Operating Systems

How to install an operating system on our computer.

Linux Red Hat 4.2

Supported operating systems

Linux, NetBSD and OpenBSD are supported.

For example, the following distributions can be installed:

  • Red Hat 4.2 (kernel 2.0.30)
  • Aurora 1.0 (kernel 2.4.20)
  • Debian « Etch » 4.0r9 (kernel 2.6.18)
  • NetBSD 5.1
  • OpenBSD 5.3


The SP605 board has a CompactFLASH interface which is used as an hard disk.

As OpenBIOS does not support netbooting, we need to write a pre-installed image of the operating system on a CompactFLASH card.

You can get an actual SparcStation and copy the hard disk content.

You can also use the amazing QEMU system emulator.

QEMU Installation

First, create an empty raw disk image file smaller than your CompactFLASH :

qemu-img create -f raw disk.raw 7500M

Then, use QEMU to install your preferred operating system from a CD or DVD ISO :

qemu-system-sparc -cdrom sparc.iso -hda disk.raw -boot order=d

Finally, copy the file to the card (make sure that no partition is mounted)

cp disk.raw /dev/sd???

You can also use the command “dd“.

Recent CompactFLASH cards support well low level formatting with non-FAT filesystems. I’ve tested up to 8GB cards, the Xilinx datasheet seems to indicate that the maximum size is 128GB.

Easy !


[Update : NetBSD and OpenBSD added]

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