2.1. Supported Hardware

Debian does not impose hardware requirements beyond the requirements of the Linux kernel and the GNU tool-sets. Therefore, any architecture or platform to which the Linux kernel, libc, gcc, etc. have been ported, and for which a Debian port exists, can run Debian. Please refer to the Ports pages at http://www.debian.org/ports/mipsel/ for more details on Mipsel architecture systems which have been tested with Debian.

Rather than attempting to describe all the different hardware configurations which are supported for Mipsel, this section contains general information and pointers to where additional information can be found.

2.1.1. Supported Architectures

Debian 3.1 supports eleven major architectures and several variations of each architecture known as “flavors”.

Architecture Debian Designation Subarchitecture Flavor
Intel x86-based i386   vanilla
Motorola 680x0 m68k Atari atari
Amiga amiga
68k Macintosh mac
VME bvme6000
DEC Alpha alpha    
Sun SPARC sparc   sun4cdm
ARM and StrongARM arm   netwinder
IBM/Motorola PowerPC powerpc CHRP chrp
PowerMac pmac
PReP prep
APUS apus
HP PA-RISC hppa PA-RISC 1.1 32
PA-RISC 2.0 64
Intel ia64-based ia64    
MIPS (big endian) mips SGI Indy/Indigo 2 r4k-ip22
Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM) sb1-swarm-bn
MIPS (little endian) mipsel Cobalt cobalt
DECstation r4k-kn04
Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM) sb1-swarm-bn
IBM S/390 s390 IPL from VM-reader and DASD generic
IPL from tape tape

This document covers installation for the Mipsel architecture. If you are looking for information on any of the other Debian-supported architectures take a look at the Debian-Ports pages.

2.1.2. CPU, Main Boards, and Video Support

Debian on Mipsel currently supports three subarchitectures:

  • DECstation: various models of the DECstation are supported.

  • Cobalt Microserver: only MIPS based Cobalt machines are covered here. This included the Cobalt Qube, RaQ, Qube2 and RaQ2, and the Gateway Microserver.

  • Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM): this is an ATX form factor evaluation board from Broadcom based on their SiByte processor family.

Complete information regarding supported mips/mipsel machines can be found at the Linux-MIPS homepage. In the following, only the systems supported by the Debian installer will be covered. If you are looking for support for other subarchitectures, please contact the debian-mipsel mailing list. CPU/Machine types

Currently only DECstations with R3000 and R4000/R4400 CPUs are supported by the Debian installation system on little endian MIPS. The Debian installation system works on the following machines:

System Type CPU Code-name Debian subarchitecture
DECstation 5000/1xx R3000 3MIN r3k-kn02
DECstation 5000/150 R4000 3MIN r4k-kn04
DECstation 5000/200 R3000 3MAX r3k-kn02
DECstation 5000/240 R3000 3MAX+ r3k-kn02
DECstation 5000/260 R4400 3MAX+ r4k-kn04
Personal DECstation 5000/xx R3000 Maxine r3k-kn02
Personal DECstation 5000/50 R4000 Maxine r4k-kn04

All Cobalt machines are supported which have a serial console (which is needed for the installation).

The Broadcom BCM91250A evaluation board comes with an SB1250 chip with two SB-1 cores which are supported in SMP mode by this installer. Supported console options

Serial console is available on all supported DECstations (9600 bps, 8N1). For using serial console, you have to boot the installer image with the console=ttySx kernel parameter (with x being the number of the serial port you have your terminal connected to — usually 2, but 0 for the Personal DECstations). On 3MIN and 3MAX+ (DECstation 5000/1xx, 5000/240 and 5000/260) local console is available with the PMAG-BA and the PMAGB-B graphics options.

If you have a Linux system to use as serial terminal, an easy way is to run cu[2] on it. Example:

$ cu -l /dev/ttyS1 -s 9600

where the option -l (line) sets the serial port to use and -s (speed) sets the speed for the connection (9600 bits per second).

Both Cobalt and Broadcom BCM91250A use 115200 bps.

2.1.3. Graphics Card

Debian's support for graphical interfaces is determined by the underlying support found in XFree86's X11 system. Most AGP, PCI and PCIe video cards work under XFree86. Details on supported graphics buses, cards, monitors, and pointing devices can be found at http://www.xfree86.org/. Debian 3.1 ships with XFree86 version 4.3.0.

The XFree86 X11 window system is supported on some DECstation models. The Broadcom BCM91250A evaluation board has standard 3.3v PCI slots and supports VGA emulation or Linux framebuffer on a selected range of graphics cards. A compatibility listing for the BCM91250A is available.

[2] In Woody this command was part of the uucp package, but in later releases it is available as a separate package.