Sun Sparc PROM commands and booting the system

Commands are in italics.

We’ve got a net boot environment set up, but how do we boot the  thing! easy :)

On Pretty much all of the Sun Netra series machines you get this nifty thing called a LOM (Lights Out Management)
The LOM is  99% of the time serial port 1. On Netra’s this is a wack RJ-45pin Plug I will do up another post detailing how to make this cable.

Connect your serial cable to your serial port via pass though though cable not null modem.

Fire up something that can read your serial port. I Like minicom
Set up terminal software to the following :-

  • speed = 9600
  • 8 data bits
  • no parity bits
  • 1 stop bit

To break into the LOM use the following keyboard key combination “#  .” So hit # then . right after.
You do not need to turn the machine on via the power switch, only needs to be plugged into mains power.

You should now see a prompt that looks like “lom>”. Type help to see what it can do.
The only commands I really use a lot are “poweron, poweroff and console”

To turn the T1 on just type “poweron” and let it go you will be automatically taken to PROM and possible boot an OS if you have one installed.

Once the box has booted you should see something like this :-
LOM event: power on

Netra t1 (UltraSPARC-IIi 360MHz), No Keyboard
OpenBoot 3.10.24 ME, 512 MB memory installed, Serial #xxxxxxxx
Ethernet address x:x:xx:xx:xx:x, Host ID: xxxxxxxx.


So now we’ve got a prom the command “help” also works here.
Another useful command is “sifting”. If you want to see all the possible options and variations of a command use the “sifting” function.

I want to know the rest of this command “probe”
So we type “sifting probe” at the ok prompt.
You should get something close to this diffrent proms will have diffrent things
ok sifting probe

In vocabulary  forth
(f0083530) probe-scsi   (f0082a20) probe-all    (f0082740) probe-all
(f008199c) probe-ide-all        (f0081954) probe-ide
(f00818a8) probe-pci-slot       (f008135c) probe-upa-slot
(f008112c) probe-scsi-all       (f0081020) probe-scsi
(f0078780) (probe-uflash        (f00782d8) probe-flash
(f0069a54) probe-pci    (f0069a54) probe-io     (f0069a00) probe-b
(f006998c) probe-a      (f0069974) (probe-pci)
(f0065e80) pci-master-probe     (f0065cb4) pci-probe-self
(f0065c00) no-probe?    (f0065bdc) (no-probe?)
(f0063f98) probe-own-base-reg   (f0062340) probe-base-reg
(f0061e84) probemsg?    (f0061cb4) probe-pcia?
(f0057cf4) probe-uflash         (f003ebcc) probe
(f003ea80) probe-virtual        (f0030cc4) xprobe       (f0030ca0) lprobe
(f0030c7c) wprobe       (f0030c58) cprobe

Commands useful to us right now are :-

  • probe-scsi (this will probe all scsi attached devices)
  • probe-ide (this will probe all ide attached devices)
  • boot net xxxx (this will ‘boot’ the sytem from ‘network’ where xxxx is a second stage netboot image)
  • boot xxxx (this will ‘boot’ the sytem from xxxx where xxxx can be any prom aliais. xxxx also can be blank will boot PROM defaults)
  • setenv (This will set an environment variable)
  • printenv (This will print to terminal all environment variables)
  • nvalias (This will alias a boot path to a word value)

So now that we have  a very basic understanding of the PROM lets try boot the T1 ( note  OpenProm and FORTH and VERY powerful things, I’ve listed about 5% of what you can do)

At the “ok” prompt type the following to make use of our net boot enviroment.

  • boot net bsd.rd

This will tell the system to boot from the network and look for a file called bsd.rd on the tftp server

Please note that the Netra needs to have a network cable plugged into the FIRST NIC  otherwise you won’t get anything to boot ever..
If you receive a few ARP timeout messages, this is normal
The system should now boot into the OpenBSD Install :)

In a coming article I will write how to remove the SCSI drives in the T1 and replace with an IDE drive.

You need to create a boot Alias for the T1 if you are using an IDE drive.
To do this permanently use the following list of commands (all commands entered at the PROM “ok” prompt)

Create an alias for the IDE disk

  • nvalias BSD /pci@1f,0/pci@1/pci@1/ide@e/disk@2,0
  • setenv boot-device BSD
  • setenv auto-boot true
  • printenv ( check that your settings worked)

What we did was create a perminate alias called BSD that links to the physical PROM device path of the IDE disk. We then updated the varibles called “boot-device” to include BSD alias. Then we updated the “auto-boot” setting to get the system to boot to the listed alias automaticly on poweron.


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