Project:Infrastructure/Developer Machines/sparc

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sparc 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
bender admin

Console Access

You connect to the console over ssh. Ask infra@ for the user/pass.

ssh; ssh

You can use this to:

  • Interact with the Advanced Lights Out Management (ALOM) -- the software that can control the system
  • Interact with OpenBoot -- the software that launches SILO (the bootloader)
  • Interact with SILO -- the software that boots the kernel
  • Log in directly to recover
  • Boot alternative media

Common ALOM Commands

Once you're interacting with ALOM, here's some commands you'll use a lot. Note that ALOM stays running even if the main system is powered off/locked up/whatever. You can also talk to ALOM w/out interrupting the main system.

  • console - switch to the active software connected to the console (OpenBoot, SILO, Linux terminal)
  • #. - when connected to the console, escape back to ALOM
  • poweroff - request the system shut down gracefully and stay turned off
  • poweroff -f - hard power off the system
  • poweron - power on the system and let it start booting
  • break - suspend the current OS and break into OpenBoot; the system must be powered on

Note that the system is often slow during early boot up.

See the ALOM Manual for more details (publication code 819-7991-10).

Common OpenBoot Commands

If the main system is broken, try booting from a livecd.

  • boot - boot the default target (usually the disk)
  • boot disk - boot the main hard drive
  • boot cdrom - boot the livecd
  • banner - show some machine details
  • go - resume execution of main OS

Common SILO Commands

Once you see the boot: prompt, hit Tab to list all the available kernel images. You can even append kernel command line options here like init=/bin/bb to get a recovery shell.

So to boot an old kernel whose image name is 3.6.17 (as specified in /etc/silo.conf), you can type 3.6.17 init=/bin/bb.

Kernel Management

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

  • Make updates to /etc/silo.conf.
  • No need to run silo after making changes to kernels or silo.conf -- the boot loader will process on the fly.
  • Make sure to run silo after upgrading sys-boot/silo.
  • The bootable linux kernel is created at arch/sparc/boot/zImage (e.g. under /usr/src/linux/).
  • The make install shortcut should work OK.

Machine-specific Notes


  • Contact:
  • IPv4:; netmask; gateway
  • IPv6: 2001:470:ea4a:1:214:4fff:fe2d:5584/64; gateway 2001:470:ea4a:1::1/64
  • System: Sun Fire T200
  • Memory: 16G
  • CPU: UltraSparc T1
  • Disks: 136GB