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/mips/ for more details on Mips architecture systems which have been tested with Debian.

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

2.1.1. Supported Architectures

Debian 5.0 supports eleven 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 arm Netwinder and CATS netwinder
armel Versatile versatile
arm and armel Intel IOP32x iop32x
Intel IXP4xx ixp4xx
Marvell Orion orion5x
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
MIPS Malta (32 bit) 4kc-malta
MIPS Malta (64 bit) 5kc-malta
Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM) sb1-bcm91250a
Broadcom BCM91480B (BigSur) sb1a-bcm91480b
MIPS (little endian) mipsel Cobalt cobalt
MIPS Malta (32 bit) 4kc-malta
MIPS Malta (64 bit) 5kc-malta
Broadcom BCM91250A (SWARM) sb1-bcm91250a
Broadcom BCM91480B (BigSur) sb1a-bcm91480b
IBM/Motorola PowerPC powerpc PowerMac pmac
PReP prep
Sun SPARC sparc sun4u sparc64
IBM S/390 s390 IPL from VM-reader and DASD generic
IPL from tape tape

This document covers installation for the Mips 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 Mips supports the following platforms:

  • SGI IP22: this platform includes the SGI machines Indy, Indigo 2 and Challenge S. Since these machines are very similar, whenever this document refers to the SGI Indy, the Indigo 2 and Challenge S are meant as well.

  • SGI IP32: this platform is generally known as SGI O2.

  • MIPS Malta: this platform is emulated by QEMU and is therefore a nice way to test and run Debian on MIPS if you don't have the hardware.

  • 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

On SGI IP22, SGI Indy, Indigo 2 and Challenge S with R4000, R4400, R4600 and R5000 processors are supported by the Debian installation system on big endian MIPS. On SGI IP32, currently only systems based on the R5000 are supported. 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.

Some MIPS machines can be operated in both big and little endian mode. For little endian MIPS, please read the documentation for the mipsel architecture.

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 5.0 ships with X.Org version 7.3.

The X.Org X Window System is only supported on the SGI Indy and the O2. 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.

2.1.4. Network Connectivity Hardware

Almost any network interface card (NIC) supported by the Linux kernel should also be supported by the installation system; modular drivers should normally be loaded automatically.

2.1.5. Peripherals and Other Hardware

Linux supports a large variety of hardware devices such as mice, printers, scanners, PCMCIA and USB devices. However, most of these devices are not required while installing the system.

The Broadcom BCM91250A evaluation board offers standard 3.3v 32 bit and 64 bit PCI slots as well as USB connectors. The Broadcom BCM91480B evaluation board features four 64 bit PCI slots.