5.1. Booting the Installer on IA-64

5.1.1. Booting from a 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”.

CD Contents

There are three basic variations of Debian Install CDs. The Business Card CD has a minimal installation that will fit on the small form factor CD media. It requires a network connection in order to install the rest of the base installation and make a usable system. The Network Install CD has all of the packages for a base install but requires a network connection to a Debian mirror site in order to install the extra packages one would want for a complete system . The set of Debian CDs can install a complete system from the wide range of packages without needing access to the network.

The IA-64 architecture uses the next generation Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) from Intel. Unlike the traditional x86 BIOS which knows little about the boot device other than the partition table and Master Boot Record (MBR), EFI can read and write files from FAT16 or FAT32 formatted disk partitions. This simplifies the often arcane process of starting a system. The system boot loader and the EFI firmware that supports it have a full filesystem to store the files necessary for booting the machine. This means that the system disk on an IA-64 system has an additional disk partition dedicated to EFI instead of the simple MBR or boot block on more conventional systems.

The Debian Installer CD contains a small EFI partition where the ELILO bootloader, its configuration file, the installer's kernel, and initial filesystem (initrd) are located. The running system also contains an EFI partition where the necessary files for booting the system reside. These files are readable from the EFI Shell as described below.

Most of the details of how ELILO actually loads and starts a system are transparent to the system installer. However, the installer must set up an EFI partition prior to installing the base system. Otherwise, the installation of ELILO will fail, rendering the system un-bootable. The EFI partition is allocated and formatted in the partitioning step of the installation prior to loading any packages on the system disk. The partitioning task also verifies that a suitable EFI partition is present before allowing the installation to proceed.

The EFI Boot Manager is presented as the last step of the firmware initialization. It displays a menu list from which the user can select an option. Depending on the model of system and what other software has been loaded on the system, this menu may be different from one system to another. There should be at least two menu items displayed, Boot Option Maintenance Menu and EFI Shell (Built-in). Using the first option is preferred, however, if that option is not available or the CD for some reason does not boot with it, use the second option.


The EFI Boot Manager will select a default boot action, typically the first menu choice, within a pre-set number of seconds. This is indicated by a countdown at the bottom of the screen. Once the timer expires and the systems starts the default action, you may have to reboot the machine in order to continue the installation. If the default action is the EFI Shell, you can return to the Boot Manager by running exit at the shell prompt. Option 1: Booting from the Boot Option Maintenance Menu

  • Insert the CD in the DVD/CD drive and reboot the machine. The firmware will display the EFI Boot Manager page and menu after it completes its system initialization.

  • Select Boot Maintenance Menu from the menu with the arrow keys and press ENTER. This will display a new menu.

  • Select Boot From a File from the menu with the arrow keys and press ENTER. This will display a list of devices probed by the firmware. You should see two menu lines containing either the label Debian Inst [Acpi ... or Removable Media Boot. If you examine the rest of the menu line, you will notice that the device and controller information should be the same.

  • You can choose either of the entries that refer to the CD/DVD drive. Select your choice with the arrow keys and press ENTER. If you choose Removable Media Boot the machine will immediately start the boot load sequence. If you choose Debian Inst [Acpi ... instead, it will display a directory listing of the bootable portion of the CD, requiring you to proceed to the next (additional) step.

  • You will only need this step if you chose Debian Inst [Acpi .... The directory listing will also show [Treat like Removable Media Boot] on the next to the last line. Select this line with the arrow keys and press ENTER. This will start the boot load sequence.

These steps start the Debian boot loader which will display a menu page for you to select a boot kernel and options. Proceed to selecting the boot kernel and options. Option 2: Booting from the EFI Shell

If, for some reason, option 1 is not successful, reboot the machine and when the EFI Boot Manager screen appears there should be one option called EFI Shell [Built-in]. Boot the Debian Installer CD with the following steps:

  • Insert the CD in the DVD/CD drive and reboot the machine. The firmware will display the EFI Boot Manager page and menu after it completes system initialization.

  • Select EFI Shell from the menu with the arrow keys and press ENTER. The EFI Shell will scan all of the bootable devices and display them to the console before displaying its command prompt. The recognized bootable partitions on devices will show a device name of fsn:. All other recognized partitions will be named blkn:. If you inserted the CD just before entering the shell, this may take a few extra seconds as it initializes the CD drive.

  • Examine the output from the shell looking for the CDROM drive. It is most likely the fs0: device although other devices with bootable partitions will also show up as fsn.

  • Enter fsn: and press ENTER to select that device where n is the partition number for the CDROM. The shell will now display the partition number as its prompt.

  • Enter elilo and press ENTER. This will start the boot load sequence.

As with option 1, these steps start the Debian boot loader which will display a menu page for you to select a boot kernel and options. You can also enter the shorter fsn:elilo command at the shell prompt. Proceed to selecting the boot kernel and options. Installing using a Serial Console

You may choose to perform an install using a monitor and keyboard or using a serial connection. To use a monitor/keyboard setup, select an option containing the string [VGA console]. To install over a serial connection, choose an option containing the string [BAUD baud serial console], where BAUD is the speed of your serial console. Menu items for the most typical baud rate settings on the ttyS0 device are preconfigured.

In most circumstances, you will want the installer to use the same baud rate as your connection to the EFI console. If you aren't sure what this setting is, you can obtain it using the command baud at the EFI shell.

If there is not an option available that is configured for the serial device or baud rate you would like to use, you may override the console setting for one of the existing menu options. For example, to use a 57600 baud console over the ttyS1 device, enter console=ttyS1,57600n8 into the Boot: text window.


Most IA-64 boxes ship with a default console setting of 9600 baud. This setting is rather slow, and the normal installation process will take a significant time to draw each screen. You should consider either increasing the baud rate used for performing the installation, or performing a Text Mode installation. See the Params help menu for instructions on starting the installer in Text Mode.


If you select the wrong console type, you will be able to select the kernel and enter parameters but both the display and your input will go dead as soon as the kernel starts, requiring you to reboot before you can begin the installation. Selecting the Boot Kernel and Options

The boot loader will display a form with a menu list and a text window with a Boot: prompt. The arrow keys select an item from the menu and any text typed at the keyboard will appear in the text window. There are also help screens which can be displayed by pressing the appropriate function key. The General help screen explains the menu choices and the Params screen explains the common command line options.

Consult the General help screen for the description of the kernels and install modes most appropriate for your installation. You should also consult Section 5.2, “Boot Parameters” below for any additional parameters that you may want to set in the Boot: text window. The kernel version you choose selects the kernel version that will be used for both the installation process and the installed system. If you encounter kernel problems with the installation, you may also have those same problems with the system you install. The following two steps will select and start the install:

  • Select the kernel version and installation mode most appropriate to your needs with the arrow keys.

  • Enter any boot parameters by typing at the keyboard. The text will be displayed directly in the text window. This is where kernel parameters (such as serial console settings) are specified.

  • Press ENTER. This will load and start the kernel. The kernel will display its usual initialization messages followed by the first screen of the Debian Installer.

Proceed to the next chapter to continue the installation where you will set up the language locale, network, and disk partitions.

5.1.2. Booting with TFTP

Booting an IA-64 system from the network is similar to a CD boot. The only difference is how the installation kernel is loaded. The EFI Boot Manager can load and start programs from a server on the network. Once the installation kernel is loaded and starts, the system install will proceed through the same steps as the CD install with the exception that the packages of the base install will be loaded from the network rather than the CD drive.

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”.

Network booting an IA-64 system requires two architecture-specific actions. On the boot server, DHCP and TFTP must be configured to deliver elilo. On the client a new boot option must be defined in the EFI boot manager to enable loading over a network. Configuring the Server

A suitable TFTP entry for network booting an IA-64 system looks something like this:

host mcmuffin {
        hardware ethernet 00:30:6e:1e:0e:83;
        filename "debian-installer/ia64/elilo.efi";

Note that the goal is to get elilo.efi running on the client.

Extract the netboot.tar.gz file into the directory used as the root for your tftp server. Typical tftp root directories include /var/lib/tftp and /tftpboot. This will create a debian-installer directory tree containing the boot files for an IA-64 system.

# cd /var/lib/tftp
# tar xvfz /home/user/netboot.tar.gz

The netboot.tar.gz contains an elilo.conf file that should work for most configurations. However, should you need to make changes to this file, you can find it in the debian-installer/ia64/ directory. It is possible to have different config files for different clients by naming them using the client's IP address in hex with the suffix .conf instead of elilo.conf. See documentation provided in the elilo package for details. Configuring the Client

To configure the client to support TFTP booting, start by booting to EFI and entering the Boot Option Maintenance Menu.

  • Add a boot option.

  • You should see one or more lines with the text Load File [Acpi()/.../Mac()]. If more than one of these entries exist, choose the one containing the MAC address of the interface from which you'll be booting. Use the arrow keys to highlight your choice, then press enter.

  • Name the entry Netboot or something similar, save, and exit back to the boot options menu.

You should see the new boot option you just created, and selecting it should initiate a DHCP query, leading to a TFTP load of elilo.efi from the server.

The boot loader will display its prompt after it has downloaded and processed its configuration file. At this point, the installation proceeds with the same steps as a CD install. Select a boot option as in above and when the kernel has completed installing itself from the network, it will start the Debian Installer.

Proceed to the next chapter to continue the installation where you will set up the language locale, network, and disk partitions.