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[Howto] Gentoo on IBM RS/6000 (44P-170)
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Joined: 30 Apr 2004
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 1:21 pm    Post subject: [Howto] Gentoo on IBM RS/6000 (44P-170) Reply with quote


I received an IBM RS/6000 to collect experiences with
a PPC environment and Gentoo.

At the beginning i had a problem with the graphic adapter,
because the IBM GXT4000 is not supported with Linux.
During my enquiries here in the forum i got the
information, that the GXT130P by IBM does works fine,
it's a Matrox G200 (PCI). But not every G200 works fine,
because the BIOS on the graphic adapter for the PC is incompatible with the
RS/6000 hardware. With the help in the forum, i got
a Matrox G200 with a IBM BIOS for this machine
Perhaps it runs graphic adapters (PCI) for Apple computers too.

I got the documentation to install Gentoo (2005.1)
on a PPC environment, but there are some stones on the way.

Here are the steps to install Gentoo on this type of machine
analog to the Gentoo documentation:

1.Boot from the Gentoo installation CD.
If your boot sequence wrong, press F1 during the initialisation to
change the first position for CD-Rom drives.

Use kernel pseries with the parameters like this:
pseries video=matroxfb:1280x1024@60

2.After prompt, i loaded the keyboard layout for german keyboards:
#loadkeys de-latin1

3.Manually configuration of the network:
#net-setup eth0

Check with:



4.Hard drive (9 GB and SCSI) partitioning with CFDISK:

/dev/sda1 = PReP Boot (size 1 MB for yaboot)
/dev/sda2 = boot (100 MB, ext2)
/dev/sda3 = root (6 GB, ext3)
/dev/sda4 = SWAP (2 GB)

# mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda2
# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda3
# mkswap /dev/sda4

Switch on of the SWAP partition:
#swapon /dev/sda4

5.Mounting of the Partitions:
# mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/gentoo
# mkdir /mnt/gentoo/boot
# mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/gentoo/boot

6.Clock check:
# date

# date mmddhhmmyyyy

7.Download of the stage archiv.
I've got many problems with stage1 during the compilation
and got best results with stage3 and 64bit userland
(the RS/6000 Model P44-170 use a Power3-II 64 bit CPU):

# cd /mnt/gentoo
# links2

Path: releases/ppc64/2005.1/stages/64ul/stage3-ppc64-64ul-2005.1.tar.bz2

8.Unpack the stage archive:
# tar -xvjpf stage1-ppc64-32ul-2005.1.tar.bz2

9.Download of the Portage-Snapshot from the same mirror and:
# cd /mnt/gentoo
# links2

Path: snapshots/portage-yyymmdd.tar.bz2

10.Unpack of the Portage-Snapshot:
# tar -xvjf /mnt/gentoo/portage-yyyymmdd.tar.bz2 -C /mnt/gentoo/usr

11.Editing of the file make.conf . For the CFLAGS i found an overview
for PPC CPUs in the GCC-Manual (
#nano -w /mnt/gentoo/etc/make.conf

CFLAGS="-O2 -pipe -mcpu=power3"
USE="gnome gtk qt -kde cdr howl hal firefox"
GENTOO_MIRRORS="your favorit mirror"

12.Enter to the new environment:
# cp -L /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/gentoo/etc/resolv.conf
# mount -o bind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev
# mount -t proc none /mnt/gentoo/proc
# chroot /mnt/gentoo /bin/bash
# env-update && source /etc/profile

13.Portage update:
# emerge –-sync

14.Setting of the profil:
# ln -snf /usr/portage/profiles/default-linux/ppc/2005.1/ppc64/64bit-userland/power3 /etc/make.profile

15.Setting of the timezone:
# ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/GMT /etc/localtime

16.Kernel download:
# emerge gentoo-sources

17. To configure the kernel please use the Gentoo installation manual and
integrate the following hardware:

- Symbios Logic SCSI controller (53C896)
- Ethetnet adapter by AMD (79C979), PCnet32
- i8042 Keyboard controller

Don't forget:

- All kind of pSeries switches
- Open Firmware frame buffer support
- DRI support
- In this case the Matrox G200 support

I disabled the sound support, because i didn't found any information about
the sound chip. Trials with all sound support as module for the 2.6.12 kernel
made no success.

#make menuconfig
#make && make modules_install
#cp vmlinux /boot/kernel-2.6.12
#cp .config /boot/config-2.6.12

18.Editing the file fstab:
nano -w /etc/fstab

/dev/sda2 /boot ext2 defaults,noatime 1 2
/dev/sda3 / ext3 noatime 0 1
/dev/sda4 none swap sw 0 0
/dev/cdroms/cdrom0 /mnt/cdrom auto noauto,user 0 0
none /proc proc defaults 0 0
none /dev/shm tmpfs nodev,nosuid,noexec 0 0

19.Network configuration (in my case, analog to the Gentoo documentation):
#nano -w /etc/conf.d/hostname

#nano -w /etc/conf.d/domainname

#rc-update add domainname default

#nano -w /etc/conf.d/net
config_eth0=( " netmask" )
routes_eth0=( "default gw" )

#rc-update add net.eth0 default

#nano -w /etc/hosts localhost hal.odyssey hal

20. System settings:

-New root password

-I've got any problems with UNICODE so i
disabled the unicode in the rc.conf file:
# nano -w /etc/rc.conf

- Keyboard layout
#nano -w /etc/conf.d/keymaps

21. Installation of system logger and cron daemon like
in the Gentoo documentation.

22. Bootloader installation. Stage1 and stage3 have the same problem with yaboot.
The compilation breaked down every time.

With the help of the Gentoo forum i found a solution:

#emerge yaboot-static

The second problem was the installation of yaboot to the boot partition.
Tools like yabootconfig and mkofboot made no success in the RS/6000 environment.
I found the solution to copy yaboot direct to the boot partition with:

#dd if=/usr/lib/yaboot/yaboot of=/dev/sda1

The second step is to create the yaboot.conf file:
#nano -w /etc/yaboot.conf



23.Reboot (good luck):
#umount /mnt/gentoo/proc /mnt/gentoo/dev /mnt/gentoo/boot /mnt/gentoo

24.For the user administration i used the Gentoo documentation for the last steps.

Last words:

After this main installation i installed Gnome.
But the performance is not very good, because the Matrox G200 drivers of
Xorg are not working to 100% with the patched graphic adapter BIOS.
I saw only strange effects under Xorg. Only the frame buffer driver
in Xorg gave a little success.

Today hal ;-) work fine als little SAMBA server at my home.

Thank you at all, who helped me. And special greetings to thbo.

best regards

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Tux's lil' helper
Tux's lil' helper

Joined: 29 Oct 2002
Posts: 86
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice guide hare, should be useful to me soon when i get to spend some time playing with my RS/6000

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Joined: 03 Aug 2005
Posts: 14
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great HOWTO man, will bookmark it and use it as I'm getting an RS/6000 at the end of the year. Hope the graphics driver will work, I think they've put an other card in the box. Will report any problems and peculiarities as soon as I installed it.

Keep up the good work!
AMD Athlon64 3200+ Socket 754
1GB DDR400 Twinmos
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