Installing Linux on an IBM Netvista 2800 8364-EXX


To hook up an IDE drive, you'll need the Molex 43025-400 adaptor.

Important: In the PS/2 plugs, the mouse and keyboard plugs are the opposite of what they are on a PC, ie. with the motherboard side lying on a desk, the mouse goes into the lower plug, and the keyboard goes into the upper plug.

Based on what the PCI slots look like, it seems like they use 5 volts. If you use a PCI card to handle PSTN lines, make sure it supports both 3.3V and 5V, ie. Universal PCI. As for the motherboard, Asterisk requires that it's at least PCI 2.2 so that it handles IRQ's correctly, but I don't know if the one that ships with this computer supports this version of PCI.

Half-length PCI = 32-bit?

Recommended Compact Flash: Transcend

This computer supports two BIOS's:

If you prefer to boot off a server using PXE, just set up a DHCP server and an TFTP server. In the TFTP server's /tftpboot directory, add Syslinux's pxelinux.0, its pxelinux.cfg/ directory with its default configuration file, and add a kernel and a file system, eg. vmlinuz and initrd.gz using "kernel vmlinuz append initrd=initrd.img" as configuration.

The alternative is to put a bootable Linux on the Compact Flash card (preferably in read-only mode, in case the CF can't handle many write accesses, although this seems to be either a thing of the past, or limited to cheap brands), or an IDE drive (here is the plug, and here are the pins, both from Molex. If you can't find those, here's the kind of crappy home-made solution you can use in the mean time).

There is a hidden menu that pops up in the Service Aids if you hit CTRL-F9.

Booting the Netvista with DHCP + TFTP

ddns-update-style none;
ignore client-updates;
option routers        ; #Default Gateway
option broadcast-address;
option subnet-mask    ;
option domain-name              "workgroup";
option domain-name-servers, ?
#option netbios-name-servers; #WINS Server
default-lease-time              86400;
max-lease-time                  604800;
subnet netmask {
        range;  #DHCP Range to assign
host netvista {
        option host-name "netvista";
        hardware ethernet 00:06:29:34:60:21;
        #Caution: The client assumes that the next-server handles both tftp and nfs.
        #Needed if TFTP running on other host next-server;
        option root-path "/tftpboot";
        filename "mx1500.sys";

Another example:

Put TurboLinux distro in /tftpboot, and booted Netvista with NSManager BIOS:
#required by ISC
ddns-update-style none;
#needed for PXE
allow booting;
allow bootp;
option netstation-boot-protocol code 211 = text;
option broadcast-address;
option subnet-mask    ;
option domain-name              "workgroup";
default-lease-time              86400;
max-lease-time                  604800;
# Non-standard terminal boot and config options
#option option-66 code 66 = ip-address;          # Boot server
option option-67 code 67 = text;                # Boot filename
option option-211 code 211 = text;              # Boot protocol
#option option-212 code 212 = ip-address;        # Configuration server
#option option-213 code 213 = text;              # Configuration directory
#option option-214 code 214 = text;              # Configuration protocol
subnet netmask {
        range;  #DHCP Range to assign
host netvista {
        hardware ethernet 00:06:29:34:60:21;
        option option-67 "kernel.2800";
        option option-211 "tftp";
        filename "kernel.2800";
        #option 66 = next-server?
        #option option-66;
        #option 67 = filename?
        #option option-67 "/tftpboot/vmlinuz";
        #option option-211 "tftp";
        #option option-212;
        #option option-213 "/tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg";
        #option option-214 "tftp";

"The netvista does not support booting from zipped kernel images so that won't work. The unzipped image also needs to be a certain size."

Flashing the BIOS

There are three ways to flash a new BIOS:

Here's how to flash it with a CF card:

"I did the firmware upg by renaming bflash.2200 to kernel.2200. The box now shows BL072902 (0729/02).

You have to format your CF card properly:

# fdisk /dev/sda

(delete everything if necessary)

n, p, 1, a, 1, w

# mke2fs /dev/sda1 (or equal)

It was important to make the filesystem on sda1 insted of only sda! Keep that in mind if you face a similar problem.

I put the uncompressed linux-2200-0.2.1.tar.gz and BIOS for N2200 onto the CF card. Flashed the BIOS by making the Netvista boot locally using the bflash.2200 file. Then confifured the Netvista to boot locally which makes it use the kernel.2x00 file. Then things started to work."

Here's the TFTP way (source). "It IS possible to upgrade the firmware by dropping the bflash.2200 into the root of the filesystem on the server or into /tftpboot in a linux box. In your network config, tell the IBM to boot via TFTP, give it the server's address, then tell it the bootfile is bflash.2200 If it works, you will get prompted to update firmware.":

  1. On the TFTP server, configure DHCP this way:

    option netstation-boot-protocol code 211 = text;

    group {
        filename "bflash.2800";
        next-server tftp-server;
        option netstation-boot-protocol "tftp";
        host netstation-8364-1
            hardware ethernet de:ad:be:ef:00:01;
  2. On the Netvista, choose the Netstation Manager BIOS

Here's the third way. On the source Netvista host:

  1. Move both J12 and J13 jumpers to the left, ie. away from the CPU heatsink and towards the power supply
  2. Boot up (which BIOS?), and Netvista will write the BIOS to the CF card. Once it's done, the LED will blink green (amber = failure).

On the target Netvista host:

  1. ? Switch to the Netstation Manager BIOS if not already done (won't work when in the Workstation on Demande BIOS), and activate "Linux Flash Recovery". Turn off the computer.
  2. Move the BOOTBLK jumper to the left, and boot up: The Netvista LED should be orange for a fraction of a second, then fixed green for about 10 seconds, then blinking green
  3. Move the BOOTBLK back to the right

Spécifications techniques