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Old 06-07-2013, 09:07 PM   #1
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Default [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Hi there,

I am one of the Debian Developer who is involved in helping to bring the m68k port of Debian back to life. Among the supported platforms of this port has always been the Amiga. The whole m68k port is currently no official port which means you can install it through official install mediums and the packages are hosted on debian-ports.org instead of debian.org.

Anyway, since we're glad to having more people use Debian on their m68k machines and Amigas, here's a short howto on getting Debian running on the Amiga. It's neither very thorough nor perfect and requires some expertise with Linux and AmigaOS, especially when it comes to partitioning hard disks.

Everything you need to type, type it without quotation marks.

What you need
===========

- any Amiga with a 68020 CPU with an MMU, an FPU is optional; the faster, the better
- a recent version of AmigaOS (3.1 or newer) with the most recent versions of HDToolBox and scsi.device (to be able to properly work with large drives >4 GB)
- at least 64MB of Fast RAM (haven't tested on 32 MB, might work as well)
- a hard disk with at least 4 GB (I recommended 40 GB at least)
- a PC running Linux (Debian is highly recommended since it ships all the useful packages required to work with the Amiga hard disk on the PC) with the possibility to hook up the Amiga hard disk (either IDE or SCSI)
- optional, but highly recommended: a network card supported on Linux/m68k (note: most PCMCIA card supported on Linux (PC) do not work on Linux/m68k, see: http://www.g-mb.de/pcmcia_e.html; Zorro II cards usually like the Ariadne work fine)
- optional, but highly recommended: a serial null modem cable hooking your Amiga to the PC running Linux

Installation
========

1. Prepare the hard disk of your Amiga with HDToolBox; create some space for the installation of AmigaOS (1 GB should be more than enough) and leave the rest empty
2. Take out the hard disk and hook it up to a PC running Debian Linux
3. On the Debian PC, install the package "amiga-fdisk-cross" ("apt-get install amiga-fdisk-cross" as root)
4. As root, run "amiga-fdisk" to create a root partition of at least 4 GB plus a swap partition on the Amiga hard disk (you can use this guide on "fdisk" to learn how to use "amiga-fdisk": http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Partition/fdis...itioning.html; "fdisk" is an old and simple tool for partitioning hard disks on Linux, "amiga-fdisk" is the version which supports Amiga partitions and is designed to be used in the same way as the conventional "fdisk")

NOTE: On the PC, the Amiga hard disk will probably be named "sdb": If your PC has one hard disk (which is named "sda") such that the second hard disk (the Amiga hard disk) will be called "sdb"; on the Amiga (when running Linux), there is only one hard disk and thus the disk will be named "sda" (this is important for the kernel boot command line later in the AmigaOS script "StartInstall"). Make always sure you are working on the correct disk when partitioning; it may even happen that your Amiga disk is named "sda" and your primary disk in your PC is named "sdb" while the Amiga disk is hooked up (Linux usually dynamically names the disks in the order it recognizes them!). You can use "dmesg | less" too see the kernel log which shows which disks were detected and how they were named or "cat /proc/partitions" to see the actual partitions on a disk and their sizes. Don't say you haven't been warned, BE CAREFUL!

5. Format the newly created root partition on the Amiga hard disk with ext4: "mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb2" (if the Amiga hard disk is recognized as "sdb" on your PC and the newly created root partition is "sdb2"; make sure to not confuse the device names, you might overwrite partitions of your PC; when in doubt, check "dmesg" or "cat /proc/partitions" to see which disk is your Amiga hard disk)
6. Mount the newly created root partition on the Amiga hard disk on your PC running Debian, for example: mount -t ext4 /dev/sdb2 /mnt
7. Change into the directory where the Amiga root partition was mounted: "cd /mnt"
8. wget http://people.debian.org/~tg/f/20121227/m68k-base.tgz
9. tar xzf m68k-base.tgz (extract the base filesystem)
10. mv m68k-base/* . (note the little dot; move all files into the root directory)
11. rmdir m68k-base (delete the empty directory)
12. cd && umount /mnt (change back to your home directory and unmount the Amiga root filesystem)
13. mount /dev/sdb1 -t affs /mnt (mount the AmigaOS partition on your Linux host)
14. cd /mnt
15. mkdir boot-debian
16. cd boot-debian
17. wget http://people.debian.org/~tg/f/20121...-3.2.0-4-amiga (download the compressed kernel image for Amiga)
18. mv vmlinuz-3.2.0-4-amiga vmlinuz-3.2.0-4-amiga.gz && gunzip vmlinuz-3.2.0-4-amiga.gz (uncompress the compressed kernel image; required for Amiboot 5.6)
19. wget http://archive.debian.org/debian/dis...ga/amiboot-5.6
20. wget http://archive.debian.org/debian/dis...a/StartInstall && wget http://archive.debian.org/debian/dis...rtInstall.info
21. Use your favourite editor to edit StartInstall to contain the following:

"amiboot-5.6 -d -k vmlinuz-3.2.0-4-amiga root=/dev/sda2 fb=false"

If you would like output over serial console, add: console=ttyS0,9600n8:

"amiboot-5.6 -d -k vmlinuz-3.2.0-4-amiga root=/dev/sda2 fb=false console=ttyS0,9600n8"

22. cd && umount /mnt
23. Shutdown your Debian PC and take out the Amiga hard disk; hook it up to your Amiga and boot into AmigaOS
24. open up the hidden folder "boot-debian" on DH0:
25. double click "StartInstall" and see your Amiga boot into Debian Linux
26. when using a serial console, install and run minicom on the Debian PC, configure it to use the device "/dev/ttyS0" with 9600 bps (anything faster won't work!)

Have fun!

Adrian
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Last edited by adrian82; 06-07-2013 at 09:09 PM..
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Thank you SO MUCH FOR THIS! Awesome

what x window system can you use on amiga? is aga supported?
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Is it safe to assume you could also hook up the Amiga hard drive to your Debian PC using a USB-to-IDE or USB-to-SATA adapter?

And thanks for the update and tutorial. I've been wanting to put a Linux or BSD on my A2000 with Blizzard 2060 for a LOOOOONG time.
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:50 AM   #4
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Thumbs up Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Nice one Adrian.

Is there any support for the Mediator PCI?

I look forward to giving this a whirl - assuming the amiga still boots when I pull it out the loft!
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Also possible to play games, i.e. whdload? Would be a good option for a modern OS :-)

Oh and are PCMCIA wireless cards supported?
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by magnetic View Post
Thank you SO MUCH FOR THIS! Awesome
You're welcome!

Quote:
what x window system can you use on amiga?
I assume you are talking about the supported window managers or desktop, as the term "X Window System" refers to the graphical user interface in general.

Of course, all window managers and desktops are supported that X supports which means all of the ones Debian is currently shipping. However, you rather want to use something light-weight as "twm" or "fvwm" as opposed to "KDE" or "GNOME" on your Amiga with its comparably slow CPU.

Note: Due to some bugs the X Window System has been broken on Linux/m68k since the XFree86-to-X.Org transition which means the current version of X.Org in Debian unstable does not work, you will have a text user interface for the time being.

However, there have been made some changes in the current X.Org development branch which fix most of these issues, thus, after a very long break of almost 10 years, the X Window System is soon going to be fully working for Linux on Amiga (and Atari) systems.

Quote:
is aga supported?
All Amiga custom chipsets are supported: OCS, ECS and AGA. I am not sure about graphics cards, but I think these are supported as well since these usually sport standard chips which were also used on PC graphics cards.

Adrian
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:15 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoadWB View Post
Is it safe to assume you could also hook up the Amiga hard drive to your Debian PC using a USB-to-IDE or USB-to-SATA adapter?
Correct. I actually used the former adapter to hook up my Amiga 1200's internal hard disk drive to my Debian PC and do the partitioning, formatting and copying and extracting of the files.

Quote:
And thanks for the update and tutorial. I've been wanting to put a Linux or BSD on my A2000 with Blizzard 2060 for a LOOOOONG time.
You're welcome.

An Amiga sporting an 68060 is actually quite nice to run Linux. We have several 68060 Amigas used to compile packages for Debian m68k: http://unstable.buildd.net/index-m68k.html

Adrian
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Old 06-08-2013, 03:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorddef View Post
Nice one Adrian.
You're welcome. I hope it will be of any use.

Quote:
Is there any support for the Mediator PCI?
I'm afraid not. There doesn't seem to be a driver for PCI bridges on the Amiga. However, since Linux supports PCI in general, adapting the Linux kernel to support such PCI bridges would be possible. Someone "just" has to write the code for it.

Quote:
I look forward to giving this a whirl - assuming the amiga still boots when I pull it out the loft!
Why shouldn't it? Amiga hardware is inredibly durable. And if it's broken, the fixes are usually trivial (replace faulty custom chips or resolder power connectors etc).

Adrian
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

D'oh! I only have 16Mb on my 68030 card. I'm not sure if it'll even take 32Mb, certainly not 64Mb. Perhaps a reason to buy something faster!

Thanks for the guide though - and for your efforts in general to revive the 68k port.
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
Also possible to play games, i.e. whdload?
Well, WHDLoad is an application for AmigaOS and will therefore not work on Linux. You can, however, install and run (nearly) any POSIX-compatible application and, of course, any of the Debian packages provided for m68k, see: http://www.debian-ports.org/. You can install all Debian packages that have been compiled for "m68k".

Quote:
Would be a good option for a modern OS :-)
Linux is always a very good option, in my opinion. It's free, supports more hardware and architectures than any other operating system, is extremely customizable and fast. It's fascinating being able to run the same operating system on my phone, Raspberry Pi, Amiga, Mac Mini G4, laptop, desktop, digital satellite receiver and much more .

Quote:
Oh and are PCMCIA wireless cards supported?
Well, they are and they are not. Linux supports tons of PCMCIA cards, be it SCSI, Ethernet or Wireless LAN. The problem is, however, that the Linux kernel does not use its generic PCMCIA stack (the piece of software between the PCMCIA card driver and the kernel) when running on the Amiga 600 and 1200, but alas a stripped down, Amiga-specific PCMCIA stack.

Now, the drivers in the Linux kernel supporting the various PCMCIA hardware are using the interface of the generic PCMCIA stack and are therefore not compatible with the Amiga-specific PCMCIA stack in the kernel, thus most PCMCIA cards are supported by Linux but not supported by Linux when running on an Amiga 600 or 1200.

There are, however, a small number of PCMCIA drivers in the Linux kernel which have been ported to the Amiga-specific PCMCIA stack. An incomplete list of supported PCMCIA cards can be found here: http://www.g-mb.de/pcmcia_e.html.

Other cards can be ported to work with little efforts. The D-Link DFE-670TXD, for example, is currently not supported on Linux/m68k but on Linux in general. Since this network card uses the generic NE-2000 register interface, it is possible to adapt the existing driver "apne.c" (http://lxr.linux.no/#linux+v3.9.5/dr...et/8390/apne.c) to support it. Something that we will work on in the near future, since I own this network card and I currently cannot use it on my Amiga 1200 running Linux/m68k.

So, while your specific wireless PCMCIA card is probably currently not supported, it can certainly made to work with little efforts. It's all a matter of people interested in such developments. In general, if there are enough people wanting to install and run Linux on their Amigas, someone might be inclined to port the generic PCMCIA stack to work on the Amiga which would mean that ALL PCMCIA cards supported by the Linux kernel would be usable on the Amiga running Linux/m68k as well.

Adrian
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:11 AM   #11
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrian82 View Post
You're welcome. I hope it will be of any use.



I'm afraid not. There doesn't seem to be a driver for PCI bridges on the Amiga. However, since Linux supports PCI in general, adapting the Linux kernel to support such PCI bridges would be possible. Someone "just" has to write the code for it.



Why shouldn't it? Amiga hardware is inredibly durable. And if it's broken, the fixes are usually trivial (replace faulty custom chips or resolder power connectors etc).

Adrian
This would be a good starting place for someone with the skills and inclination.

http://wiki.netbsd.org/users/rkujawa/amigapci/
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:42 AM   #12
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholas View Post
This would be a good starting place for someone with the skills and inclination.

http://wiki.netbsd.org/users/rkujawa/amigapci/
This is actually neat, I didn't know that. Thanks a lot for the heads up. I am pretty sure that driver code could be ported to Linux.

Adrian
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrian82 View Post
You're welcome!


Note: Due to some bugs the X Window System has been broken on Linux/m68k since the XFree86-to-X.Org transition which means the current version of X.Org in Debian unstable does not work, you will have a text user interface for the time being.

Adrian
Thanks for your responses. Obviously, I would only be interested if full gui was supported.. how would Xfce run on my spec amiga? Also since my target platform is a1200 i would need working pcmcia net drivers too damn.

I glanced through that link of pcmcia cards supported. I have a linksys card so i may have a shot. Dont know the model as i'm not at the studio..
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:04 AM   #14
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by magnetic View Post
Thanks for your responses. Obviously, I would only be interested if full gui was supported.. how would Xfce run on my spec amiga? Also since my target platform is a1200 i would need working pcmcia net drivers too damn.

I glanced through that link of pcmcia cards supported. I have a linksys card so i may have a shot. Dont know the model as i'm not at the studio..
You can give it a try but something like WindowMaker / GNUStep or Openbox would probably be much lighter on the limited resources.

http://wiki.debian.org/Xfce
http://wiki.debian.org/DebianGNUstep
http://wiki.debian.org/Openbox
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrian82 View Post
This is actually neat, I didn't know that. Thanks a lot for the heads up. I am pretty sure that driver code could be ported to Linux.

Adrian
Hopefully someone can get it ported across, it would be really cool to see Debian running on a Mediator + Radeon setup.
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Old 06-22-2013, 05:22 AM   #16
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Is there any way to install using only an Amiga? Or do we have to remove the HD and mount/install using a Linux host?
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:01 AM   #17
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Maybe there is a way to install it on an amiga:
- install the ext2 filesystem (I've seen one on the aminet, but never tested)
- partition/format
- copy the tarball on the ext2 partition
- boot into linux using one of the old initrd.gz's (e.g. http://people.debian.org/~smarenka/d...1:14/nativehd/)
- extract the tarball

This is untested. Extracting the tarball on amiga will work mostly buy not for the /dev entries. If the initrd also contains the AFFS filesystem and mkfs.ext2 then you can read the tarball from an amiga partition and format ext2 under linux.



And as for the filesystem I recommend ext2 in favor of ext3/4 on Flash media (like CF-Card, SD-Card, Usb-Stick) because there is much less writing due to not having journaling. (On HDD and modern SSD ext4 is probably best.)
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:09 AM   #18
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

I think it is much more easier....

use the network-install iso form http://cdimage.debian.org/mirror/cdi...8/m68k/iso-cd/

burn the iso on a cdrom and start the installation with your prefered Grafigboard.

the networkpath for the Installation is

http://archive.debian.org/debian sarge main contrib non-free

After basic-install you can try to do a Distupgrade with the correct sources in /etc/apt/sources.list See Post 1 !

should be

Code:
deb http://ftp.debian-ports.org/debian pool-m68k main
give it a try....

install aptitude with apt-get install aptitude

get the latest Kernel! see Post 1 install the kernel and copy it to your Amiga-Paritition

then do the upgrade

aptitude -f --with-recommends dist-upgrade

I think that´s it...

Last edited by Rotzloeffel; 05-07-2014 at 05:38 AM..
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:30 AM   #19
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Do we still have problems with PCMCIA network cards under Linux on the A1200?

As the typical 3com/NE2000 style network cards are supported under Linux, I assume the reason they're not supported under the mc68k port is some weird PCMCIA chipset issues?

I know I could run ppp over serial but I'd rather not
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:41 AM   #20
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Default Re: [Howto] Installing a current release of Debian on Amiga

Quote:
Originally Posted by TCMSLP View Post
Do we still have problems with PCMCIA network cards under Linux on the A1200?
I do not know about problems with PCMCIA Networkcards..... there is a so called "dummy" Network driver available wich should work....

but BTW: you can give it a try.... nothing will be changed by starting the installation and choose the network driver... harddiskparitioning will be done later....
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