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Installing Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 For Motorola 680x0 - Chapter 3
Before You Start


3.1 Backups

Before you start, make sure to back up every file that is now on your system. The installation procedure can wipe out all of the data on a hard disk! The programs used in installation are quite reliable and most have seen years of use; still, a false move can cost you. Even after backing up be careful and think about your answers and actions. Two minutes of thinking can save hours of unnecessary work.

Even if you are installing a multi-boot system, make sure that you have on hand the distribution media of any other present operating systems. Especially if you repartition your boot drive, you might find that you have to reinstall your operating system's boot loader, or in some cases (i.e., Macintosh), the whole operating system itself.

With the exception of the BVM and Motorola VMEbus computers, the only supported installation method for m68k systems is booting from a local disk or floppy using an AmigaOS/TOS/MacOS-based bootstrap, for these machines you will need the original operating system in order to boot Linux. In order to boot Linux on the BVM and Motorola VMEbus machines you will need the ``BVMBug'' or ``16xBug'' boot ROMs.


3.2 Information You Will Need

Besides this document, you'll need the atari-fdisk manual page, the amiga-fdisk manual page, the mac-fdisk manual page, the pmac-fdisk manual page, the dselect Tutorial, and the Linux/m68k FAQ.

If your computer is connected to a network 24 hours a day (i.e., an Ethernet or equivalent connection -- not a PPP connection), you should ask your network's system administrator for this information:

If your computer's only network connection is via a serial line, using PPP or an equivalent dialup connection, you are probably not installing the base system over a network. You don't need to worry about getting your network setup until your system is already installed. See Setting up PPP, Section 7.22 below for information on setting up PPP under Debian.


3.3 Pre-installation Hardware and Operating System Setup

There is sometimes some tweaking to your system that must be done prior to installation. The x86 platform is the most notorious of these; pre-installation hardware setup on other architectures is considerably simpler.

This section will walk you through pre-installation hardware setup, if any, that you will need to do prior to installing Debian. Generally, this involves checking and possibly changing firmware settings for your system. The ``firmware'' is the core software used by the hardware; it is most critically invoked during the bootstrap process (after power-up).


3.3.1 Firmware Revisions and Existing OS Setup

Motorola 680x0 machine are generally self-configuring and do not require firmware configuration. However, you should make sure that you have the appropriate ROM and system patches. On the Macintosh, MacOS version >= 7.1 is recommended because version 7.0.1 contains a bug in the video drivers preventing the booter from deactivating the video interrupts, resulting in a boot hang. The Amiga bootstrap requires ixemul.library, a version of which is distributed on the CD-ROM. On the BVM VMEbus systems you should make sure you are using BVMBug revision G or higher boot ROMs. The BVMBug boot ROMs do not come as standard on the BVM systems but are available from BVM on request free of charge.


3.3.2 Over-Clocking your CPU

Many people have tried operating their 90 MHz CPU at 100 MHz, etc. It sometimes works, but is sensitive to temperature and other factors and can actually damage your system. One of the authors of this document over-clocked his own system for a year, and then the system started aborting the gcc program with an unexpected signal while it was compiling the operating system kernel. Turning the CPU speed back down to its rated value solved the problem.


3.3.3 Bad Memory Modules

The gcc compiler is often the first thing to die from bad memory modules (or other hardware problems that change data unpredictably) because it builds huge data structures that it traverses repeatedly. An error in these data structures will cause it to execute an illegal instruction or access a non-existent address. The symptom of this will be gcc dying from an unexpected signal.

Atari TT RAM boards are notorious for RAM problems under Linux; if you encounter any strange problems, try running at least the kernel in ST-RAM. Amiga users may need to exclude RAM using a booter memfile.


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Installing Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 For Motorola 680x0
version 2.1.11, 28 August, 1999
Bruce Perens
Sven Rudolph
Igor Grobman
James Treacy
Adam Di Carlo