Thomas Marteau


Deb Richardson

The Puffin Group

Thibaut Varčne

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 as published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license can be found at

No liability for the contents of this document can be accepted. Use the concepts, examples and information at your own risk. There may be errors and inaccuracies, that could be damaging to your system. Proceed with caution, and although it is highly unlikely that accidents will happen because of following advice or procedures described in this document, the author(s) do not take any responsibility for any damage claimed to be caused by doing so.

All copyrights are held by their by their respective owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark. Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.


Revision History
Revision 1.52006-06-06tv
XML cleanup, improved and reorganized contents. Updated to palo 1.5+ and kernel 2.6.
Revision 1.12003-11-01tm
Added Jeremy Drake's Windows™ server boot howto.
Revision 1.02002-10-04tm & tv
Content done by Thibaut. Ready for Woody release. Added Glossary and bibliography. XML conversion.
Revision 0.92002-01-15tm
This version brings you some useful advices for compiling your own kernel on hppa systems.
Revision 0.82001-10-17tm
This version takes care of the change of name of the official FTP and CVS sites and modify the license.
Revision 0.72001-10-13tm
This version adds some updates due to the progress of PA/Linux.
Revision 0.6 draft2001-09-26tm
This version contains some minor changes and complete the "obtaining bootp/tftpd" section.
Revision 0.5 draft2001-07-03tm
This version is a large update from Deb's work.
Revision 0.3 draft1999-11-24dlr
The initial and published version of this HOWTO.


This document outlines the procedures to get the PA-RISC/Linux kernel to boot on your PA-RISC system. It also explains the usage of PALO, the kernel loader for PA/Linux. You will find much information on how to compile a kernel from the source available at Please note that this HOWTO version is newer than Deb Richardson's and includes more accurate information because of the progress of the port. Nevertheless, it's worth mentioning that this document kept parts of Deb's original work and unveiled some remarkable information.

If you are looking for information related to HP hardware but not directly to PA-RISC, please read Bruno Cornec's HP-HOWTO.

Note: by the time this HOWTO was started, Debian was the only Linux distribution available for the PA-RISC platform, hence the "Debian color" of this document. Some times, Debian specific commands will have to be replaced by their equivalent, if any.

Table of Contents

1. Supported Hardware
2. Preparing to boot
1.1. Entering the BOOT_ADMIN interface
1.2. BOOT_ADMIN commands
2. Consoles
2.1. Using graphic console
2.2. Using serial console
2.3. Switching consoles
3. PALO, the PA/Linux kernel loader
1. What is PALO?
2. What does PALO?
3. PALO management tool usage
3.1. Making a lifimage with RAMDISK
3.2. Making a lifimage with NFSROOT
3.3. Making a bootable partition
4. How to use PALO at early boot stage?
4.1. The theory
4.2. A complete example
4. Available boot solutions
1. Booting from CD
2. Booting from hard drive
3. Booting from network
3.1. Preparing to boot from network
3.2. rboot or bootp?
3.3. Using rboot
3.4. Using dhcp/tftp
3.5. Using bootp/tftp
3.6. Effectively booting from network
5. Building and installing a custom kernel
1. GCC compiler
1.1. Native build
1.2. Cross compiled build
2. Kernel configuration
2.1. Configuring 2.4 kernels
2.2. Configuring 2.6 kernels
3. Kernel installation
A. Windows™ 2003 boot server howto
1. Setup the DHCP service
2. Get & setup the TFTP server
3. Attempt to netboot
B. Older PALO dumps
1. A500 Session dump using PALO 0.97
C. HOWTO contributors