SGI IRIX Netboot Utility
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README.md

irixboot

irixboot is designed to quickly configure a disposable VM to boot a specific version of the SGI IRIX installer over the network on an SGI machine without a whole lot of fuss. There is no need to manually extract CD images from an IRIX machine or compile kernels to get EFS support, configure BOOTP, etc.

This sets up some configuration in the VM that is not secure or may interfere with other network services (e.g. DHCP) so please don't leave it running long-term. I recommend only attaching the network interface to an isolated network for this purpose and then vagrant halt or vagrant destroy the VM when you are done installing.

Background

After acquiring an SGI Indy, which doesn't have a CD-ROM drive, I was seeking ways to boot/install IRIX over the network.

I was inspired to create this after being pointed at the DINA VM and being frustrated that it didn't have EFS drivers to read the IRIX CD-ROMs built in. I figured a more repeatable/disposable build using Vagrant would be the best way to handle this problem.

The irixboot VM provides the following services:

  • BOOTP server (via isc-dhcp)
  • TFTP server (via tftpd-hpa)
  • RSH server (via rsh-server)

Requirements

I am not sure what range of IRIX versions this will work with or what SGI machines are compatible. Personal testing and user reports show the following (at minimum) should be compatible:

  • Hardware

    • SGI Indigo
    • SGI Indy
    • SGI Indigo2
    • SGI Octane
  • Operating Systems

    • IRIX 4D1 4.0.5
    • IRIX 5.3
    • IRIX 6.2
    • IRIX 6.5.22
    • IRIX 6.5.30

I suspect that most other hardware and OS versions released in those timeframes will also work (e.g. O2, server variants, etc.) SGI obviously kept the netboot/install process pretty consistent so I'd expect it to work on probably any MIPS-based SGI system.

(feel free to send me a Personal IRIS or Tezro or something to test it on!)

Some changes will definitely be needed to support other hypervisors, but irixboot should work with VirtualBox on other systems as long as the bridgenic parameter is updated correctly.

Usage

All that is needed to configure a boot environment is to populate the irix/ directory with CD images (described below) and edit the Vagrantfile with your environment/client settings, then vagrant up.

Settings

These settings are found at the top of Vagrantfile. Edit them to suit your environment.

Set this to the version of IRIX you are installing. You must create a subdirectory in the irix directory with the same name:

irixversion = '6.5'

These should be obvious - the network parameters for the target SGI machine:

clientname = 'indy'
clientip = '192.168.42.100'
clientether = '08:00:69:CA:FE:42'

These are the common network parameters for your subnet:

domain = 'sgi.halfmanhalftaco.com'
netmask = '255.255.255.0'

This is the network configuration for the server VM. the bridgenic parameter is the interface name for the NIC (on your host machine - not in the VM) that is connected to the network your target is on. Since interface names can vary wildly between operating systems, you can list your system's interfaces as seen by VirtualBox with VBoxManage list bridgedifs - the Name parameter is the one it expects.

hostip = '192.168.42.5'
bridgenic = 'eth0'

NOTE: This VM starts a BOOTP server that will listen to broadcast traffic on your network. It is configured to ignore anything but the target system but if you have another DHCP/BOOTP server on the LAN segment the queries from the SGI hardware may get answered by your network's existing DHCP server which will cause problems. You may want to temporarily disable DHCP/BOOTP if you are running it on your LAN, configure it to not reply to queries from the SGI system, or put SGI hardware on a separate LAN (my recommendation).

IRIX Install Discs

Once you've imaged your SGI discs, you need to populate the irix/ directory for irixboot to extract them. Within irix/ should be directories with the names of the IRIX versions they contain. These version numbers must match what you configured earlier for the irixversion parameter in Vagrantfile. Within each of those directories must be subdirectories of arbitrary name, and any number of disk image files within those. Further levels of directory nesting are not currently supported.

Multiple files in one subdirectory will be extracted on top of each other. This is useful to avoid having to open several distributions from the inst, since some (all?) of the disc sets can be combined (e.g. Overlays discs combined, Foundation discs combined, etc.).

An example hierarchy:

  • irix/
    • 6.5/
      • foundation/
        • IRIX 6.5 Foundation 1.img
        • IRIX 6.5 Foundation 2.img
      • overlay30/
        • IRIX 6.5.30 Overlay 1.img
        • IRIX 6.5.30 Overlay 2.img
        • IRIX 6.5.30 Overlay 3.img
      • nfs/
        • ONC-NFS for IRIX 6.5.img
      • apps30/
        • IRIX 6.5.30 Applications 0806.img

Booting

caveat: I am not an SGI expert by any means, this is just based on my experience as to what works.

fx (Partitioner)

If you need to boot fx to label/partition your disk, open the command monitor and issue a command similar to this:

bootp():/overlay30/stand/fx.ARCS

where /overlay30/stand/fx.ARCS is a path relative to your selected IRIX version in the directory structure from above. When installing IRIX 6.5.x you'll want to use the partitioner included with the overlay set (first disc), but prior versions of IRIX usually locate the partitioner on the first install disc.

Use fx.ARCS for R4xxx machines and fx.64 for R5000+ machines (and others for older machines, I assume). Once irixboot finishes setup it lists any detected partitioners to help you find the correct path.

inst (IRIX installer)

The installer can be reached through the monitor GUI as follows:

  • At the maintenance boot screen, select "Install Software"
  • If it prompts you for an IP address, enter the same address you entered into the Vagrantfile config for clientip.
  • Use irixboot as the install server hostname.
  • For the installation path, this depends on your directory structure. If you use the structure example from above, you would use the path overlay30/dist. Notice the lack of leading /.
  • This should load the miniroot over the network and boot into the installer.
  • To access the other distributions you extracted, use open irixboot:<directory>/dist.

After irixboot initializes, it displays a list of all dist subdirectories for your convenience.

TODO

  • Support configuration for multiple target machines simultaneously (currently requires destroying/recreating the VM for each machine)
  • More robust support for different formats in the irix directory
    • e.g. Support ISO9660, zip files, tarballs, tardist, loose files, etc. Currently assumes any file is an EFS filesystem image.
  • Better support for halting/restarting the VM and detecting changes in the irix directory.

License

MIT License

Copyright (c) 2018 Andrew Liles

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.