5.1. Booting the Installer on SPARC

5.1.1. Booting with 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 4.4, “Preparing Files for TFTP Net Booting”.

On machines with OpenBoot, simply enter the boot monitor on the machine which is being installed (see Section 3.6.1, “Invoking OpenBoot”). Use the command boot net to boot from a TFTP and RARP server, or try boot net:bootp or boot net:dhcp to boot from a TFTP and BOOTP or DHCP server. Some older OpenBoot revisions require using the device name, such as boot le(); these probably don't support BOOTP nor DHCP.

5.1.2. Booting from a 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”.

Most OpenBoot versions support the boot cdrom command which is simply an alias to boot from the SCSI device on ID 6 (or the secondary master for IDE based systems). You may have to use the actual device name for older OpenBoot versions that don't support this special command. Note that some problems have been reported on Sun4m (e.g., Sparc 10s and Sparc 20s) systems booting from CD-ROM.

5.1.3. Booting from Floppies

To boot from floppy on a Sparc, use

Stop-A -> OpenBoot: "boot floppy"

Be warned that the newer Sun4u (ultra) architecture does not support floppy booting. A typical error message is Bad magic number in disk label - Can't open disk label package. Furthermore, a number of Sun4c models (such as the IPX) do not support the compressed images found on the disks, so also are not supported.

Several Sparcs (e.g. Ultra 10) have an OBP bug that prevents them from booting (instead of not supporting booting at all). The appropriate OBP update can be downloaded as product ID 106121 from http://sunsolve.sun.com.

If you are booting from the floppy, and you see messages such as

Fatal error: Cannot read partition
Illegal or malformed device name

then it is possible that floppy booting is simply not supported on your machine.

5.1.4. IDPROM Messages

If you cannot boot because you get messages about a problem with “IDPROM”, then it's possible that your NVRAM battery, which holds configuration information for you firmware, has run out. See the Sun NVRAM FAQ for more information.