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2. Overview

2.1. The IBM RS6000 43P 7248-132

This chapter contains a short overview over the 7248-133 and Linux for PowerPC. The data for the other 7248 models should not be too different from this.

The IBM RS/6000 43P model 7248-133 is a not extremely new PReP based PowerPC workstation which was produced from 1995 through 1997. The 43P series includes a lot of machines, both CHRP and PReP based. Our model has among other things this to offer:

  • PReP architecture

  • Carolina type motherboard

  • 133MHz PowerPC model 604 processor

  • 512K synchronous L2 cache

  • Max 192MB RAM (?)

  • Integrated ncr53c810 SCSI-2 controller

  • Integrated IDE controller

  • Integrated AMD PCnet32 PCI ethernet adapter

  • Integrated IBM E15 2MB graphics adapter based on the S3 Vision864 chip

  • Integrated Crystal Audio cs4232 sound adapter

  • 1.44MB Floppy disk drive

  • IBM 8X SCSI CD-ROM drive

  • Usually equipped with one 1.2GB IBM DPES 31080 SCSI hardisk

You can find more information at IBM's sales manual for this machine, found at (click "United States", "SalesManual", "Continue", and search for the product number "7248" at the bottom)

Linux has a native port to the PowerPC processor, and all official code is maintained in the main kernel tree. The main part of the port was done by Gary Thomas. The story of the port can be found here. For more information on running Linux on the PowerPC processor, check out the Linux/PPC homepage/.

2.2. What's the matter, why not use the original installation procedure?

Most Linux distributions for PowerPC computers are aimed for the Apple PowerMac computer series. Those who support other hardware seems (naturally enough) to aim at quite modern hardware. The IBM 7248 series are not Macintosh computers nor very modern (although neither very old). This means that the standard kernels, the standard installation routines, and the standard system configurations do not fit our precious 7248 computers.

You should absolutely make no worries about this at all. We'll make a few hacks, some manual configuration, and make it work anyway. Don't despair, this document will lead you through it, step by step.

2.3. What distributions are supported

The term "supported" here is maybe too strong, as few distributions actually support the 7248. I will however in this document try to describe how to install the following Linux distributions on the 7248:

  • Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 ("Woody")

  • SuSE 7.3

  • YellowDog Linux 2.3/3.0 ("Dayton"/"Sirius")

  • Mandrake 9.1 ("Bamboo")

Some may ask where RedHat Linux is. RedHat does simply not support 32 bits PowerPC processors at all, so end of story. (Though there did exist a version of RedHat 7.2 for some special IBM PowerPC based hardware. It was never a success.) Those who are familiar with RedHat Linux should be quite content with YellowDog anyway, as it is based on RedHat, and feels very similar in use.

You should be able to build a Gentoo or Linux From Scrath installation on the 7248. See the respective Gentoo and LFS web sites for more information. You should probably be able to use some of the information given in this document, but I have personally never buildt a Gentoo or LFS installation, and probably never will, so no details on those will be given in this document.

2.4. An overview on what to do

Here is what we are going to do:

  • Set up the hardware properly ("BIOS settings") with IBM's System Management Services (SMS)

  • Get installation files from CD or FTP

  • Make boot floppies

  • Get the machine to boot and start the installation program

  • Partition the hard drives

  • Install the system

  • Boot the system

  • Update the kernel

  • Set up X