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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 (`sarge'), SPARC
Chapter 3 - New installations

The old Debian GNU/Linux installation system called boot-floppies has been replaced by a new componentized and more powerful installation system called debian-installer.

The installer offers a variety of installation methods. Which methods are available to install your system depends on your architecture.

If you are making a new installation of Debian, you should read the Installation Guide, which is available on the Official CD at:


or on the Internet from the sarge release pages. You may also want to check the errata for debian-installer.

The installation system uses a 2.4 series kernel by default. Installation using a 2.6 based kernel is also possible for SPARC. For more details on how to use this please consult the Installation Guide.

3.1 Issues with keyboards on SPARC

There are several issues with keyboard selection during installation.

The first issue is with USB keyboards by Sun as used on for example SunBlade systems. When installing using the default 2.4 kernel, these are incorrectly "recognized" by the installer as regular Sun keyboards. A workaround is documented in the Installation Guide (see link above, chapter "Using the Debian Installer").

The second issue is kernel related. Kernels in the 2.6 series use a different input layer that makes all keyboards look like "normal" PC keyboards. This means that if you boot the installer with a 2.4 kernel and configure it for a Sun or USB keyboard and later (in expert mode) select a 2.6 kernel for the new system, you will very likely end up with a non-working keyboard after reboot.

3.2 Issues with framebuffer on SPARC

Because of display problems on some systems, framebuffer support is disabled by default for SPARC. This can result in ugly display on systems that do properly support the framebuffer, like those with ATI graphical cards. If you see display problems in the installer, you can try booting the installer with parameter debian-installer/framebuffer=true.

3.3 Popularity contest

For technical reasons the popularity-contest package is no longer installed by default for new sarge installations. This will probably be corrected in future releases.

popularity-contest provides the Debian project with valuable information on which packages in the distribution are actually used. This information is used mainly to decide the order in which packages are included on installation CD-ROMs, but is also often consulted by Debian developers in deciding whether or not to adopt a package that no longer has a maintainer.

Information from popularity-contest is processed anonymously. We would appreciate it if you install the package and allow it to participate in the official survey; you will thereby help improve Debian.

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Release Notes for Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 (`sarge'), SPARC

$Id: release-notes.en.sgml,v 1.71 2006/09/18 13:21:10 fjp Exp $

Josip Rodin, Bob Hilliard, Adam Di Carlo, Anne Bezemer, Rob Bradford (current), Frans Pop (current)