This section contains information about what hardware you need to get started with Debian. You will also find links to further information about hardware supported by GNU and Linux.
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
for more details on alpha architecture systems which have been tested with
Rather than attempting to describe all the different hardware configurations which are supported for Alpha, this section contains general information and pointers to where additional information can be found.
Debian 3.0 supports eleven major architectures and several variations of each architecture known as 'flavors'.
Architecture | Debian Designation / Flavor ---------------------+---------------------------- Intel x86-based | i386 | - vanilla | - idepci | - compact | - bf2.4 (experimental) | Motorola 680x0: | m68k - Atari | - atari - Amiga | - amiga - 68k Macintosh | - mac - VME | - bvme6000 | - mvme147 | - mvme16x | DEC Alpha | alpha | - generic | - jensen | - nautilus | Sun SPARC | sparc | - sun4cdm | - sun4u | ARM and StrongARM | arm | - netwinder | - riscpc | - shark | - lart | IBM/Motorola PowerPC | powerpc - CHRP | - chrp - PowerMac | - powermac, new-powermac - PReP | - prep - APUS | - apus | HP PA-RISC | hppa - PA-RISC 1.1 | - 32 - PA-RISC 2.0 | - 64 | Intel ia64-based | ia64 | MIPS (big endian) | mips - SGI Indy/I2 | - r4k-ip22 | MIPS (little endian) | mipsel - DEC Decstation | - r4k-kn04 | - r3k-kn02 | IBM S/390 | s390 | - tape | - vmrdr | ---------------------+----------------------------
This document covers installation for the alpha architecture. If you
are looking for information on any of the other Debian-supported architectures
take a look at the
Complete information regarding supported DEC Alphas can be found at
Linux Alpha HOWTO.
The purpose of this section is to describe the systems supported by the boot
Alpha machines are subdivided into different system types because there are a number of generations of motherboard and supporting chip-sets. Different systems (``sub-architectures'') often have radically different engineering and capabilities. Therefore, the process of installing and, more to the point, booting, can vary from system to system.
The following table lists the system types supported by the Debian installation system. The table also indicates the code name for these system types. You'll need to know this code name when you actually begin the installation process:
Hardware Type Aliases MILO image ============= ======= ========== ALCOR AlphaStation 500 5/266.300 Maverick alcor AlphaStation 500 5/333...500 Bret alcor AlphaStation 600/266...300 Alcor alcor AlphaStation 600/300...433 XLT xlt BOOK1 AlphaBook1 (laptop) Alphabook1/Burns book1 AVANTI AlphaStation 200 4/100...166 Mustang avanti AlphaStation 200 4/233 Mustang+ avanti AlphaStation 205 4/133...333 LX3 avanti AlphaStation 250 4/300 M3+ avanti AlphaStation 255 4/133...333 LX3+ avanti AlphaStation 300 4/266 Melmac avanti AlphaStation 400 4/166 Chinet avanti AlphaStation 400 4/233...300 Avanti avanti EB164 AlphaPC164 PC164 pc164 AlphaPC164-LX LX164 lx164 AlphaPC164-SX SX164 sx164 EB164 EB164 eb164 EB64+ AlphaPC64 Cabriolet cabriolet AlphaPCI64 Cabriolet cabriolet EB64+ EB64+ eb64p EB66 EB66 EB66 eb66 EB66+ EB66+ eb66p JENSEN DEC 2000 Model 300(S) Jensen N/A DEC 2000 Model 500 Culzen N/A DECpc 150 Jensen N/A MIATA Personal WorkStation 433a Miata miata Personal WorkStation 433au Miata miata Personal WorkStation 466au Miata miata Personal WorkStation 500a Miata miata Personal WorkStation 500au Miata miata Personal WorkStation 550au Miata miata Personal WorkStation 600a Miata miata Personal WorkStation 600au Miata miata MIKASA AlphaServer 1000 4/200 Mikasa mikasa AlphaServer 1000 4/233..266 Mikasa+ mikasa AlphaServer 1000 5/300 Mikasa-Pinnacle mikasa AlphaServer 1000 5/300 Mikasa-Primo mikasa NAUTILUS UP1000 Nautilus N/A UP1100 Galaxy-Train/Nautilus Jr. N/A NONAME AXPpci33 Noname noname UDB Multia noname NORITAKE AlphaServer 1000A 4/233...266 Noritake N/A AlphaServer 1000A 5/300 Noritake-Pinnacle N/A AlphaServer 1000A 5/333...500 Noritake-Primo N/A AlphaServer 800 5/333...500 Corelle N/A AlphaStation 600 A Alcor-Primo N/A Digital Server 3300 Corelle N/A Digital Server 3300R Corelle N/A PLATFORM 2000 P2K P2K p2k RAWHIDE AlphaServer 1200 5/xxx Tincup/DaVinci N/A AlphaServer 4000 5/xxx Wrangler/Durango N/A AlphaServer 4100 5/xxx Dodge N/A Digital Server 5300 Tincup/DaVinci N/A Digital Server 7300 Dodge N/A RUFFIAN DeskStation AlphaPC164-UX Ruffian ruffian DeskStation RPL164-2 Ruffian ruffian DeskStation RPL164-4 Ruffian ruffian DeskStation RPX164-2 Ruffian ruffian DeskStation RPX164-4 Ruffian ruffian Samsung AlphaPC164-BX Ruffian ruffian SABLE AlphaServer 2000 4/xxx Demi-Sable N/A AlphaServer 2000 5/xxx Demi-Gamma-Sable N/A AlphaServer 2100 4/xxx Sable N/A AlphaServer 2100 5/xxx Gamma-Sable N/A TAKARA 21164 PICMG SBC Takara takara TITAN AlphaServer ES45 Privateer N/A UNKNOWN Yukon N/A TSUNAMI AlphaServer DS10 Webbrick N/A AlphaServer DS20 Catamaran/Goldrush N/A AlphaServer DS20E Goldrack N/A AlphaServer ES40 Clipper N/A DP264 DP264 N/A SMARTengine 21264 PCI/ISA SBC Eiger N/A UNKNOWN Warhol N/A UNKNOWN Windjammer N/A UP2000 Swordfish N/A XP1000 Monet/Brisbane N/A XP900 Webbrick N/A WILDFIRE AlphaServer GS160 Wildfire N/A AlphaServer GS320 Wildfire N/A XL XL-233...266 XL xl
Debian's support for graphical interfaces is determined by the underlying
support found in XFree86's X11 system. The newer AGP video slots are actually
a modification on the PCI specification, and most AGP video cards work under
XFree86. Details on supported graphics buses, cards, monitors, and pointing
devices can be found at
http://www.xfree86.org/. Debian 3.0
ships with X11 revision 4.1.0.
Multi-processor support — also called ``symmetric multi-processing'' or SMP — is supported for this architecture. However, the standard Debian 3.0 kernel image does not support SMP. This should not prevent installation, since the standard, non-SMP kernel should boot on SMP systems; the kernel will simply use the first CPU.
In order to take advantage of multiple processors, you'll have to replace the standard Debian kernel. You can find a discussion of how to do this in Compiling a New Kernel, Section 9.5. At this time (kernel version 2.2.22) the way you enable SMP is to select ``symmetric multi-processing'' in the ``General'' section of the kernel config.
In many cases, you'll have to do your first boot from floppy disks, using the rescue floppy. Generally, all you will need is a high-density (1440 kilobytes) 3.5 inch floppy drive.
CD-ROM based installation is supported for some architectures. On machines which support bootable CD-ROMs, you should be able to do a completely floppy-less installation. Even if your system doesn't support booting from a CD-ROM, you can use the CD-ROM in conjunction with the other techniques to install your system, once you've booted up by other means; see Booting from a CD-ROM, Section 5.4.
Installation system booting from a hard disk is another option for many architectures.
You can also boot your system over the network. Diskless installation, using network booting from a local area network and NFS-mounting of all local filesystems, is another option — you'll probably need at least 16MB of RAM for a diskless installation. After the operating system kernel is installed, you can install the rest of your system via any sort of network connection (including PPP after installation of the base system), via FTP, HTTP, or NFS.
The Debian boot disks contain a kernel which is built to maximize the number of systems it runs on. Unfortunately, this makes for a larger kernel, which includes many drivers that won't be used for your machine (see Compiling a New Kernel, Section 9.5 to learn how to build your own kernel). Support for the widest possible range of devices is desirable in general, to ensure that Debian can be installed on the widest array of hardware. Any storage system supported by the Linux kernel is also supported by the boot system. The following SCSI drivers are supported in the default kernel:
IDE disks are also supported. Note, however, that on many systems, the SRM
console is unable to boot from IDE drives, and the Jensen is unable to boot
from floppies. (see
for more information on booting the Jensen)
You must have at least 16MB of memory and 110MB of hard disk space. For a minimal console-based system (all standard packages), 250MB is required. If you want to install a reasonable amount of software, including the X Window System, and some development programs and libraries, you'll need at least 400MB. For a more or less complete installation, you'll need around 800MB. To install everything available in Debian, you'll probably need around 2 GB. Actually, installing everything doesn't even make sense, since some packages conflict with others.
Any network interface card (NIC) supported by the Linux kernel should also be supported by the boot disks. Support for the built-in DECChip (Tulip) Ethernet on many Alpha models is compiled directly into the kernel. For other cards, you may need to load your network driver as a module.
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. This section contains information about peripherals specifically not supported by the installation system, even though they may be supported by Linux.
There are several vendors, who ship systems with Debian or other distributions of GNU/Linux pre-installed. You might pay more for the privilege, but it does buy a level of peace of mind, since you can be sure that the hardware is well-supported by GNU/Linux.
Whether or not you are purchasing a system with Linux bundled, or even a used system, it is still important to check that your hardware is supported by the Linux kernel. Check if your hardware is listed in the references found above. Let your salesperson (if any) know that you're shopping for a Linux system. Support Linux-friendly hardware vendors.
Some hardware manufacturers simply won't tell us how to write drivers for their hardware. Others won't allow us access to the documentation without a non-disclosure agreement that would prevent us from releasing the Linux source code.
Since we haven't been granted access to the documentation on these devices, they simply won't work under Linux. You can help by asking the manufacturers of such hardware to release the documentation. If enough people ask, they will realize that the free software community is an important market.
Installing Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 For Alphaversion 3.0.24, 18 December, 2002