Phil's SparcLinux install map

So you want to install sparclinux at home? Don't want to pay money for a "free" OS? Feeling a bit lost?
[Furthermore, don't have an ethernet connection to do the nfs or ftp install directly?]

Here's a road map to help you along the way. It may not detail every little pot-hole, but its better than going it alone. And don't forget, the map can always be updated.

Beware! This is not for the unseasoned traveller. You must have some experience travelling the pathways of the realm of Eunucs. But prior travel to the town of Linus is not required.

CONTRARIWISE, if ye be headed into Linux, via Sparc, I will assume you have also come through either Solaria, or Sunoas.


Herein begins the true adventure

The first step is to get a bootable floppy, at minimum. Better yet is to have installed the bootfloppy to a spare disk. This task is covered elsewhere. If ye be not prepared with water, go ye not to the dessert.

Once you have your canteen, your have many more tools to aquire.
The first and foremost, is to make a LARGER partition on your disk than 1.44 megs! I recommend at least 100 megs. You need room when you get to Linus. In fact, you must book ahead.

Once the space has been measured, you must decorate it. use "mke2fs". This is not "make 2fs". this is "Make E2 Fs". An inconsistency. The primary linux filesystem is signposted by both "ext2", and "e2", much to the casual traveller's dismay.
On the brighter side, one may decorate either from linux, OR sunos/solaris. An archive named "e2fsprogs" may be unwrapped and compiled, to be used from the comforting haven of Solaria. I have not personally seen if this tool may be used in Sunoas, but I doubt its capacity not.

Then comes the time of the furnishing. You have laid the carpet, but the room is still bare. This is a troubling time. Due to housing association rules, you cannot actually live in the room, until it is suitably furnished. You must live in an ajoining, "prefab" room, until your new more spacious room is proparly decorated. The "root floppy" decor is often used, although it has potentially quite a few difficulties

I find that "tar" makes an indispensable method of sticking things in your new room. And its wonder is the universal availability of it.
You can put tar in a raw partition, and it will stick. You may then stick your hand in it from Solaria, Sunoas, or Linus, and use it with equal ease.

What to stick with tar? Ah, therein can be the peril. After many false journeys, tearing my decorations, and yea, even the rooms themselves to shreds, I have determined the following course of action is best:

Find ye the simple executable called "rpm". This is a goodly tool for packaging further accoutrements for your room. However, it is not enough, for the best furnishings need a box in a box. You may find rpm at ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/redhat-4.0/sparc/Redhat/instimage. But on your own boot-disk you may well find it, and it may be safer.
You may have to provide a shelf for this temporary guest, in /usr/lib/rpmrc. Furthermore, you may have to fill this shelf with what it expects. If you lack this filling, seek it at its ancestral home, buried in "[...]/instimage/usr/lib"

This is not enough. Seek ye further, rpm-2.2.5-1.sparc.rpm. This be equivalently silly to the paradox of the zipped zipper, or the re-compiled compiler. But such is this world. The beast may commonly be found in the lair of "RPMS", which is commonly close to "instimage".

SEEK YE NOT SRPMS. Therein lies waste and peril for the untested traveller

Once you have the packaged packer, you may then proceed to aquire further decorations. There is some assembly required. It matters not too much in which order you aquire them, IF you have space in your spare room. However, I would recommend you assemble your goodies in something approximating the recommended order here, so that you do not have to retrace your steps. Sometimes, "You can't get there from here".

In times of unhappiness, remember the following words of wisdom

The first magic phrase is not actually neccessary, unless you are being naughty, and illegally squatting in your room. Sometimes, with practice, the magic phrase(s) can be shortened. More on this later. However, travellers from Solaria should note that the # slot is one higher than they may expect.

In the place you find rpm-*rpm, you should find the following styles of knicknacks:

BEWARE those furnishings which shall tempt you, and look to be like which you seek, but which shall be marked "devel" or similar. These are bulky, and encumber the flow of your room. Some travellers have strange tastes, but I find them far too extravagant for my humble abode.

Be aware also, that there are many other things considered chic, trendy, or downright indispensable in the new town of Linus. However, opinions vary on the ratings of each piece.

To install these new trimmings in your awaiting room, you may use the packager -- be sure to have used the magic phrase, listed above.
[aaak.. I think this magic phrase has magically erased itself! But in restropect, I believe the following magic will only work from Solaria. No work can be done in an unfurnished room in Linus]

Then, proceed, with the method of

  rpm -i -v --root=/mnt/yourroom packagename.sparc.rpm
If you are squatting illegally in your unfurnished room, you may omit the "--root=" clause. But be sure to have used the primary magic phrase first. Otherwise, union labor rules will stop any packages being brought into your room.

Sometimes, the unwary buyer may buy things not appropriate, and experience remorse. Or find that he is not indeed yet ready for an article he considered indispensible prior to aquiring. In which case,

 rpm -v --erase --root=/mnt/yourroom packagename  (no .sparc.rpm)
is the secret incantation to give them back to whence they came.
This map is still incomplete. I have not completed my journal. I shall attempt to update this map until the Boojums take me at the last.

phil@bolthole.com
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