Tag Archives: installing linux

Installing Linux on PC Engines Alix2d13 (part 2.5)

After publishing I rea­li­zed that I could have sup­plied more infor­ma­tion, and more down­lo­ads, than I did in my pre­vious post.

Here are links to pat­ched ver­sions of Debian netboot.tar.gz (stable/Squeeze, testing/Wheezy and daily build), all down­lo­a­ded and pat­ched today, 2011-05-10:

I have also made a diff file for the stable mod.

What my script does, basi­cally, is this:

  1. Untar the tar­ball and cd to debian-installer/i386/boot-screens/ where all changes are made.

  2. In the file syslinux.cfg (which is actu­ally a file with PXELINUX con­fi­gu­ra­tions) two lines are added:

    1. serial 0 38400—tel­ling PXELINUX to use ttyS0 for I/O (i.e. as console).

    2. con­sole 0—do not try to use any video console

  3. In the files adtxt.cfgrqtxt.cfg and txt.cfg sub­sti­tute any occu­rence of vga=788 for ttyS0,38400n8. This is done in order to tell the ker­nel that:

    1. There is no graphic/video console

    2. The con­sole that should be used is the first serial port, and with the spe­ci­fied settings.

This is a simp­li­fi­ca­tion, since my script also inclu­des a vari­able for the num­ber of the serial port, in case your con­sole is not on ttyS0. I have not inclu­ded any such con­ve­ni­ence regar­ding speed and other set­tings for the serial port chosen.

Installing Linux on PC Engines Alix2d13 (part 2)

I have found it to be quite nice to be able to boot the Alix board over the network using PXE. Using the Debian netboot.tar.gz tar­ball and TFTP I can boot the Debian Instal­ler or a rescue system, and the for­mer lets me install Debian Linux wit­hout phy­si­cally touching the CF.

In order to make net­boot use the serial port as con­sole I have pat­ched the Debian net­boot tar­ball, and I made a script that does all the patching, just for you… :-)


I have tested it with the Debian stable and tes­ting netboot.tar.gz down­lo­a­ded today and it works, and also with the daily snap­shot from Debian installer.

The script will modify the file syslinux.cfg in order to make PXE­Li­nux use the serial port, and the files adtxt.cfg, rqtxt.cfg and txt.cfg to make sure that the Linux ker­nel (actu­ally the Debian instal­ler in this case) also uses the serial port as con­sole. (Look at the script to see the actual changes. You should of course have a look at it before run­ning it, anyway.)

Making my anci­ent Net­gear WGT634U run­ning OpenWRT serve PXE ima­ges was really a no-brainer. In the Services/Dnsmasq page I ente­red the three cho­i­ces shown below, with  the pat­ched net­boot untar­red on a USB stick mounted on /mnt/sda2.

Refe­rences (other that links above):

Some more patching lets me use pre­see­ding too, but more on that anot­her time.