[SATLUG] Cobalt RAQ3 Debian install issues

Henry Pugsley henry.pugsley at gmail.com
Sun Apr 25 16:06:33 CDT 2010

Oi .. you like pain don't you? :)

There are quite a few gotchas with the RaQ platform:

1) The kernel has to be smaller than 1,000,000 bytes compressed and
2,500,000 bytes uncompressed.  My standard 2.6.26 kernel from Debian
is 1.5 MB compressed, and that's with bzip2.  You're going to have to
do a very stripped down kernel build for this.
2) The kernel must be compressed with gzip, not bzip2.  Use make
vmlinux instead of make bzImage.
3) / and /boot must be on the first primary partition.
4) aaand you probably dont wan't to hear this, but the ROM version can
affect which kernel version you can boot.  If you don't have the
latest ROM, it is likely that a 2.6 kernel will not boot no matter
what you do.

Here are a couple links with the technical detals:


Good luck!


P.S. If it doesn't work out, the RaQ makes for a sturdy doorstop.

On Sun, Apr 25, 2010 at 1:52 PM, Sean Davis <sdavisfoo at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Crossposting this from XCSSA, just in case somebody's been playing around
> with old blue servers here too... apologies in advance for the line noise if
> nobody cares :)
> Hey all, I figured this would be the best list to get some pointers on
> this. I'm trying to load Debian Lenny on an old RAQ3, however cannot get
> it to boot the 2.6 kernel (i've tried uncountable different combinations
> of version and compression, etc, official lenny kernel vs. kernel
> custom-built for cobalt x86 machines)... so far i've got it trying to
> boot the kernel, but sticking at:
> BOOTLOADER: Mapping in physical locations
> BOOTLOADER: load_addr=0xc2002000 ret_data=0xc2203cc4
> BOOTLOADER: opening "/boot/vmlinux.bz2"
> BOOTLOADER: reading "/boot/vmlinux.bz2"
> BOOTLOADER: read 1312774bytes
> BOOTLOADER: unmounting /
> BOOTLOADER: calling reboot notifiers
> md: stopping all md devices.
> flushing ide devices: hda hdb
> BOOTLOADER: mapping 22M-32M for ride home
> BOOTLOADER: disabling interrupts
> BOOTLOADER: flushing cache
> BOOTLOADER: Leap of faith!
> Back in ramcode: done
> Second stage kernel: Decompressing -Error bunzip2ing kernel. Trying gunzip.
> ERROR: unknown compression method
> ERROR: internal error, invalid method
> Error gunziping kernel. Giving up.
> command line: 'console=ttyS0,115200 debug ip=off '
> booting kernel...
> The exact problem at the end varies - it's given me no errors, and stuck
> at Decompressing kernel, and it's done several variations on the above,
> as I've been trying different ways of compressing the kernel to get the
> bootloader to read it, but I'm starting to think I'm just running into a
> wall due to wanting to boot a 2.6 kernel. Should I go for etch and a 2.4
> kernel?
> If anybody has loaded an OS onto one of these recently, (over the
> network preferably, don't want to take drives out if there's another
> option), could you shoot me an e-mail with some hints? all the docs I
> can find on the great google machine are grossly out of date, and while
> they've helped me get this far, I'm stuck at this error.
> This should probably get taken off-list in order not to spam everybody,
> but should someone be interested in helping, let me know what else you
> need to see as far as configurations go to make a guess at what I'm
> doing wrong, as all I really know about cobalts at this point is "don't
> mess up when upgrading the ROM"
> PS: If somebody knows how to get recent NetBSD loaded onto it, that's
> even better. Once again, all the docs I can find are out of date. If I
> get this working, I promise to write a "how to make a raq3 work in 2010"
> article somewhere :P
> Thanks in advance  :)
> -Sean
> --
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