Project:Infrastructure/Developer Machines/hppa

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hppa Admin Notes

These are various notes mainly targeted at people administrating Gentoo dev machines, although most things are probably generally useful. These are not general "how do I administrate a Gentoo box" notes.


These are the current systems we have available. See machine specific notes at bottom for more details.

Machine Name IP DNS Hostnames Console Server Console Account
hake port 3

Console Access

You connect to the serial console over ssh. If your account doesn't have access, talk to infra@ to get your keys on there.

ssh -p 3003 -l $USER

You can use this to:

  • Interact with the early firmware (e.g. to select recovery kernel)
  • Log in directly to recover
  • Send magic sysrq requests to try and recover the box (e.g. when ssh is dead)

Common PDC Commands

If you reboot into the PDC (the early firmware), you have some options to recover manually:

  • Hit any key right after power on (it'll prompt you) to halt the process and interact with PDC directly.
  • Type BO ALT to boot the alternative media (usually a livecd).
  • Type boot to launch PALO (the bootloader), and then type Y when asked whether to interact with the IPL (Initial Program Loader).

Common PALO Commands

PALO will display the list of partitions first, and then show the current command line. Those partition numbers are used when constructing the path to the kernel. So 2/vmlinux means load the file vmlinux from the 2nd partition. When recovery kernels are enabled, then partition 0 is the recovery partition.

To boot a known good kernel, try changing the kernel path to the recovery kernel at 0/vmlinux32.

To boot a recovery shell, try changing the last command line option (usually TERM=vt102) to the rescue shell like init=/bin/bb.

Magic Sysrq

In order to use magic sysrq, you'll need to send a break command followed by the request. To send a break, you'll need to use the ssh escape sequence, and you'll have to remember to double escape the character (if you're not sshing directly to the console server).

Try typing Enter~bh (if connected directly) or Enter~~~bh (if sshing via another system).

If it worked, you should see the one line of help text like:

SysRq : HELP : loglevel(0-9) reboot(b) crash(c) terminate-all-tasks(e) memory-full-oom-kill(f) kill-all-tasks(i) thaw-filesystems(j) sak(k) show-memory-usage(m) nice-all-RT-tasks(n) poweroff(o) show-registers(p) show-all-timers(q) unraw(r) sync(s) show-task-states(t) unmount(u) show-blocked-tasks(w)

Kernel Management

hppa systems use the palo tool from the sys-boot/palo package to manage booting of kernels. Things to remember:

  • Make updates to /etc/palo.conf.
  • Run palo whenever palo.conf is changed or kernels referred to by the config file are updated (failure to do so will break booting).
  • The bootable linux kernel is created at vmlinux (e.g. under /usr/src/linux/).
  • The make install shortcut usually does not do the right thing under hppa.

Sample Config Files


--commandline=2/vmlinux root=/dev/sda3 panic=3


Machine-specific Notes


  • Contact:
  • IPv4:; netmask; gateway
  • IPv6: 2001:470:ea4a:1:230:6eff:fe2b:c8d4/64; gateway 2001:470:ea4a:1::1/64
  • System: C3600
  • Memory: 3G
  • CPU: PA8600 552MHz
  • Disks: 50GB