Difference between revisions of "IRIX Network Installation to a SGI Fuel"

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Load this file into the install with the following sequence:
Load the file with the following sequence:
admin source
admin source

Revision as of 08:47, 12 April 2008


The purpose of this article is to help people (re)install the IRIX 6.5.28 operating system on an SGI Fuel. The installation is made through a local network (LAN), from a SGI Indy workstation. The installation isnt strictly for the version which are mentioned from above and the main focus in this article is the feature of using a command file for the installtion instead adding software images by hand to the distribution. So long as you have the right 6.5.x version of the Operation system you can install every SGI/MIPS workstation or server in this way.

Server configuration

As an installation server, I'm using IRIX 6.5.22 on my Indy.

[indy]:/ $ uname -Ra
IRIX indy 6.5 6.5.22m 10070055 IP22

The machine have the IP address

[indy]:/ $ ifconfig -a
        inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast
        inet netmask 0xff000000 broadcast
        inet netmask 0xff000000

The discs

A directory structure has to be created. The chosen directorie names can be different, but they have to be coherent with the next steps:

[indy]:/ cd /usr2/6.5
[indy]:/ ls

The "inst65288" directory contains the complete content from all CDs of the .28 overlay media set. The structure looks like:

[indy]:/usr2/6.5/inst6528 $ ls


All the files have to be readable for the user "guest", so be sure that you change the ownership or add permission for "other" to all of the files and directories

chown -R guest:guest /usr2/6.5

otherwise modify the permissions

chmod -R o+r /usr2/6.5

It might be possible that the "guest" account on your machine might be locked so be sure that you unlock the account and set an empty password by editing the "/etc/passwd" file. The line have to look similar to this one:

guest::998:998:Guest Account:/usr/people/guest:/bin/csh

If you see something like this

guest:*LK*:998:998:Guest Account:/usr/people/guest:/bin/csh

the account is locked!


guest:XOmXlVxyVdlA2:998:998:Guest Account:/usr/people/guest:/bin/csh

The account uses a password. Note: If you use "shaddow passwords", which is not enabled by default on IRIX, you have to look into "/etc/shaddow" instead of "/etc/passwd"

Needed Services

Open the /etc/inetd.conf file and enable the following services as user "root":

  • tftp
  • bootp
  • shell

By default all of these services are enabled.

In the line for the tftp service you have to add the name of the directory which holds all the files "/usr2/6.5"

tftp    dgram   udp     wait    guest   /usr/etc/tftpd  tftpd -s /usr/local/boot /usr/etc/boot /usr2/6.5

After changing this file, tell inetd to reread it with the command

/etc/killall -HUP inetd

Now open a 2nd shell and look to the SYSLOG:

tail -f /var/adm/SYSLOG

Dont close the terminal during the installation.


If you have IPF enabled on the machine you have to ensure that the ports for the services are open. Otherwise grant access for the IP which youre using for the client.

pass in quick on gfe1 proto tcp from

Note: Be sure that youre using the right name of your interface here and dont forget to restarting IPF. If you problems later you consider to turn off (not recommend in a non public network environment) IPF completly during time of the installation.

Client configuration

Stop the booting process by pressing esc key and switch into the maintanence menu. Open the "Command Monitor" (or press button 5). Assign a temporary IP address to the given machine by setting the following environment variable

setenv netaddr

The IP have to be in the same subnet as your install server. The next step is to loading the fx program for creating a valid root partition.

Disk partitioning

As usual you have to create a root partion on the disk first. To load the "fx" programm through the network use the following command:

boot –f bootp() --x

Just some quick notes:

  • Create a [ro]otdrive
  • [re]size the partition and use some higher values for the swap disk. Otherwise you get only 128MB swap size
  • Check if the [la]bel contains the bootfile=/unix entry in the bootinfo section. If not create it
  • Adjust the disk parameters like CTQ,Write buffering to match your needs
  • [sy]nc the label

For detail information about creating a systemdisk take a look to Ian Mapleson "Cloning A Root Disk" howto [1].

Close the programm by selecting

fx> /exit

and it brings you back into the maintanence menu.

Installing software

Press button 2 to enter the "Install System Software" menu. Choose "remote directory" and specfify the name of the remote host by insert the IP adress of your server ( The name of the remote directory is the one which olds the "sa" file. In our case its "/usr2/6.5/inst6528/dist". Press the "install button" to load the installation tools.

In the SYSLOG of your install server you'll see the following message:

Apr 10 21:18:18 6D:indy bootp[1224835]: SGI bootp/dhcp Server V3.1.3 starting at Thu Apr 10 21:35:08 2008
Apr 10 21:48:20 6D:indy bootp[1220746]: reply to boot file /usr2/6.5/inst6528/dist/sa
Apr 10 21:48:22 6D:indy last message repeated 7 times
Apr 10 21:48:53 6D:indy bootp[1220746]: reply to boot file /usr2/6.5/inst6528/dist/miniroot/unix.IP35

In some situations the installer asks about the hostname and IP address of the machine you would like to install and if the disk havent a valid filesystem the there was als a question about creating a XFS.

Since my FUEL have always a problem with the clock settings i have to verify the time and date settings before starting the installation.

Inst>admin date

If a wrong date or time was shown set a new one.

Inst>admin date mmddHHMMYYYY

Command file

Now we dont follow the standard way about loading a distribtion by selection menu 1 from the INST>. Instead we're loading a simple ascii text file which holds all the commands we normaly shoul select by hand one after another.

Create the file "fuel.install" in the directory of your install server with the following or similar content:

keep *
install standard
install sysadm_xvm
install sysadm_base
install sysadm_cluster.sw.client
install eoe.sw.xvm
install sysadm_xvm.sw.client
install eoe.sw.xfsrt
install eoe.books
install eoe.sw.xlv
install eoe.sw.xlvplex
install license_eoe
install license_dev
install eoe.sw.uucp
install eoe.sw.quotas
install eoe.sw.ipv6
install eoe.sw.imagetools
install eoe.sw.netman
install eoe.sw.pam
install eoe.sw.pam_dev
install eoe.sw.terminfo
keep java2_plugin.sw32.mozilla
keep java2_dev.sw.base
keep java2_dev.sw32.binaries

Load the file with the following sequence:

admin source

As you can see we open a new distribution by using the following command.

  • from

After the first command was executed the installer ask you to add more location and you have to select "done". After that all other commands from the comand file are executed one after another without stopping. We dont place the "go" command into the file because you always want to select some extras :). If you have select all of the goodies just type "go" and solve the conflict if they are present.

After the installation reach 100% select

  • 14. quit
Requickstarting EFL files
.. Automaticly reconfiguring the operating system.  Ready to restart the system. Restart?{(y)es, (n)o, (s)hell,help}


permission denied

If you cant load the command file or reading using "1. from [source]" by hand in the inst menu and getting a message about "Cant connect to network...." check the SYSLOG on the install server.

Apr 10 22:09:58 5E:indy rshd[1220813]: root@ as root: permission denied. cmd='exec /bin/sh'
Apr 10 22:09:58 5E:indy rshd[1220823]: root@ as guest: permission denied. cmd='exec /bin/sh'

You'll get an "permission denied" message if you dont have removed the password from the user "guest". In a first step inst always try to connect as user "root" but we want use this account.

File or directory not found

Check the spelling of your pathes in the command file. Verify that all files have read permission for user "guest". Keep in mind that most packages are located into a subdirectory which is named "dist". The NFS CD is a special one because the subdirectory named "dist6.5".

Cant execute dsk(0,1,0)/unix

If you're booting the system first time it might be happend that it cant find the kernel (/unix) on the disk. Load the miniroot again and choose "admin shroot" to open a chrooted shell. Try a "autoconfig" to build a new kernel. If you get an message that "/var/sysgen/boot" doesnt exists your installtion is incomplete.

I run into this problem if a trying to install the IPF package during a fresh Install of a system. But also without the package i got the problem. It was solve to run "autoconfig" after the installtion and before "requickstarting" runs.


  1. http://www.futuretech.blinkenlights.nl/disksfiles.html#CLONE