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Debian on Sparc

Debian was supported on SunSparc machines starting with the release of Debian GNU/Linux 2.1 in March 1999.

  • Sparc32 support was dropped after Debian 4.0 (etch)

  • sparc64 is in poor shape in Debian 7 (wheezy) and will not be included in later releases

This page is supposed to help in tracking various Sparc-related issues, including current critical bugs (with relevant links and work arounds), installer issues and the like.

Installation notes for various machines and methods: SparcInstallationNotes

Updating OpenBoot PROM: ?SparcUpdateOBP

Tracking the porting progress: SparcPorting

Tips and tricks for running X (X.org) on Sparc: XorgOnSparc

Major Bugs

Like all ports there needs to be work done to keep things running. Sparc was dropped from Jessie on April 27th. dropping sparc message. In this section will be a list of the show stopping bugs that are preventing sparc from being a fully supported port. Many of the bugs right now come from using outdated versions of the kernel or just simply bugs in the build processes. Hopefully these can be corrected and sparc can continue to be part of the debian ecosystem.

  • 731806 debian-installer: FTBFS on sparc: genisoimage errors

  • strcmp() on sparc64 can return wrong result Upstream and related to this issue.

  • 516785 linux: SunFire480R cassini network driver kernel panic

  • 647900 linux: Server fails to boot with illegal instruction on ?SunFire v490

  • 648766, 711294 linux: NMI watchdog fires during disk I/O, cheetah_xcall_deliver in backtrace

  • 734931 linux: Hangs during boot on Sun Fire T2000

Support for UPA graphics cards on ultrasparc machines with onboard graphics

Some ultrasparc machines (eg. Ultra 10) have both onboard graphics and a UPA slot which can hold a graphics card (eg. Creator 3D). The default debian kernel/initrd contains all the graphics drivers which are in the linux kernel. This may result in the prom using a different graphics card for the console then the linux kernel. Worse, the graphics card chosen by linux for the console display may not have been initialized by the prom, which may cause the card to output a wrong video signal or no video signal at all. A workaround for this problem is to disable the onboard graphics in the prom if an UPA graphics card is installed. This can be done as follows :

1) Enter the prom (eg. by pressing stop-A)

2) Enter the following commands at the ok prompt :

ok nvedit

 0: probe-all install-console banner
 1: " /pci@1f,0/pci@1,1/SUNW,m64B@2" $delete-device drop
 2: ^C (Type control-C)

ok nvstore

ok setenv use-nvramrc? true

 use-nvramrc? =        true

ok reset-all

3) Note that there might be 'devalias ...' lines in the nvramrc already. Just keep them in by pressing enter.

CategoryHardware CategoryPorts