Network IRIX Installation

This is mostly because I couldn’t get rsh/rlogin/etc working and do the standard remote install of IRIX, so here’s a roundabout way to accomplish the same thing.



Install bootp and tftpd-hpa on the linux machine. Edit /etc/bootptab and add something like the following:

.default: \

..net1: \
    :tc=.default: \
    :ip= \


You could probably get away with less than that, but it’s fairly robust. HA is the MAC address of your SGI network card, which you can find in the PROM monitor by typing printenv.

Copy the contents of the IRIX install media onto your machine in /srv/tftp (or wherever your tftp daemon is serving from). You definitely need the sa file as well as the stand and miniroot directories.

bootp():stand/fx.ARCS     # or fx.64 on a 64-bit system

Partition the disk as you like, then get back to the PROM monitor. Boot into sash.

bootp():sa(sashARCS)     # or sash64

Now the clever bit — you want to copy the miniroot onto your swap partition (partition 1 if you used the default layout).

cp bootp():sa(mr) pci(0)scsi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(1)

That was on an O2, it’ll be slightly different depending on the system. On an Indigo it’s just scsi(0)… without the pci part.

If everything is set up properly, you should see it copying the file over. It might take a while - tftp is not quick. Now you need to boot a kernel, this will differ based on your system, check hinv for the right one.


It should load IRIX and then complain that your disk isn’t formatted. Go ahead and format it, pick 4096 byte blocks for a larger disk.

After that it will invoke the installation. We’re not done yet! You need to get the install media onto your local disk. Luckily, we already extracted ftp. (If you didn’t you can use tftp, it’s just really slow.) Go to the admin menu and select the sh option. Your actual disk root will be at /root.

First configure ec0, then tftp to your host and download ftp.

# ifconfig ec0
# tftp
tftp> get ftp
tftp> quit
# chmod 755 ftp

That’s more like it, now we have a real ftp client. FTP back to your host and download the install media onto /root somewhere, e.g. /root/IRIX. Now you can refer to those paths in the installer.