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14. Working with the Openboot.

In this section, you will be given an overview of what is the OpenBoot, and you will be given the main commands you need to know in order to test your hardware and to install Linux.

14.1 What is the OpenBoot?

If you are used to PC hardware, you are used to interact with its BIOS. SPARC computers have an Openboot, it may seem to be like your BIOS, but it is actually far more powerfull. The Openboot performs the following tasks:

  • Testing and initializing the hardware.
  • Starting the operating System.
  • Giving you acces to a set of tools to program and to debug it.
The programming language is FCode, if you can program the Forth langage, you can program it.

In this section, we will juste use a small set of the OpenBoot's capabilities, in order to test hardware and to boot the system. First you have to enter in the OpenBoot, just hit the stop and a keys simultaneously. Then you should see a ok prompt, if instead you see the > prompt then type n. Now you can proceed to the next section.

14.2 Diagnostics commands.

The OpenBoot, gives you a lot of commands to test and to gather information about your hardware.

  • .version Displays version and date of the startup PROM.
  • banner You will see the banner, that is displayed at power-on. It is useful to gather some data about CPUs.
  • pcia-probe-list Test PCI on computers that have a PCI bus.
  • module-info This will display the Buses clockspeed, and processors frequency and amount of cache.
  • probe-scsi This will test all devices connected to the on board SCSI controler.
  • probe-scsi-all This will test all devices connected to all the SCSI controlers.
  • show-devs This displays all installed and probed devices.
  • show-sbus Use this, if you just want to display a list of installed and probed SBus devices.
  • test-all This will test all devices in the system that have a self test program.
  • test floppy If a floppy drive is installed, it will test it reminding you to have a formated floppy disk inside.
  • test-memory If the system diag-switch? is set to true, this will test the memory.
  • test net This will test the network interfaces
  • watch-aui This will test the AUI ethernet link. You will see '.' for good packets and 'X" for bad ones. Strike any key to abort.
  • watch-clock This will test the real time clock chip, it will tick once a second. To stop this test strike any key.
  • watch-net This will check the network connection ( both AUI and TP ). You will see '.' for good packets and 'X" for bad ones. Strike any key to abort.
  • watch-net-all This will test all Ethernet interfaces. You will see '.' for good packets and 'X" for bad ones. Strike any key to abort. When you abort one, it will test the next one.
  • watch-tpe This will check the TPE ethernet interface. You will see '.' for good packets and 'X" for bad ones. Strike any key to abort.

14.3 Boot commands.

The OpenBoot allows you to boot from various devices, the command you are the more likely to enter are below.

  • boot Boot kernel from default device.
  • boot cdrom Boot kernel from CDROM drive.
  • boot net-tpe Boot kernel from network urnel from CDROM drive, this is the command you are the more likely to type when installing Linux.
  • boot net Boot kernel from network using auto-selected interface.
  • boot net-aui Boot kernel from network using AUI interface.
  • boot net-tpe Boot kernel from network using TPE interface.
  • boot tape Boot default file from tape.

14.4 Misc commands.

  • eject-floppy Ejects the floppy.
  • power-off Poweroff the computer.
You can poweroff your computer, when you are working with the OpenBoot : just type power-off

For more informations on the OpenBoot you can read this FAQ at http://www.itworld.com/AppDev/616/UIR951001openboot/


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