Linux for SGI Visual Workstations
Linux 2.2.10 + Red Hat 6.0

NOTE: These instructions need to be updated.

Updated: July 28, 1999

Step 3: Post-installation cleanup

The Red Hat install program does not know anything about Visual Workstations.

This document does.

Follow it closely

Booting the Linux RX kernel

  1. find Floppy #1

    If you followed the previous instructions precisely and have nicely not futzed with the machine at all the screen now has a nasty looking box saying: "Failed to start system: Unable to load bootfile". Click "Continue"

    If you do NOT see this message just press the reset button and hit ESC to get you to the "WELCOME" screen of 6 buttons.

    Insert Floppy #1 now.

  2. Start System

    Recall that we had left "Linux RX" the Default

    Within a couple dozen seconds the penguin reappears in the upper left corner with some grotty kernel boot gunk.

  3. find Floppy #3

    Floppy #3 is the "rescue.img" floppy. Please insert it in the floppy drive now.

    Press the Enter key and you'll instantly see "RAMDISK: Compressed image found at block 0".

    Wait for the floppy drive light to go out (30-ish seconds).

    A classic single user prompt is now on your screen. Type "mount" and/or "ls" and revel in the Unixification of your Visual Workstation!

    You are running now in a ramdisk root.

    For some reason neither Backspace nor Delete do the right thing. Neither does ^H -- ^U kills a whole line. But, don't worry, we're moving on to a slightly friendlier environment.

  4. mount real root
    1. mkdir /r
    2. mount /dev/your-ext2fs-root-partition /r

      Did you remember what disk and partition you appointed '/'?

    3. chroot /r

      You'll see "bash# ".

      You're now running on the real root file system -- just FYI.

      And NOW the ^H does work as the delete key.

      WARNING: You are now running as super-user and have all powers necessary to destroy your system.

  5. Floppy #4

    Finally... last floppy.

    1. swap in Floppy #4
    2. mount -t msdos /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy
    3. ls /mnt/floppy

      You should see the tar image we asked you to put on this disk back in the pre-install instructions.

      Extract everything from that tar image:

      1. cd /tmp
      2. tar zxvf /mnt/floppy/f4jul28.tgz

        (GNU tar has gzip built-in -- the z option -- for those of you used to IRIX).

      Verify that it's correct:

      1. cd f4
      2. sum *

      Compare to this.

    4. install bootloader

      To not conflict with the Red Hat /boot directory I temporarily mount the boot partition here as "/b". (You don't actually have to have this permanently mounted).

      1. make boot partition FAT

        If you are using an existing FAT partition -- especially one that is used to boot any other OS on your machine -- SKIP these four steps and go on to the "mkdir".

        1. /sbin/mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
        2. rpm -i /mnt/cdrom/RedHat/RPMS/mkdosfs*.rpm
        3. /sbin/umount /dev/cdrom
        4. /sbin/mkfs -t msdos /dev/fat-boot-partition
      2. mkdir /b
      3. /sbin/mount -t msdos /dev/fat-boot-partition /b

        Here is where you remember the boot partition.

      4. cp arclx.exe /b

        This assumes slavish adherence to the instructions in that you're still cd'ed to /tmp/f4 and have the contents of the tarball in the current directory.

      5. /sbin/umount /b
    5. install Visual Workstation generic kernel

      cp la2210.vw /

      This is really just temporary until you grab the Visual Workstation Linux kernel patch and build a proper kernel in a later step.

    6. frame buffer gunk

      cp fb.modes /etc/fb.modes

    7. X server gunk
      1. XF86Config gunk

        If you have a regular CRT monitor pick the ".crt" file. If you have a 1600SW flat panel pick the ".fp" file.

        • cp XF86Config.crt /etc/X11/XF86Config.vw
        • cp XF86Config.fp /etc/X11/XF86Config.vw
      2. mknod /dev/hidbp-mse-0 c 10 32

        Human Interface Device, Boot Protocol... it's a USB thing. This is how the mouse appears to the X server.

        You'll see the same dev name in this XF86Config. It MUST MATCH EXACTLY for X to start. Those are 2 single dashes ('-') and a zero ('0').

    8. some cleanup...

      For optimum neatness and best results:

      1. cd /
      2. umount /dev/fd0
      3. exit

        You're now back to just the '#' prompt.

      4. umount /r
      5. press the reset button

        And hit ESC when the PROM comes up

    9. now: reboot!
    10. create your Linux Boot Selection
      1. bonk on Startup Settings
      2. bonk on New
      3. Load Identifier

        Make something up. "Red Hat 6.0 + Linux 2.2.10" or some such.

      4. OSLoader


      5. OSLoadFilename

        Here is where you remember 1) your Linux system/root partition, and 2) the mapping between hdXY type names and multi(i)disk(j) type names and 3) the name of the generic kernel.

        For example, if your root partition is hda2 (an IDE disk) and the kernel is called "/la2210.vw" type this:


        Or, if your root partition is sda2 (a SCSI disk) and the kernel is called "/la2210.vw" type this:


        (Yes, that "multi(2)" stuff is wierd).

      6. OSLoadPartition

        Flip through the choices until you see the one you just copied arclx.exe into. (/dev/hda1 is known as "IDE 0 Disk 0 Partition 1" and /dev/sda1 is known as "SCSI 2 Disk 0 Partition 1")

        The Partition number is _physical_ numbering, not the logical/extended names. The first partition on the disk is '1', the next is '2', etc.

      7. System Partition

        Don't worry about it

      8. OSLoadOptions

        This must match the disk/partition from OSLoadFilename (making the wild leaping assumption that you put your kernel in the root file system)

        FOR EXAMPLE, if your root partition is hda2 then type:



        Also, the kernel does NOT automatically probe for the amount of RAM installed in your system. It defaults to 128MB. If you have more than 128MB you can use the "mem=xxxM" option here on the OSLoadOptions line to make use of all of your memory... mem=512M if you have 512MB, etc.

        The Hardware Inventory "button" on the "6 button" boot firmware menu will report the amount of RAM in your system.

      9. Default

        Make this your default.


    11. BOOT LINUX!

      Bonk on Start System

      You'll see a nice blue box (not to be confused with "blue screen" :-) yakking about ARC boot this and that and some partitions and kernel file name that should be numbingly familiar to you by now.

      Then, you'll see that little penguin and the grotty boot stuff...

      Eventually, you'll see "Red Hat Linux release 6.0 (Hedwig)" and a login prompt.

      Well... login!

      ... as root ... remembering the root password. NOTE: See the known bugs list before you run around willy nilly hacking /etc/passwd directly or using passwd to change passwds.

    12. X setup

      To do anything moderately visual you install and setup some X stuff.

      If your Red Hat 6.0 CD isn't already in the CD drive get it in there now.

      • mount the CD

        mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

        This presumes /dev/cdrom is a symlink to the right place (most likely /dev/hdc on a factory-fresh system).

      • remove bad X stuff

        Remember when we selected the "Mono" X server just to get through the install procedure? We remove that now.

        rpm -e XFree86-Mono

        rm /etc/X11/X

      • install good X stuff

        rpm -i /mnt/cdrom/RedHat/RPMS/XFree86-FBDev-

        ln -s ../../usr/X11R6/bin/XF86_FBDev /etc/X11/X

      • configure X

        cp /etc/X11/XF86Config.vw /etc/X11/XF86Config

        (We copied the XF86Config file from the floppy to this indirect holding name just to make sure nothing "smart" trashes it for us)

      • START X!


        The screen will clear and repaint and you'll get that "wonderful" "X".

        If you had selected GNOME way back during Red Hat install you'll eventually see that footprint thing.

        Point and click with the USB mouse. Aim maybe for the tty icon and make sure the USB kbd types the right stuff.

        If you DO NOT see the X and instead see some teensy green text on black background this means that X server startup failed. You're simply staring at the virtual terminal running on a differently dimensioned framebuffer. Type "clear" very carefully and you'll see less green crawly stuff, etc. If you configure the network and run startx over from an rlogin session you'll more clearly see the complaint from startx. Here are the most common reasons startx fails:

        • /etc/X11/X not symlinked to XF86_FBDev
        • /etc/X11/XF86Config not symlinked to XF86Config.vw
        • /dev/hidbp-mse-0 not spelled right
        • /dev/hidbp-mse-0 not correct major/minor
        • mouse is not proper USB:

          MUST be a "HIDBP" mouse... NOT a "wheel mouse" and NOT a PS/2 mouse for the PS/2 port on the USB kbd.


    You've succeeded!

    One more step if you really are so inclined: building a kernel from source.