3. Preparing to boot

3.1. Consoles

In order to boot your PA-RISC system with the PA/Linux kernel, you must first get a console on that system. You can use either a graphic console, which requires that a monitor be attached to the system, or a serial console, which allows communication with the system from a remote Linux machine. For the graphic console, you must be sure that your model is supported and there are two ways to get the graphic console. If you think about bug reporting your trouble, you must differenciate the two of them. First, the STI console is the classical video text console like on your PC for example. This name is due to the fact that each HP box has the Standard Text Interface. Second graphic console is the framebuffer console. In fact, while booting, you will see the penguin appeared on the top-left corner. This is the easiest way to differenciate the two graphic modes. For the serial console, it is a good way to get all the prompt messages including the BOOT_ADMIN ones. It is very useful for bug reports.

If you have a monitor for your PA-RISC system, the easiest method is to use a graphic console. If you have troubles, the best way is serial console.

3.1.1. Using a graphic console

Using a graphic console is just a fancy way of saying "use the monitor attached to the machine". If you have a monitor for your PA-RISC system, you should be able to bring up a console using the monitor, without having to mess with changing to and configuring a serial console.

Obviously, if you can use a graphic console, this is the easiest way to proceed. Nevertheless, you must be sure that your hardware is supported.

3.1.2. Using a serial console

The only time that you should have to use a serial console is if you either don't have a monitor for your PA-RISC machine, or your machine doesn't support graphics. Also, the kernel can NOT use the graphics console of some models, at the moment. So, if you need to use a serial console, use the following procedures to set up serial console support. Serial Cable

To connect your PA-RISC machine to your PC so you can boot the system using a console, you need a 9 pin-to-9 pin female null-modem cable. You should be able to obtain such a cable at your local computer hardware supplier. Obviously, you can connect the other end of the cable to a terminal but the best is to connect it to another box running minicom to get every messages and to copy and paste them logged in a file in order to get a complete and easy bug report. Configuring minicom on Linux

In order to communicate with your PA-RISC machine during this process, you have to set it up in "serial console" mode and configure a serial communication program. We recommend minicom,which is installed in most default Linux distributions. If you don't have minicom on your system, you can find the latest package at any of the major Linux software sites.

Most of the minicom configuration is machine-dependent. You must, however, ensure that:

  1. the baud rate is set to 9600

  2. parity is set to 8-N-1

Don't worry too much because it is the default value for PA-RISC system. If you have a PC, you will probably need to change the baud rate. Switching consoles

Before you can set up a serial connection between your Linux machine and your PA-RISC machine, you have to change the console mode on the PA-RISC system.

The default console mode is graphic_1. To change this, use the following procedure:

  1. Turn the PA-RISC machine on.

  2. During the boot process, the following message will appear:

    Searching for Potential Boot Devices.
    To terminate search, press and hold the ESCAPE key.

    When this message appears, press and hold the Esc key until an options menu appears.

  3. By default, you enter the BOOT_ADMIN console. In some 715s, the options menu looks like this:

    b)    Boot from specified device
    s)    Search for bootable devices
    a)    Enter Boot Administration mode
    x)    Exit and continue boot sequence
    ?)    Help
    Select from menu: 

    Select "a) Enter Boot Administration mode". This will bring up a "BOOT_ADMIN>" prompt. Everything else you do will be in BOOT_ADMIN mode. So now, everybody is in the BOOT_ADMIN console! Checking current console mode

Type: path console to see to which mode the console is currently set.

If it's in graphic console mode, it will return "Console path = graphic_1".

If it's set to serial console, it will return "Console path = rs232_a.9600.8.none" or something similar.


Note that for some models, you can find some differencies but the idea is the same. If you the text to integrate more descriptions, please write a message telling me the box you use and what you get. Changing to serial console mode

To change to serial console mode, type the following command at the BOOT_ADMIN command prompt:

path console rs232_a.9600.8.none

To verify that the console path has been properly set, type path console. This should return Console path = rs232_a.9600.8.none, indicating that the system is now set to boot in serial console mode. How can I change the boot console to serial on a 712?

Unfortunately, you can't. Although 712s are configured for in-house HP development to use serial console, this configuration isn't supported in the field. You have to use a graphics console for 712s but if you really want it, you have a tip in the PA/Linux mailing list archive. In fact, why will we use this beautiful 712 with serial console when you can have X!

3.2. Preparing to boot from the network

This is a very old way to operate but it used to be the only way. Now, you do not need to boot via the network except some very specific case. That's why it is still here.

3.2.1. rbootd or bootp?

All new machines can boot using bootp, including the 715/100, /120, as well as all 712s.

3.2.2. Using rbootd Obtaining rbootd

If you have an older machine that requires rbootd to boot off a network, use the following procedure to set up, configure, and boot using the PA-RISC/Linux kernel.

Older machines, including the Scorpio 715s, require rbootd. You can obtain rbootd:

  • for all the distributions except Debian, you need to get this archive via http://mkhppa1.esiee.fr/download.html

  • for Debian, from http://www.debian.org/Packages/stable/net/rbootd.html Configuring rbootd

Forexample, to boot a PA-RISC 715 system, you have to have rbootd installed on the Linux system (a "boot server") where you will be storing the PA-RISC/Linux kernel image that you want to use to boot your PA-RISC system.

Once installed, use the following procedure to configure rbootd to work with your PA-RISC system:

  1. In /etc/rbootd.conf add the following line:

    ethernet addr bootfile

    Replace bootfile with the name of your PA-RISC/Linux kernel image, usually "lifimage".

  2. Now get the ethernet address of your PA-RISC system by typing lan_addr at the BOOT_ADMIN prompt on your PA-RISC system.

    It will return a number like 080009-7004b6. Make note of the number returned.

  3. In /etc/rbootd.conf on your boot server, the ethernet address has to be colon-delimited. So, you'll have to modify the number you just obtained so every two characters (after removing the "-") is separated by a colon. For example:




    Add the colon delimited ethernet address to /etc/rbootd.conf on your boot server. The resulting file will look something like this:

    # ethernet addr        boot file(s)        comments
    08:00:09:87:e4:8f      lifimage_715        # PA/Linux kernel for 715/33
    08:00:09:70:04:b6      lifimage_720        # PA/Linux kernel for 720

    This rbootd.conf example contains the ethernet addresses and boot file names for two different machines.

    Once you have changed the configuration file, restart rbootd.


By default, rbootd assumes that bootfiles are located in /export/hp/rbootd/. Therefore, you will have to put your bootable kernel image in that directory, or, if you really hate that directory for some reason, you can recompile rbootd to use a different directory.

The easiest thing, of course, is to just drop your kernel images in /export/hp/rbootd/.

3.2.3. Using bootp/tftp Obtaining bootp/tftp

For Debian users, you just have to install the packages via these commands as root:

apt-get install bootp
apt-get install tftpd


The package bootp can be replaced by dchp. But, this howto won't go futrher in this way. For your information, after installing the package dhcp, you have a section in /etc/dhcpd.conf about BOOTP and you can always try man dhcp.

If you need rpm packages, the best advice is to go to http://rpmfind.net. Configuring bootp/tftp

Use the following procedure to use bootp on your boot server:

  1. Configure /etc/inetd.conf on your boot server by adding the following lines:

    tftp    dgram   udp   wait   root   /usr/sbin/tcpd in.tftpd/tftpboot 
    bootps  dgram   udp   wait   root   /usr/sbin/bootpd /etc/bootptab

    Here, /tftpboot is being used for all file placement. You can choose another directory if you want.

    When this is done, restart inetd with: /etc/rc.d/init.d/inetd restart.

  2. Set up the /etc/bootptab file to contain:

                                 :ha=[mac address]:\
                                 :ip=[ip address]:\
                                 :bf=[boot filename]:\

    You have to fill in the [hostname], [mac address], and [ip address] with the appropriate information, of course, where:

    • [hostname] is the name of the PA-RISC host

    • [mac address] is the ethernet address of the PA-RISC box, which you obtain by typing lan_address at the BOOT_ADMIN> prompt

    • [ip address] is the IP address of the PA-RISC system

    • [boot file name] is the name of the bootable kernel image (usually Image)

    You'll end up with something like this:


3.2.4. Booting your PA-RISC/Linux system via network and with serial console

Here we are. This is just some tips to get the boot for those who tried the network way. You've done everything outlined above, your development machine is hooked up to your PA-RISC machine, you've got a bootable PA-RISC/Linux kernel image on your boot server, and you're ready to give it a try. If everything is as it should be, the following procedure will allow you to boot your PA-RISC system into Linux.

  1. Make sure your development machine is connected to your PA-RISC machine with a serial cable. Sounds obvious, but check anyways.

  2. Fire up minicom on your development machine.

  3. Turn your PA-RISC system off then on again.

  4. Watch your minicom console. When the following message appears during the PA-RISC machine's boot process, press and hold the Esc key:

    Searching for Potential Boot Devices.                                      
    To terminate search, press and hold the ESCAPE key.           
  5. Select "a) Enter Boot Administration mode" from the menu. This brings up the BOOT_ADMIN> prompt.

  6. Type the following at the prompt: boot lan.

  7. Watch your PA-RISC system magically become a PA/Linux system. Ta dah!