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 4.0 supports twelve major architectures and several variations of each architecture known as “flavors”.

Architecture Debian Designation Subarchitecture Flavor
Intel x86-based i386    
AMD64 & Intel EM64T amd64    
DEC Alpha alpha    
ARM and StrongARM arm Netwinder and CATS netwinder
Intel IOP32x iop32x
Intel IXP4xx ixp4xx
RiscPC rpc
HP PA-RISC hppa PA-RISC 1.1 32
PA-RISC 2.0 64
Intel IA-64 ia64    
MIPS (big endian) mips SGI IP22 (Indy/Indigo 2) r4k-ip22
SGI IP32 (O2) r5k-ip32
Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM) sb1-bcm91250a
Broadcom BCM91480B (BigSur) sb1a-bcm91480b
MIPS (little endian) mipsel Cobalt cobalt
DECstation r4k-kn04
Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM) sb1-bcm91250a
Broadcom BCM91480B (BigSur) sb1a-bcm91480b
Motorola 680x0 m68k Atari atari
Amiga amiga
68k Macintosh mac
VME bvme6000
IBM/Motorola PowerPC powerpc CHRP chrp
PowerMac pmac
PReP prep
Sun SPARC sparc sun4m sparc32
sun4u sparc64
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 supports the following platforms:

  • DECstation: various models of the DECstation are supported.

  • Cobalt Microserver: only MIPS based Cobalt machines are covered here. This includes the Cobalt Qube 2700 (Qube1), RaQ, Qube2 and RaQ2, and the Gateway Microserver.

  • Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM): this is an ATX form factor evaluation board from Broadcom based on the dual-core SB1 1250 CPU.

  • Broadcom BCM91480B (BigSur): this is an ATX form factor evaluation board from Broadcom based on the quad-core SB1A 1480 CPU.

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-mips 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. In the past, only machines with a serial console were supported (that is, all machines except for the Qube 2700, aka Qube1). However, installations are now also possible through SSH.

The Broadcom BCM91250A evaluation board comes with an SB1 1250 chip with two cores which are supported in SMP mode by this installer. Similarly, the BCM91480B evaluation board contains an SB1A 1480 chip with four cores which are supported in SMP mode. Supported console options

A serial console is available on all supported DECstations (9600 bps, 8N1). To use the 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) a 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/BCM91480B use 115200 bps.

2.1.3. Graphics Card Support

Debian's support for graphical interfaces is determined by the underlying support found in X.Org's X11 system. Most AGP, PCI and PCIe video cards work under X.Org. Details on supported graphics buses, cards, monitors, and pointing devices can be found at http://xorg.freedesktop.org/. Debian 4.0 ships with X.Org version 7.1.

The X.Org X Window System is supported on some DECstation models. The Broadcom BCM91250A and BCM91480B evaluation boards have standard 3.3v PCI slots and support VGA emulation or Linux framebuffer on a selected range of graphics cards. A compatibility listing for Broadcom evaluation boards is available.

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