OpenBSD Journal

OpenBSD 3.2 and Sun Fire V100 installation problem

Contributed by jose on from the sparc64 dept.

Tomi Ollila writes:

I have tried to install OpenBSD 3.2 to a Sun Fire V100 machine without success. The best I have achieved is to get shell prompt, but with my root partition read-only and I can not continue from it. And even then, when I do get it as far as shell prompt, it doesn't get there in every reboot.

A quite thorough explanation and detailed installation steps I have tried is available at

I'd gladly see as many as possible to look at it and comment with ideas.


Anyone care to shed some light on sparc64 installation help? I seem to recall some of the hardware had some quirks.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Sean () on

    1. You must update Open Boot Prom code to 1.11 or better (the best way to do this is to install Solaris 9 [i can't find another way]).
    2. The 3.2-stable floppy did not work for me but the 3.0-patch floppy did. (I don't have personal access to a bootable sun cdrom). I used that then used bsd.rd to update to the current snapshot.
    3. Two NICs cause problems as they get assigned the same MAC by the prom. See here for a solution and I can vouch for it working with 3.2-stable.

    I'm having some ethernet & | disk throughput problems but I'm not convinced if it's hardware or software [at 100Mb with an HME card only nets around 13-16Mbps] (I lack time to install something else to check). If others are having similar problems I'd be glad to hear of them.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      3. Two NICs cause problems as they get assigned the same MAC by the prom.

      in the openboot prom:
      setenv local-mac-address? true
      so each nic will get its local MAC address and not the system's MAC address.

      1. By Sean () on

        That particular variable seems to be ignored by the kernel. At least the various archived postings state this and I've tried this myself so I intend on believing that it is true for the U1.

        Those are decent links for someone whose never used OpenBoot before so thanks for posting them. Though I wonder if there is a way to update OpenBoot itself without installing Solaris 9.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          Yes, openboot can be updated.. it's part of the promflash updating.. search for info.

  2. By Anonymous Coward () on

    try to boot bsd.rd (not bsd), as it does not look at solaris diskalbel to find sd0a, and has lots of handy tools for OpenBSD to roll install further

    netboot is handy for more installs in future

    there are more Firmware commands like printenv and reset-all, which may be handy, and boot net(:) which tells what netboot services are necessary

    have a look at netbsd's and linux instructions, they give more clue sometimes, and use file command on netboot loader and kernel to find possible replacements for kernel/bootloader

  3. By RC () on

    It's so very unfortunate that the OpenBSD team didn't provide any sort of forum or mailing list where you could get help with your computer problems... *cough*

    I would like to suggest that deadly NOT be turned into a "help me" site.

    1. By anonymous () on

      There is no information anywhere about this issue... been looking for it also and nothing was found !

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        Try, subscribe to "misc" and post the question there. There are lots of knowledgeable people on the list.

      2. By Brad () on

        I guess you really didn't look that hard...
        it says this on the sparc64 page...

        "Please note, some machines like the Ultra1, Ultra2 and Enterprise 220R may require upgrading the flashprom before OpenBSD can be successfully installed."

        That means your particular model *may* need an
        upgrade too.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          Once it boots and shows net and scsi - rom is ok

        2. By Jeff Tharp () on

          The SunFire V100 is a brand new system...I would think it would have the latest OBP already, unlike the systems you listed. Also, it's all IDE...there's no SCSI devices. Could that be an issue?

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

            "shed some light on sparc64 installation"

            I would assume this would mean sparc64 in GENERAL not just the V100.

    2. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Personally I like posts like this, i find them interesting even if they don't apply to me.

      it's not like there has been a deluge of them recently. what are there, two maybe three posts a day? it's not hard to keep up with that *massive* volume of posts and sort through them to find what interests you.

  4. By Tomi Ollila () on

    I'd like to thank you all who have taken time to
    discuss this matter. While I still don't have openbsd running on Sun Fire V100, I did get NetBSD
    install from cd installation image just fine. the
    Image I used was taken from
    image size is 8814592 and
    md5sum 8df3f76550e9c1493d21b0427c5f24ff

    Installing using that went quite smoothly, only
    setting timezone during sysinst on serial console
    was sligthly "broken" and after reboot I was asked
    to give root device from console. I entered wd0a
    (or did I give rwd0a...) and it booted up OK --
    I have root, swap (and my /p) partitions there as
    I wanted.

    I'll be joining sparc@openbsd mailing list after
    a while when I have more time to "play" with
    the machine...

    Meanwhile, for those who are interested, the
    openboot firmware info I now know how to extract

    Firmware CORE Release 1.0.18 created 2002/5/23 18:22
    Release 4.0 Version 18 created 2002/05/23 18:22
    cPOST version 1.0.18 created 2002/5/23
    CORE 1.0.18 2002/05/23 18:22

    Sun Fire V100 (UltraSPARC-IIe 548MHz), No Keyboard
    OpenBoot 4.0, 256 MB memory installed, Serial #51969879.

    Oh yes. before I started to install netbsd,
    I did give the command:
    setenv local-mac-address? true
    , as suggested in one of the posts.



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