[rescue] Sparc OS Install over serial

Matthew Haas wedge at lightlink.com
Tue Jan 6 19:58:22 CST 2004

On Wed, 7 Jan 2004, Dan Williams wrote:
> > I'm looking for a way to bootstrap and install any modern OS
> > (preferably some flavor of linux) to a SS or Ultra class sparc, but
> > only use the serial port - no floppy, cd, network, or hard disk to
> > bootstrap from. My console does _not_ need to be on the serial port.
> > Googling has only turned up ways of using the serial port as concole
> > during install. I was hoping there's a way to pull this off from the
> > prom - does anyone know if this is possible?
> I can't help you with this, but I'm intrigued as to why ?

 No floppy and CD I could understand, but no network?! Is the machine
locked down with C2-level security certification or something?

 Or is the machine a purely dis[kc]-less box?

 Well, you should be able to specify a device via its PROM address... not
sure if the "boot" PROM word has any restrictions on this. So you might be
able to tell it to boot from the serial port...

 ...but then what? Maybe if you wrote some sort of routine in the PROM's
forth interpreter to just suck up a certain bunch of data.. you might be
able to do the equivalent of grabbing a tftp boot image. But once you
"boot" into an installer, I don't think any system vendor or linux
distributor has ever imagined using serial as an installation medium.

 Of course the PROM can boot from tape... a seemingly linear and
sequential medium. If you could decipher how the "boot tape" functionality
works, you might be able to rig up something... (or what if you were able
to reset the "tape" alias to the serial port (doesn't devalias allow
you to set them)??-- then you'd need some program on the other end
intercepting the tape commands so that the machine doesn't give up when
it doesn't receive a STATUS or realizes it can't REWIND or retension the
tape). Just some thoughts...

 Matthew Haas
 Corning/Geneseo, NY

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