Using DINA for network installation of IRIX

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What is DINA?

DINA = deBug's IRIX Netboot Appliance

DINA is a virtual machine image built to support SGI systems being booted and doing software installation over the network. DINA is a combination of the NetBSD operating system, specialized configuration files and custom scripts to accomodate the peculiarities of the SGI's PROM netboot process.

Where to get DINA

deBug's distribution point, Sweden:

smj's mirror, California:

A copy of the DINA 1.0 ZIP archive is also available from download site FileFactory:

And if you want to get a copy of VMware Player, here's a link for that too:

Setting Up DINA

smj's notes coming soon

Installing IRIX With DINA

smj's notes coming soon

Frequently Asked Questions About DINA

Q: Can I run DINA using something other than VMware?
A: Maybe. deBug developed DINA with VMware Workstation and VMware Player. Forum members have used it with the following systems:

  • VMware ESXi 4.0
  • VMware Player
  • VMware Workstation

Those who tried to use VMware ESXi 3.5 and other platforms like Virtual Box were unable to get DINA 1.0 to work.

Q: Does DINA include IRIX?
A: No, aside from a patch or two the DINA image does not include any IRIX software. You must supply that yourself.

Q: I don't have a system running IRIX, or I wouldn't need DINA. And I don't have an optical drive on my SGI system. How am I supposed to read these IRIX CDs?
A: Linux has included read-only support for the EFS filesystem for some time, the format used for IRIX distribution CDs. A command like "mount -r -t efs /dev/cdrom /mnt/irix" should do the trick provided you have all the necessary packages for your distribution installed.

Forum member jan-jaap has reported success by adding the "efs" and "loop" keywords to the fstab(5) entry for his DVD-ROM drive. Here's the example he provided:

# <file system> <mount point>   <type>           <options>             <dump>  <proc>
/dev/hdc        /media/cdrom0   efs,udf,iso9660  user,noauto,loop      0       0

Q: Linux is supposed to support EFS, but I can't mount the IRIX CDs. What next?
A: Some users have reported problems mounting the IRIX CDs under Linux, with messages similar to these reported by forum member unixgeek42:

user@linuxbox:/media% sudo mount -t efs -r /dev/scd0 /media/cdrom
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sr0,
missing codepage or helper program, or other error

In these cases forum members have reported success using dd(1) to make a block-by-block image of each CD as a file, then mounting the files using the loopback mechanism in Linux. For example:

sample# dd if=/tmp/irix63inst.iso bs=1M
sample# mkdir /mnt/irix
sample# mount -v -o loop -t efs /tmp/irix63inst.iso /mnt/irix
mount: going to use the loop device /dev/loop0
set_loop(/dev/loop0,irix63inst.iso,0): success
mount: setup loop device successfully
/tmp/irix63inst.iso on /mnt/irix type efs (ro,loop=/dev/loop0)
sample# ls /mnt/irix
CDgrelnotes  CDrelnotes  coffcheck  dist  firmware  help  insight  relnotes  stand

Thanks to forum members Arabski and bri3d for the original examples combined above.

Q: My SGI machine is never able to connect to the DINA server. What am I doing wrong?
A: One common problem is that users forget to clear the host network address set in the PROM environment. Be sure to enter the PROM command line environment and type "unsetenv netaddr" to make sure your system is requesting a network address via BOOTP. You may want to try issuing the "resetenv" command too, which will set all PROM variables to their default values. Also, make sure you are entering the correct IP address for your DINA server when trying to boot the client system.

SGI Models Successfully Installed via DINA

The following SGI models have been successfully installed via netboot using a DINA server.

History of DINA

deBug first announced the availability of DINA in this forum post on August 12th, 2008.

Forum Threads About DINA