Skip to main content.
Google custom search

NetBSD/hppa: Frequently Asked Questions

Using a serial console (top)

On most models, you can configure the Boot ROM to use a serial console instead of a locally attached keyboard and the framebuffer. The serial console will typically run at 9600 bps, 8 N 1 on Port "A" or "1". The procedure varies between models, but you will need a keyboard and monitor connected initially to configure the Boot ROM. The procedure is described below.

There are some tricks you can play to force a serial console without initially connecting a keyboard and monitor. For models with removable framebuffers (such as the 720, 730, 735, and 755), simply remove the SGC framebuffer and the system will default to serial console. Apparently, powering up with the keyboard disconnected and holding down the TOC (Transfer of Control) button on the side of the machine for 10 seconds while powering up will force a serial console. The last two tricks do not appear to work on older models (such as the 715 and 735). See the special instructions for model 712 workstations.

From by Thomas Marteau, The Puffin Group and Deb Richardson.

  1. Turn the PA-RISC machine on. Have both the keyboard and mouse connected.
  2. During the boot process, the following message will appear:
        Searching for Potential Boot Devices.
        To terminate search, press and hold the ESCAPE key.
    When this message appears, press and hold the Esc key until an options menu appears.
  3. By default, you enter the BOOT_ADMIN console. In some 715s, the options menu looks like this:
     b)    Boot from specified device
     s)    Search for bootable devices
     a)    Enter Boot Administration mode
     x)    Exit and continue boot sequence
     ?)    Help
            Select from menu:
    Select a) Enter Boot Administration mode. This will bring up a BOOT_ADMIN> prompt. Everything else you do will be in BOOT_ADMIN mode. So now, everybody is in the BOOT_ADMIN console!
  4. To change to serial console mode, type the following command at the BOOT_ADMIN command prompt:
    path console rs232_a.9600.8.none
  5. Power down, power up. Be ready to hit ESC on your terminal to break into the same options menu as in step 3.

This is the full procedure captured from a 735/99.

How do I configure power-on settings (boot device, console, etc.) (top)

All 700 series workstations have a Boot Administration command line utility in their Boot ROM which lets you configure various settings. For example, you can set whether the system automatically boots an OS, which device to try booting from first, determine the ethernet MAC address, set up a serial console, and possibly do some low level hardware access.

To get to the BOOT_ADMIN prompt, you must press the ESCAPE key before it tries to boot an OS. Since these machines often take a long time between powering on and the brief window of time where you can hit the ESCAPE key, you must pay attention. It may take over a minute after pressing the power button before anything will show up on screen.

Once you have escaped out of the Selecting a system to boot and Searching for Potential Boot Devices you need to type the "a" key to get to the BOOT_ADMIN prompt. Now, use the online help with the HELP command.

Have fun (and see this brief transcript of some of the BOOT_ADMIN menus options on a 735/99).

What devices does my system try to boot from (and how do I change it) (top)

Use the AUTOSELECT and PATH commands in the BOOT_ADMIN environment.

History of NetBSD/hppa (top)

The hppa port of NetBSD was started by Matt Fredette in October 2001. He started working with Michael Shalayeff's OpenBSD/hppa sources at that time, and after much work had it booting multiuser in March of 2002. At that time he began merging the port into the NetBSD tree.

Other sources of information (top)

Back to NetBSD/hppa Port Page