5.1. Booting the Installer on ARM

5.1.1. Booting from TFTP

Booting from the network requires that you have a network connection and a TFTP network boot server (DHCP, RARP, or BOOTP).

The installation method to support network booting is described in Section 4.3, “Preparing Files for TFTP Net Booting”. Booting from TFTP on Netwinder

Netwinders have two network interfaces: A 10Mbps NE2000-compatible card (which is generally referred to as eth0) and a 100Mbps Tulip card. There may be problems loading the image via TFTP using the 100Mbps card so it is recommended that you use the 10Mbps interface (the one labeled with 10 Base-T).


You need NeTTrom 2.2.1 or later to boot the installation system, and version 2.3.3 is recommended. Unfortunately, firmware files are currently not available for download because of license issues. If this situation changes, you may find new images at http//www.netwinder.org/.

When you boot your Netwinder you have to interrupt the boot process during the countdown. This allows you to set a number of firmware settings needed in order to boot the installer. First of all, start by loading the default settings:

    NeTTrom command-> load-defaults

Furthermore, you must configure the network, either with a static address:

    NeTTrom command-> setenv netconfig_eth0 flash
    NeTTrom command-> setenv eth0_ip

where 24 is the number of set bits in the netmask, or a dynamic address:

    NeTTrom command-> setenv netconfig_eth0 dhcp

You may also need to configure the route1 settings if the TFTP server is not on the local subnet. Following these settings, you have to specify the TFTP server and the location of the image. You can then store your settings to flash.

    NeTTrom command-> setenv kerntftpserver
    NeTTrom command-> setenv kerntftpfile boot.img
    NeTTrom command-> save-all

Now you have to tell the firmware that the TFTP image should be booted:

    NeTTrom command-> setenv kernconfig tftp
    NeTTrom command-> setenv rootdev /dev/ram

If you use a serial console to install your Netwinder, you need to add the following setting:

    NeTTrom command-> setenv cmdappend root=/dev/ram console=ttyS0,115200

Alternatively, for installations using a keyboard and monitor you have to set:

    NeTTrom command-> setenv cmdappend root=/dev/ram

You can use the printenv command to review your environment settings. After you have verified that the settings are correct, you can load the image:

    NeTTrom command-> boot

In case you run into any problems, a detailed HOWTO is available. Booting from TFTP on CATS

On CATS machines, use boot de0: or similar at the Cyclone prompt.

5.1.2. Booting from CD-ROM

The easiest route for most people will be to use a set of Debian CDs. If you have a CD set, and if your machine supports booting directly off the CD, great! Simply insert your CD, reboot, and proceed to the next chapter.

Note that certain CD drives may require special drivers, and thus be inaccessible in the early installation stages. If it turns out the standard way of booting off a CD doesn't work for your hardware, revisit this chapter and read about alternate kernels and installation methods which may work for you.

Even if you cannot boot from CD-ROM, you can probably install the Debian system components and any packages you want from CD-ROM. Simply boot using a different media, such as floppies. When it's time to install the operating system, base system, and any additional packages, point the installation system at the CD-ROM drive.

If you have problems booting, see Section 5.3, “Troubleshooting the Installation Process”.

To boot a CD-ROM from the Cyclone console prompt, use the command boot cd0:cats.bin

5.1.3. Booting from Firmware

There is an increasing number of consumer devices that directly boot from a flash chip on the device. The installer can be written to flash so it will automatically start when you reboot your machines.


In many cases, changing the firmware of an embedded device voids your warranty. Sometimes you are also not able to recover your device if there are problems during the flashing process. Therefore, please take care and follow the steps precisely. Booting the NSLU2

There are three ways how to put the installer firmware into flash: Using the NSLU2 web interface

Go to the administration section and choose the menu item Upgrade. You can then browse your disk for the installer image you have previously downloaded. Then press the Start Upgrade button, confirm, wait for a few minutes and confirm again. The system will then boot straight into the installer. Via the network using Linux/Unix

You can use upslug2 from any Linux or Unix machine to upgrade the machine via the network. This software is packaged for Debian. First, you have to put your NSLU2 in upgrade mode:

  1. Disconnect any disks and/or devices from the USB ports.

  2. Power off the NSLU2

  3. Press and hold the reset button (accessible through the small hole on the back just above the power input).

  4. Press and release the power button to power on the NSLU2.

  5. Wait for 10 seconds watching the ready/status LED. After 10 seconds it will change from amber to red. Immediately release the reset button.

  6. The NSLU2 ready/status LED will flash alternately red/green (there is a 1 second delay before the first green). The NSLU2 is now in upgrade mode.

See the NSLU2-Linux pages if you have problems with this. Once your NSLU2 is in upgrade mode, you can flash the new image:

sudo upslug2 -i di-nslu2.bin

Note that the tool also shows the MAC address of your NSLU2, which may come in handy to configure your DHCP server. After the whole image has been written and verified, the system will automatically reboot. Make sure you connect your USB disk again now, otherwise the installer won't be able to find it. Via the network using Windows

There is a tool for Windows to upgrade the firmware via the network.