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 s390 architecture systems which have been tested with
Rather than attempting to describe all the different hardware configurations which are supported for S/390, 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 s390 architecture. If you
are looking for information on any of the other Debian-supported architectures
take a look at the
Complete information regarding supported S/390 and zSeries machines can be
found in IBM's Redbook
IBM eServer zSeries and S/390: Distributions in chapter 2.1 or at
details web page at
In short, G5, Multiprise 3000, G6 and all zSeries are fully supported;
Multiprise 2000, G3 and G4 machines are supported with IEEE floating point
emulation and thus degraded performance.
Multi-processor support — also called ``symmetric multi-processing'' or SMP — is supported for this architecture. The standard Debian 3.0 kernel image was compiled with SMP support. This should not prevent installation, since the SMP kernel should boot on non-SMP systems; the kernel will simply cause a bit more overhead.
In order to optimize the kernel for single CPU systems, 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 2.4.19) the way you disable SMP is to deselect ``symmetric multi-processing'' in the ``General'' section of the kernel config.
CD-ROM based installation is supported for some architectures. On machines which support bootable CD-ROMs, you should be able to do a completely tape-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 5.2.
Installation system booting from a hard disk is another option for many architectures.
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. This means that FBA and ECKD DASDs are supported with the old Linux disk layout (ldl) and the new common S/390 disk layout (cdl).
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 are also be supported by the boot disks. All network drivers are compiled as modules so you need to load one first during the initial network setup. The list of supported network devices is:
developerWorks. Please read Creating an IPL tape, Section 4.3 for information how to get or create such a second initrd.
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.
Package installations from XPRAM and tape are not supported by this system. All packages that you want to install need to be available on a DASD or over the network using NFS, HTTP or FTP.
Installing Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 For S/390version 3.0.24, 18 December, 2002