How to install Linux to a SIM710 controller on a Compaq Server

First of all you need to get a patched kernel.

The Short Instructions:

The patched kernel can be found at JeePeePee's site at:

Once you get the patched kernel downloaded, copy it to the RedHat installation boot diskette (images directory on the RedHat 6.1 CD). Use a boot string to start the install such as the following:

linux sim710=addr:0x8000,irq:15

if you also have a smart2 driver

linux smart2=0x1000 sim710=addr:0x8000,irq:15

Verify resourse settings in SCU (System Configuration Utility)

The address for the Eisa Smart2 controller is the actual EISA slot number that the controller is installed.

If you wish to build your own kernel, then go to

Grab the kernel patch from sleepie demon, patch your kernel source, enable the sim710 driver in the SCSI section, use parameters when you start the driver to specify the resources of the chipset.

The last update so far to the sleepie demon site was August 29, 1999. Until this site is updated, the line you are looking for reads as follows:

sim710-990829.diff.gz - A kernel diff relative to a 2.2.10 kernel source tree. Includes disconnect/reselect changes.

If you give correct addresses and IRQ's for the controllers, then Linux should find the Sim710 and the Smart2/E or original EISA Compaq Smart Array Controller just fine.

Continue the install as normal.

Before rebooting at the end of the install of RedHat, be sure to copy in the patched kernel to /boot, update /etc/lilo.conf to point to the kernel, run /sbin/lilo to lay down a fresh copy of LILO.

For more information, check out the other documentation at

Before the install / Preparing the Server:

Before installing to any array controllers, you will need to make sure that they are configured. The original EISA Smart Array Controller is configured through the SCU (System Configuration Utility). All of the other Compaq Array Controllers (Smart-2's and up) are configured through the ACU (Array Configuration Utility) which is available on recent version of the SmartStart CD, or can be installed and ran from Windows NT or Novell.

Below is an overview of installation of RedHat on a ProSignia or ProLiant server with the Sim710 chipset and the original EISA Smart Array Controller.

Start with System Erase: System Erase will destroy all partitions on the hard drive and erase NVRAM. Do not proceed with this step until you have backed up all important data. This step is data destructive. System Erase is available from the main menu of the SmartStart CD or you can build the System Erase from Disk Builder which is available on the SmartStart CD.

Configure the Server: Boot to the SmartStart CD and choose to do a SmartStart Manual Installation of UnixWare 7. The first step that the SS CD will do is to run SCU. If you don't have the SS CD, then create the 4 SCU (System Configuration Utility) diskettes which are available from the Compaq web site ( or you can create them from the SmartStart CD. Boot to the SCU diskettes.

Gather information needed from SCU concerning IO address and IRQ of Sim710 (NCR53c710 integrated/embedded SCSI) and the slot number of the EISA Smart controller.

Configure the Array: If you have the original EISA Smart Array Controller, then configure the array through SCU. If you have the Smart2 or later array controllers, then configure that through ACU (Array Controller Configuration Utility). ACU is available by booting to the SmartStart CD, either from the main menu or through the SS Manual Installation. Another location you can run ACU from is from within NT or Novell.

Create the System Partition: Once you have configured the array, then create the Compaq System Partition. If running the SS Manual Install of UnixWare 7, then this step will be automatically performed. If you are not in the SS Manual Install, then you can run SCU from the SmartStart CD or from the set of 4 SCU diskettes. Select to Install the System Partition, choose to install the SCU and Diagnostics. Once the partition is created the system will reboot.

Copy the SCU and Diags to the System Partition: Once the system partition is created and the system reboots it is time to copy SCU and Diags to the System Partition. I don't recommend installing the other choices as their functionality has been depricated. If you are in the SS Manual Install, then these files will be automatically copied for you. If running from the SmartStart CD, and you chose to install or upgrade the System Partition, these files will now be copied. If running from diskettes, you may need to choose to install the SCU and Diags to the System Partition.

Once you have configured the system, configured the array if you have one, and created the system partition, then you are ready to install Linux.

Necessary Preparations before Beginning the Linux Installation:

Before beginning the install, you will need to make some preparations.

Gather IO address and IRQ of the Sim710 (NCR53c710) controller from SCU.

Gather the slot number that the EISA Compaq Array Controller is installed.

Build the RedHat Installation Boot Diskette.

Download the patched kernel from JeePeePee's site. When copying the file to one of the boot diskettes, be sure to rename the downloaded kernel to vmlinuz and replace the one on the floppy.

If doing CD-ROM install, then build the boot.img diskette (RedHat's Installation Boot Diskette), copy JeePeePee's kernel to that diskette, and copy JeePeePee's kernel to an ext2 formatted floppy.

If doing an FTP install, then create the bootnet.img diskette (RedHat's Network Installation Boot Diskette), copy the kernel to that diskette, and copy the kernel to the ftp site. It is doubtful that the integrated NIC will work unless it is a NetFlex 3 (tlan driver) or is the Compaq NIC using the Intel EtherExpress Pro 100b chipset (eepro100 driver). If the NIC is a NetFlex 2, I don't know of a driver. I would install a supported NIC such as an NE2000 or 3COM. If you have trouble picking up your network card, make sure you are using a standard IO port for the card (such as 0x300, 0x320, etc).

Beginning the RedHat Installation:

Boot to the Installation Diskette with the patched kernel.

At the boot prompt key in the boot string.

linux smart2=0x1000 sim710=addr:0x8000,irq:15

The Linux installation should boot up and all of the adapters found.

Be sure not to have too long of a line as your boot string as the whole string may not be seen. If you are going to specify the amount of memory, then place that last on the boot string. If the install hangs and the last thing you see is memory, then the boot string is probably too long, leave off the memory parameter until Linux is installed. On my system, I shortened the kernel name to boot from "linux" to "l", then I was able to fit all 3 items (memory, sim710, smart2). If you are going to specify memory, then do so in Megabytes, the parameter is mem=64M.

Continue the installation as normal, for more help or information on how to handle the System Partition, check out my "linux.doc" document.

Compaq System Partition - what to do:

I currently know of 3 choices. Here they are in no particular order. I prefer the method of creating a /boot as a primary partition and installing LILO there.

  • Install LILO into the MBR. This stops you from being able to use the F10 key on boot up to start the F10 partition. Add an entry into /etc/lilo.conf to start the F10 partition from LILO.
  • Create /boot as a primary partition, mark it active, install LILO to this partition. Create an extended partition, create all other partitions inside the extended as logical partitions. This calls for using fdisk during installation, you may need to use expert mode of installation to be able to bring up fdisk (add expert to the boot string when starting the install). When doing expert mode and it asks for a drivers disk and says to hit ok or cancel, be sure to press "cancel".
  • An unorthodox method of installing LILO is to have the system partition, use disk druid to create the rest of the partitions. These partitions are created in the extended partition because disk druid only wants one primary partition (in this case that is the Compaq System Parititon). Once the install finishes and before you reboot, go to the bash screen, do a chroot to the mount point of your file systems, edit /etc/lilo.conf so that the boot line doesn't point to one of the logical partitions (5 and up), make it point to the actual extended partition itself (1-4). Also use fdisk to mark this partition (the extended partition) active. I have only tested this in a limited fashion, and I am unaware of any side affects of doing this.

Bring in the patched kernel:

Once Linux is installed, and before you reboot, you need to take care of bringing in the patched kernel. If still at the end of the Linux installation, just before it reboots the system, then go to the bash screen (you already have your device nodes and file systems mounted because of the steps of the installation program.). If you have rebooted already, then use your patched boot disk to find all of the hardware and go to your bash screen - before you continue on this method, you will need to do the extra work of creating the device nodes for your array controller, see the recovery document from my site to see how to create device nodes for your array controller - after you create your device nodes, you will need to mount your partitions, create a blank directory, mount root to it, mount boot below root. Now that you have mounted your file system, chroot to that mount point, copy in the patched kernel from either the ext2 floppy or from the ftp site. Edit /etc/lilo.conf so that it correctly points to the kernel you copied in. Run /sbin/lilo to lay down an updated copy of LILO. After you finish here, you will need to unmount everything that you specifically mounted while in chroot, "exit" from chroot, unmount everything that you specifically mounted before doing the chroot.

Now you are done, reboot, pull all CD's and Floppies.

Certain versions of Mandrake had a broken /sbin/lilo, so just be aware if you have problems with /sbin/lilo. I have this documented in the "linux.doc" file under one of the troubleshooting steps.


02-10-2000 Document created as "sim710" and released on Created by Richard Black.