[CentOS-devel] CentOS-Sparc - New 'Fedora Secondary' Discovery

Mon Mar 30 17:40:21 UTC 2009
Worsham, Michael <michael.worsham at morris.com>

This report/issue is geared to those attempting to find a CentOS/RH for

Currently, there is a slowdown to the development of CentOS for the
Sparc platform. The current tftp64.img build for CentOS on Sparc does
not have support for the low-cost Netra and Sunfire 1U servers, thus
hinders any chance of this distro release being used for cheap hardware
re-provisioning needs (i.e. basic web servers, database servers, etc).

In the past, there was a project called Aurora Sparc Linux, which was
based on the Fedora platform. There are older builds still available,
but these are rather ancient in comparison to today's kernel and driver

Upon doing a bit of in-depth research, I did discover that Ubuntu did
release a Sparc build under their v7.10 distro, which supports many
older as well as new Sparc-based platforms including the low-cost Netra
and Sunfire 1U servers. These special servers require the 'eri' driver
commonly called the SunGEM driver.

I did, however, stumble upon a 'Fedora Secondary' project which does
have actual images and CD/DVD/NetBoot ISO builds available and is based
on the Fedora 9 distro.


Upon initial testing, I found that the test ISO and the TFTP images do
support the low-cost Netra and Sunfire 1U servers as well as other
platform, but there seems to be an issue when it comes down to creating
the actual disk environment. Out of five tries, three of them tried to
create an 'ext2' disk build-out even when ext3 was specified. The
remaining two would place the disks in a read-only status -- and even
using a rescue boot CD -- failed to restore these to a read-write

I recommend to those looking at trying out a RedHat-based distro for
Sparc, to look at this build. It might provide some guidance for the
CentOS development team going forward for future platform releases.

-- Michael