 project like this would fall under the umbrella of the
102 <uri link="http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/gentoo-alt/prefix/">Gentoo Prefix
103 project</uri>. Some work has been done for IRIX, the remnants of which can be
104 found in <uri
105 link="https://bugs.gentoo.org/buglist.cgi?quicksearch=irix">bugzilla</uri>.
106 </p>
107
108 </body>
109 </section>
110 </chapter>
111
112 <chapter>
113 <title>MIPS Hardware FAQs</title>
114 <section id="hw-what">
115 <title>What is MIPS?</title>
116 <body>
117
118 <p>
119 <uri link="http://www.mips.com">MIPS Technologies</uri> is a company that
120 produce a number of RISC CPU cores which implement the <uri
121 link="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIPS_architecture">MIPS Architecture</uri>.
122 These processors appear in all sorts of hardware ranging from small embedded
123 devices to large servers.
124 </p>
125
126 <p>
127 It also happens to be an acronym; <b>M</b>illions of <b>I</b>nstructions
128 <b>P</b>er <b>S</b>econd.
129 </p>
130
131 </body>
132 </section>
133 <section id="hardware">
134 <title>What sort of hardware uses MIPS processors?</title>
135 <body>
136
137 <p>
138 In short... lots. MIPS Processors see use inside all sorts
139 of machines, ranging from small PDAs (such as the early Windows CE powered Casio
140 PDAs), X Terminals (e.g. Tektronix TekXPress XP330 series), through to
141 workstations such as the Silicon Graphics Indy and O2 and even high end servers
142 such as the Silicon Graphics Origin 2000.
143 </p>
144
145 <p>
146 A comprehensive list can be found on the <uri
147 link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Systems">Linux/MIPS website</uri>
148 </p>
149
150 <p>
151 ... and that's only scratching the surface. These machines are wide and
152 varied. Many of them do not currently run Linux. Of those that do, we only
153 support a handful, although you're welcome to port Gentoo/MIPS to any MIPS
154 machine if you so wish. Some of these machines are also the focus of the <uri
155 link="http://embedded.gentoo.org">Embedded Gentoo Project</uri> such as the
156 Linksys WRT54G.
157 </p>
158
159 </body>
160 </section>
161 <section id="supported">
162 <title>Is my machine supported?</title>
163 <body>
164
165 <p>
166 For the first one an easy way to find out is to have a look at the
167 <uri link="/doc/en/mips-requirements.xml">Gentoo/MIPS
168 requirements page</uri>. This will tell you if the system you've got can
169 theoretically run Gentoo/MIPS.
170 </p>
171
172 <p>
173 If you don't find your machine listed there, you may wish to have a look on the
174 <uri link="http://www.linux-mips.org/wiki/index.php/Systems">Linux/MIPS
175 website</uri> to find it there. Installation won't be straightforward however,
176 as the actual process of producing a kernel and suitable boot media for your
177 hardware will have to be done largely by yourself. Naturally though, we'll try
178 to help where we can.
179 </p>
180
181 </body>
182 </section>
183 <section id="support_X">
184 <title>Why don't you support machine X</title>
185 <body>
186
187 <p>
188 If you've looked at the Gentoo/MIPS Hardware Requirements page, you've probably
189 noticed there are a lot of machines we don't support. In the case of SGI
190 hardware, very little is known about some of them, not enough
191 to successfully port Linux to them.
192 </p>
193
194 <p>
195 If you managed to get Linux working on a box currently listed as
196 <e>unsupported</e> however, please tell us. We'd be interested to know.
197 </p>
198
199 </body>
200 </section>
201 </chapter>
202
203 <chapter>
204 <title>MIPS Software FAQs</title>
205 <section id="stage">
206 <title>Which stage tarball do I use?</title>
207 <body>
208
209 <p>
210 This will depend on the CPU type running in your system. The stage filename is
211 named as follows:
212 </p>
213
214 <pre caption="Stage Tarball Naming Scheme">
215 stage3-mipsel4_multilib-20110627.tar.bz2
216 \____/ \_____/ \_____/ \______/
217 | | | |
218 | | | `-- Gentoo Release (date of creation)
219 | | |
220 | | `--- ABI: multilib, n32, n64 (nothing for o32)
221 | |
222 | `----------- Endianness and ISA Level
223 | mips ==> Big Endian
224 | mipsel ==> Little Endian
225 |
226 `------------------ Stage Tarball type: 1, 2 or 3.
227 </pre>
228
229 <p>
230 For R4000-class CPUs, use a <c>mips3</c> or <c>mipsel3</c> stage tarball.
231 </p>
232
233 <p>
234 For R5000-class or later CPUs, use a <c>mips4</c> or <c>mipsel4</c> stage
235 tarball.
236 </p>
237
238 </body>
239 </section>
240 <section id="chroot">
241 <title>I got an "Illegal Instruction" or "Cannot Execute Binary
242 File" error message when chrooting. What did I do wrong?</title>
243 <body>
244
245 <p>
246 This is generally caused by using the wrong stage tarball. If you try to run a
247 <c>mips4</c> userland on a <c>mips3</c> CPU, you'll get an <e>illegal
248 instruction</e> error message. Likewise, if you have a Big Endian CPU and you
249 try to run Little Endian code on it, you'll get <e>cannot execute binary
250 file</e>.
251 </p>
252
253 <p>
254 The fix is simple: clean out your partition, then unpack the correct tarball.
255 </p>
256
257 </body>
258 </section>
259 </chapter>
260
261 <chapter>
262 <title>Silicon Graphics Specific FAQs</title>
263 <section id="netboot">
264 <title>Why doesn't my SGI machine netboot?</title>
265 <body>
266
267 <p>
268 This could be for any number of reasons, ranging from cabling issues, through to
269 issues on the server. The best way to troubleshoot any problem is a
270 step-by-step approach...
271 </p>
272
273 <ol>
274 <li>
275 <b>Have you got the SGI machine (and server) plugged into the right
276 network ports?</b><br />
277 Make sure the network is cabled correctly. Also note that some machines
278 have special needs. For instance the Challenge S cannot obtain network
279 connectivity under Linux via its UTP port, you need to use the AUI port
280 via a transceiver.
281 </li>
282 <li>
283 <b>Are there any firewalls in use?</b><br />
284 Make sure your firewall is not blocking DHCP/BOOTP requests (ports 67 and
285 68 on UDP) or TFTP (port 69 on UDP).<br />
286 <c>iptables -I INPUT 1 -p udp --dport 67:69 -j ACCEPT</c> should get things
287 rolling.
288 </li>
289 <li>
290 <b>Have you disabled packet MTU discovery and set the port range?</b><br />
291 SGI boxes require <path>/proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_no_pmtu_disc</path> = 1 and
292 <path>/proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_local_port_range</path> = "2048 32767".
293 See <uri
294 link="/doc/en/handbook/handbook-mips.xml?part=1&amp;chap=2#doc_chap4">the
295 Gentoo/MIPS handbook</uri>.
296 </li>
297 <li>
298 <b>Is the server giving out the correct details via BOOTP?</b><br />
299 Double check your <path>/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf</path>. ISC's dhcpd won't dish
300 out addressing information via BOOTP unless the machine has been statically
301 defined with a fixed address.
302 </li>
303 <li>
304 <b>Which TFTP server are you using?</b><br />
305 <c>tftp-hpa</c> is known to work. <c>atftp</c> is a lot more advanced, this
306 can cause problems. If in doubt, try installing <c>tftp-hpa</c> and see if
307 the problem clears up.
308 </li>
309 <li>
310 <b>Are the daemons running?</b><br />
311 <c>dhcpd</c> should show up when typing <c>ps ax</c>. As for TFTP, it'll
312 largely depend on whether its a standalone server, or if its running from
313 <c>(x)inetd</c>. <c>tftp-hpa</c> runs as a process called <c>in.tftpd</c>.
314 Look for that in the <c>ps ax</c> output and start any services not
315 currently running.
316 </li>
317 <li>
318 <b>Does the kernel exist in <path>/tftpboot</path>?</b><br />
319 Make sure you place the kernel image to be booted in this directory and
320 that it is world-readable. (<c>chmod 644 /tftpboot/foo</c>) Also, in your
321 <path>/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf</path>, note that the path to the kernel will be
322 relative to the <path>/tftpboot</path> directory if you're using
323 <c>tftp-hpa</c>.
324 </li>
325 <li>
326 <b>Have you unset the <c>netaddr</c> and <c>dlserver</c> PROM
327 variables?</b><br />
328 Try running <c>unsetenv netaddr</c> and <c>unsetenv dlserver</c>.
329 </li>
330 </ol>
331
332 </body>
333 </section>
334 <section id="serial">
335 <title>The machine downloads the kernel, but then "hangs" (using a monitor and
336 keyboard &ndash; not serial console)</title>
337 <body>
338
339 <p>
340 Unfortunately, not all graphics frame buffers are supported under Linux yet.
341 This doesn't mean you can't use the machine... it just means you'll need a
342 null-modem serial cable to interact with it. It is quite possible that the
343 machine is in fact running, however, the system is outputting to the serial
344 console rather than the screen.
345 </p>
346
347 </body>
348 </section>
349 </chapter>
350
351 <chapter>
352 <title>Cobalt Specific FAQs</title>
353 <section id="cobaltboot">
354 <title>Why won't my Cobalt machine boot?</title>
355 <body>
356
357 <p>
358 This could be for a number of reasons. Our easiest bet however is to run
359 through a checklist and make sure everything is correct.
360 </p>
361
362 <ol>
363 <li>
364 <b>Have you got the Cobalt machine (and server) plugged into the right
365 network ports?</b><br />
366 Make sure the network is cabled correctly. Please note, the Cobalt firmware
367 will only boot via the Primary network port.
368 </li>
369 <li>
370 <b>Are there any firewalls in use?</b><br />
371 Make sure your firewall is not blocking DHCP/BOOTP requests (ports 67 and
372 68 on UDP) or RPC/Portmap (port 111 on UDP and TCP).<br />
373 <c>iptables -I INPUT 1 -p udp --dport 67:68 -j ACCEPT</c><br />
374 <c>iptables -I INPUT 1 -p udp --dport 111 -j ACCEPT</c><br />
375 <c>iptables -I INPUT 1 -p tcp --dport 111 -j ACCEPT</c>
376 should get things rolling.
377 </li>
378 <li>
379 <b>Is the server giving out the correct details via BOOTP?</b><br />
380 Double check your <path>/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf</path>. ISCs dhcpd won't dish
381 out addressing information via BOOTP unless the machine has been statically
382 defined with a fixed address.
383 </li>
384 <li>
385 <b>Are you exporting <path>/nfsroot</path> in your
386 <path>/etc/exports</path>?</b><br />
387 Make sure you are exporting that to the Cobalt machine. It only needs
388 read-only access. Also remember to run <c>exportfs -av</c> after you edit
389 the file.
390 </li>
391 <li>
392 <b>Are the daemons running?</b><br />
393 <c>dhcpd</c> should show up when typing <c>ps ax</c>. Likewise with
394 <c>portmap</c> and the other RPC daemons. The following commands should
395 look after this for you:<br />
396 <c>/etc/init.d/dhcp start</c><br />
397 <c>/etc/init.d/nfs start</c>
398 </li>
399 <li>
400 <b>Does the kernel exist in <path>/nfsroot</path>?</b><br />
401 Make sure you place the kernel image to be booted in this directory and
402 that it is world-readable. (<c>chmod 644 /nfsroot/foo</c>)
403 </li>
404 </ol>
405
406 </body>
407 </section>
408 <section id="qube2700">
409 <title>Why don't you support the Qube 2700?</title>
410 <body>
411
412 <p>
413 The Qube 2700 was the first of the Cobalt servers. While they are very nice
414 machines, unfortunately, they lack a serial port. In other words, any
415 interaction with the machine has to be done through a network. At present, our
416 netboot images do not support this.
417 </p>
418
419 </body>
420 </section>
421
422 </chapter>
423 </guide>

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