5

I just bought an SGI Indy computer off of Ebay. The computer works, but I do not know how to netboot one of the computers. Since I do not have an external disk drive (but I do have disk drives from old computers, but they do not plug into the computer with the correct ports), I cannot install them with some disks that I have. I, then, resorted to trying to install the machine over a network. I tried, first, to install it over the DIMA server, but the computer would not recognize it. I am not sure if the DIMA VM was not connecting to the internet. I then tried the netboot appliance on github, and that also did not work, because I could not find the IP address of the computer.

when I let the computer do it's normal boot when the ethernet cable is hooked up. enter image description here

P.S. I do not have a mouse, so I just use the keyboard to move the mouse around, or use the keyboard keys. I bought a USB to PS2 converter, but the motherboard is not supporting the mouse, so that is why I have to use the keyboard.....

Here is a photo without the ethernet cable hooked up...

enter image description here

The "ALERT:ec0" reappears in a new line every few minutes.

The ports:

enter image description here

The USB to PS2 converter:

enter image description here

From these things, I am guessing that the computer already has Irix installed, but I want to reinstall it because I do not know how to fix the kernel error.

The ports with the ethernet cable:

enter image description here

The ethernet cable has been hooked into a Windows 10 laptop and an IMac, and I received the same results...

I then ran to the DINA (deBugs IRIX Netboot Appliance), and I do not think it was connected to the Internet (feel free to ask about that). I really do not actually know how to use it, I just attempted to figure it out by watching this video (which did not give me much help because I did not see the ports or what he did before the video).

I still, after the video do not know how to use the appliance. The computer works perfectly, with an R4X00. ALso, some helpful information could be that the timezone is PST8PDT.

The boot noise also works because I reset the environment variables (which did not do anything, it just turned the volume up a little bit in the computer).

There are no (as I can see) IP addresses on the computer.

Please Help! Thanks!

  • 2
    You can add two things to help us answer your question: photos (to the ports, preferably through the Add Image UI so they're on the i.stack.imgur.com domain) and links (to the programs you've talked about). Also, the tour if you haven't read it. – wizzwizz4 Sep 8 '18 at 14:21
  • 2
    The warning you're seeing is probably because the system clock is returning an older date than the timestamp on the kernel file. This can happen, e.g., if the RTC battery is dead. The system will likely run fine once it picks up the time and date from NTP. If this is the case then the long-term fix would be to replace the RTC battery (typically a CR2032 coin cell). – Alex Hajnal Sep 9 '18 at 1:26
  • 2
    The next line is saying that the system thinks it's on the 192.168.1.n network and is sending all traffic destined for other networks to your router at 192.168.1.1. If this isn't your network and router address you'll want to adjust the network settings once the system has booted. – Alex Hajnal Sep 9 '18 at 1:27
  • 1
    As for the mouse, USB to PS2 converters are typically passive devices that only work with mice that are designed to speak both protocols. IOW, if the converter came with the mouse it should work fine with that mouse but might not work with others. If you have other mice you could try plugging them into the converter; one of them may work. – Alex Hajnal Sep 9 '18 at 1:33
  • 1
    Question: Do you eventually get a login prompt? If so, can you log in as root? – Alex Hajnal Sep 9 '18 at 1:37
5

Note: This answer is a work in progress

Based on the info in your question it appears that the system powers on, starts to boot of the hard drive, and probably has a working network interface. This is good since the hardware appears to be fully functional. Regarding the boot messages you're seeing:

  • lboot: WARNING: kernel seems current but has a modification time in the future
    This warning is probably shown because the system clock is returning an older date than the timestamp on the kernel file. This can happen, e.g., if the RTC battery is dead or simply if the RTC's date is set to a date older than the kernel. The system will likely run fine once it picks up the time and date from NTP. If the RTC always returns the same date and time at boot then the long-term fix would be to replace the RTC battery (typically a CR2032 coin cell).
  • add net default: gateway 192.168.1.1
    This is shown when the networking set-up script runs. The system is saying that it thinks it's on the 192.168.1.n network and is sending all traffic destined for other networks to your router at 192.168.1.1. If this isn't your network and router address you'll want to adjust the network settings once the system has booted. For a fresh install, Irix uses the address 192.168.1.2/24 as the system IP address. This is consistent with the gateway address show above.

Booting into single-user mode

Given that the system appears to be booting off the hard drive and at least some of the OS is coming up, it's likely that a reïnstall won't be necessary. Given the reported network address, you're probably looking at a fresh install of Irix. Since the system won't complete booting in its current state you'll want to try booting into single user mode so that you can poke around a bit and find out what state it's in, change settings, etc. To do this:

  • When booting you should see stop for maintenance; at this point hit Escape then choose Enter Command Monitor, type single and hit Enter.
  • The system should quickly boot (with no network) then you should be prompted to enter the root password. In a fresh install there is no root password so just hit Enter. If this doesn't work then you could also try some of the obvious password possibilities such as root, password, or maybe wheel.

    Note: If none of the passwords work then you'll need to clear the root password in /etc/passwd either by booting into SASH from the stop for maintenance menu (which I believe needs a CDROM to function) or by pulling the hard drive and using a Linux system with a SCSI card to mount the drive's filesystem. Alternatively, you might be able to netboot the Indy and edit the password file from there. If none of this works and you still can't log in, you'll need to do a reïnstall of the system.
  • At this point you should end up in a root shell. I'm not sure exactly what the prompt is for the Irix root shell but it should end in a # character. Take a look around and see what state the system is in. The Unix Rosetta Stone might come in handy.

Network booting / DINA

If you're having trouble getting the Indy working with DINA, the issue may be that your LAN's DHCP server is conflicting with DINA's. Try putting the machine running DINA and the Indy on their own network (either through a switch or directly together using a crossover cable) and trying again. A nice tutorial on using DINA can be found here. See also irixboot and Installing IRIX over a Network.

Mouse

USB to PS2 converters are typically passive devices that only work with mice that are designed to speak both protocols. IOW, if the converter came with the mouse it should work fine with that mouse but might not work with others. If you have other mice you could try plugging them into the converter; one of them may work.

Questions for the OP

  • Are you able to log in in single user mode? If not, do you have access to a SCSI CDROM drive that is compatible with the Indy (either externally or internally)?
  • What exactly is the current state of the system? e.g. Does it boot fully or does it get stuck after bringing up the network?
  • I have only Ubuntu experience, but I have done a lot of research on MIPS. Also, thanks to everyone for assisting me! – rjhwinner03 Sep 10 '18 at 2:13
  • I do have a SCSI CDROM drive, but it is inside of a Windows Me Compaq Presario computer. I do know how to take out the cd-rom drive, but I do not know how to put it into a SGI computer without the external drive cable. Maybe I could attach it inside the computer, but it would be very dangerous, I feel, to the computer and it's interior. – rjhwinner03 Sep 10 '18 at 2:14
  • I have tested the CDROM drive in the Compaq and it still works... I know this because I installed Empire Earth on that computer with the disks, and they worked. – rjhwinner03 Sep 10 '18 at 2:14
  • 1
    For the RTC battery, these systems have a Dallas Timekeeper chip. There's no visible coin cell battery, it's inside the Timekeeper chip package, which can be replaced/bypassed with the use of a Dremel and some soldering. – bodgit Sep 10 '18 at 11:34
  • 1
    In order to boot from a CDROM, the SCSI drive might need to support 512 byte sectors, the same as with old Sun machines. – bodgit Sep 10 '18 at 11:37
2

I fixed the error. I had to plug in the ethernet cable, change the IP, then click install... I then had to quickly unplug the ethernet cable and throw it into the LAN port in my router.

Thanks a million to those who helped, I would have never figured it out without you!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.