5.1. Booting the Installer on ARM

5.1.1. Booting from TFTP

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”. Booting from TFTP on NetWinder

NetWinders have two network interfaces: The 10Mbps NE2000-compatible card is eth0 and the 100Mbps Tulip card is eth1.


You need NeTTrom 2.2.1 or later to boot the installation system. NeTTrom 2.3.3 is recommended: get these files from ftp://ftp.netwinder.org/pub/netwinder/firmware/:

  • nettrom-2.3-3.armv4l.rpm

  • nettrom-2.3.3.bin

  • nettrom-2.3.3.bin.md5sum

After rebooting and interrupting the boot process during the countdown, you must first configure the network either with a static address:

    NeTTrom command-> setenv eth0_ip

where 24 is the number of set bits in the netmask, or a dynamic address:

    NeTTrom command-> boot diskless

You may also need to configure the route1 settings if the TFTP server is not on the local subnet. The rest of the config is pretty standard (the save-all step is optional):

    NeTTrom command-> setenv kerntftpserver
    NeTTrom command-> setenv kerntftpfile boot.img
    NeTTrom command-> save-all
    NeTTrom command-> setenv netconfig_eth0 flash
    NeTTrom command-> setenv kernconfig tftp
    NeTTrom command-> setenv rootdev /dev/ram
    NeTTrom command-> setenv cmdappend root=/dev/ram

Only the last four of these interfere with normal disk booting, so it is safe to issue save-all right before them, which will store the network settings in case you need to boot from the network again. If you want to use the serial console to install your NetWinder, you also need the following setting:

    NeTTrom command-> setenv cmdappend root=/dev/ram console=ttyS0,115200

Use the printenv command to review your environment settings. Finally, if your cmdappend NeTTrom variable has the noinitrd option, you must remove it so the downloaded kernel can boot with its attached ramdisk. Booting from TFTP on CATS

On CATS machines, use boot de0: or similar at the Cyclone prompt.

5.1.2. Booting from 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”.

To boot a CD-ROM from the Cyclone console prompt, use the command boot cd0:cats.bin