2.4 Preparing an Installation on IBM iSeries Models

An iSeries system must be prepared on the i5/OS side before installing SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server. This section describes the installation with a built-in CD ROM drive.

HINT: The steps in this section are especially written for installation on iSeries systems running IBM i5/OS V5R3. They can also be performed on IBM i5/OS V5R4 and V5R2. Additional options only available to i5/OS V5R2 are described in Linux in a guest partition available at http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/iseries/v5r4/index.jsp?topic=/rzalm/rzalmlinuxkickoff.htm.

The support portal often features articles about common problems. Access this portal at http://www.novell.com/suselinuxportal.

This chapter was compiled in close cooperation with Christopher Abbey, James Srebbing, Jay S. Bryant, and Brent Baude.

2.4.1 Resources

Introductory Resources

2.4.2 Necessary Steps Concerning i5/OS

The following section assists in the configuration of an iSeries system when installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Detailed reference information about how to create partitions for Linux is contained in the following documents:

The Redbook Linux on iSeries (SG24-6232-00) provides detailed information (http://publib-b.boulder.ibm.com/Redbooks.nsf/RedbookAbstracts/sg246232.html).

The configuration of a system on the i5/OS side requires an i5/OS system access with *SERVICE permissions and authority to access SST. A DST password for creation of a console user is also required. A 5250 terminal or a 5250 emulation package is required to be able to connect to i5/OS (like TN5250 on Linux or PCS or Client Access on Windows).

Partitioning the System

Create a new system partition for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server first. Use the main option number 5 Work with System Partitions, suboption 5 Create a new Partition in STRSST. Use the main option 3 Work with Partition Configuration, suboption 2 Change Partition Processing Resources if the partition already exists.

Figure 2-6 Creating a New Partition

Figure 2-7 Changing Partition Processing Resources

Try to plan your minimum and maximum values for the processor (Minimum / maximum number of processors) and main storage (Minimum / maximum size of main storage) accurately because changing these values requires a primary partition IPL.

Figure 2-8 Changing Partition Processing Resources

Confirm the changes with Enter to start the process for creating a new partition.

An IPL is required after creating a new partition.

Configurating the Virtual Ethernet (System Tools)

Use System Service Tools (STRSST) to configure the Virtual Ethernet. Select F5 (Work with system partitions), F3 (Work with partition configuration), then F10 to change the virtual LAN configuration. Pressing F9 shows all partitions, even the ones not yet linked.

Figure 2-9 Working with the Virtual LAN Configuration

Figure 2-10 Changing the Virtual LAN Configuration

Partitioning Tips—Processors, Memory, NWSDs, and LPARs

  • Run STRSST (Start System Service Tools) and select 5 (Work with system partitions), then 3 (Work with partition configuration), and assign the host partition for the guest by entering 13 in the field next to the partition name.

  • Declare a memory range for configuration in the LPAR (Logical Partition). This is the minimum and maximum amount of memory assigned to this LPAR without a primary IPL (Initial Program Load). The settings for the maximum amount should also reserve space for the Hardware Page Table (HPT). However, having too large of a maximum memory would cause a larger hardware page table to be allocated from the partition's memory, reducing the amount Linux can use.

    To calculate the memory available to an LPAR, use this formula:

    ("Configured Memory" minus "Maximum Memory of the LPAR Configuration") divided by 64

    The result is rounded up to a multiple of 2.

    Example: The maximum size should be 248 MB. Assuming 1/64 of this value to be taken up by the HPT, the result of 3.875 MB is rounded up to the value of 4 MB.

  • Minimum memory requirements must be met. For a text-based installation, assign the LPAR at least 256 MB. An installation with VNC requires at least 448 MB.

Assigning Network Storage Space

Next, assign SUSE Linux Enterprise Server some storage space. Do this with the utility CRTNWSSTG.

Figure 2-11 Creating NWS Storage Space (CRTNWSSTG)

Creating the Network Server Description

The Network Server Description combines the individual configuration settings to one object.

Figure 2-12 Creating a Network Server Description (CRTNWSD)

Change the following settings:

  • NWSD name

  • Network server type = *GUEST

  • Partition = enter the partition name here

  • Code page = 437

  • IPL source = *STMF

  • IPL stream file = '/QOPT/SLES100.001/SUSEBOOT/inst64'. SU90.001 is the disk label of the boot CD. To find out the disk label, insert the CD and enter DSPLNK QOPT at a command prompt. For Service Pack 2, for example, the parameter is /QOPT/SLES100SP2.001/SUSEBOOT/inst64.

    The statements made in Section 2.4.4, Creating a Network Installation Source are valid for network-based installations.

  • IPL parameters = 'vnc=1 vncpassword=suseinst'

  • Text description = SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

  • Online at IPL = *YES

Figure 2-13 Creating a Network Server Description (CRTNWSD)

It is possible to pass additional IPL parameters for VNC. Refer to Section 4.4, Booting the Target System for Installation, (↑ Installation and Administration ).

The IPL stream file can be queried from the i5/OS command line with the command DSPLNK('QOPT').

Linking the Network Storage Space with the Network Server Description (WRKNWSSTG)

The newly created storage space needs to be linked with the Server Description. First select the storage space from the list.

Figure 2-14 Work with Network Server Storage Spaces

The link to the Network Server Description is then established.

Figure 2-15 Adding the Network Server Storage Link (ADDNWSSTGL)

Additional Steps

The instructions in Section 2.4.3, Client for the Operation of the Installation Software explain how to configure a virtual console for operating the installation software.

2.4.3 Client for the Operation of the Installation Software

This section describes the configuration of telnet access to the virtual console.

Supported Terminals

Table 2-1 Supported Terminal Emulators

Operating System




Linux console

Fully supported


Standard Xterm

Fully supported


GNOME terminal

Fully supported


KDE terminal

Fully supported



Fully supported



Fully supported


Telnet client in Windows 98

Not supported


Telnet client in Windows 2000

Not supported


Telnet client in Windows XP

Not supported


aix xterm

Not supported

IMPORTANT: Using a fully supported terminal emulator makes all features of the installation software accessible, including key combinations and colors.

When installing from a Windows machine, the freely available telnet client PuTTY should be used in all cases. The configuration and operation of PuTTY is described as part of the documentation coming with the PuTTY (see /dosutils/putty on the installation medium or http://the.earth.li/~sgtatham/putty/0.58/htmldoc/). The telnet client shipped with Windows 98 is not supported. The telnet clients shipped with Windows 2000 and Windows XP can be used, but offers only a restricted usage of the installation software.

aixterm generally does not cooperate too well with Linux. A workaround solution is to start an xterm on AIX and set the terminal manually with TERM=vt100. Because this is not possible during installation, a different platform should be used.

When operating the Linux terminal multiplexer screen, it is recommended to adjust the setting for background-color-erase because the background would otherwise be displayed black instead of reflecting the color indicated by the installation software. To achieve this, insert the following entry in the file ~/.screenrc:

defbce on

To change this setting for just one single window, use Ctrl+A :, enter bce, and press Enter.

Recognizing the Virtual Console Terminal

When accessing the virtual iSeries console with telnet, Linux probes the telnet client to attain the best operability. The following settings are especially important:

  • Is more than one connection active? (If yes, a warning is issued)

  • What type of terminal is connecting?

  • Is it a Windows-based terminal?

  • What is the screen size?

This probe is performed during the start-up phase of the installation software as well as during logins to the installed system.

The i5/OS telnet server offers the possibility to maintain several concurrent connections to a Linux console.

IMPORTANT: The probe fails if more than one session is connected, resulting in erroneous assumptions regarding terminal settings. Multiple concurrent connections should therefore be avoided.

Forcing a Terminal Initialization

The terminal detection and initialization can also be forced manually on an installed system with the command initviocons. If you change the terminal size during a session, do not forget to initialize the terminal again with the command initviocons.

Troubleshooting Terminal Problems

  • Ctrl+L redraws the screen. This is useful if it looks odd or broken.

  • linuxrc displays broken line art. This is a known problem that is not related to the terminal application.

  • A terminal connected when an installation aborted (for example, by a sudden shutdown of the LPAR) may be badly configured upon reconnection. A fresh application window should be opened in this case.

  • If the Backspace key in the KDE program Konsole does not work, change the settings for the Keyboard in the Settings menu to xterm or linux console.

  • The Backspace key might not work properly in VT100 fallback mode. This depends on the settings of the telnet client. If Backspace does not work, try using one of the following combinations:

    • Ctrl +H

    • Ctrl +?

    • Ctrl +Backspace

    • Delete+?

    • Ctrl+D+?

2.4.4 Creating a Network Installation Source

Create a network installation source if SUSE Linux Enterprise Server should be installed over a number of partitions. This eliminates the need to change CDs during installation. The same source can also be used for concurrent installation of various systems. The configuration of the network installation source is described in Section 4.2.1, Setting Up an Installation Server Using YaST, (↑ Installation and Administration ).

Copy the file ISERIES64 from the installation source to the i5/OS IFS using FTP:

ftp iseries
ftp> cd /kernels
ftp> bin
ftp> put ISERIES64
ftp> bye

The installation can then be started as described before. Do not forget to change the IPL Source before doing this:

IPL source . . . . . . . . . . . *STMF__ *SAME, *NWSSTG, *PANEL...
IPL stream file . . . . . . . . '/kernels/ISERIES64'_______
IPL parameters . . . . . . . . . 'vnc=1 vncpassword=suseinst'__

It is additionally possible to pass parameters for VNC. Refer to the Installation and Administration manual for information.

Additional Steps

Start (IPL) the kernel as described in Section 2.4.5, IPL: Starting the NWSD (WRKCFGSTS *NWS).

2.4.5 IPL: Starting the NWSD (WRKCFGSTS *NWS)

Establish a connection to the virtual console with PuTTY or to telnetd port 2301 with one of the supported terminals. Start the installation kernel (IPL) by activating Option 1 in the target NWSD. Watch the kernel messages on the virtual console carefully.

Figure 2-16 Working with the Configuration Status

Watch the virtual console. linuxrc appears in the case of a network or VNC installation and requests the user to make a few choices.

The IPL of the file ISERIES64 starts linuxrc in the case of a network installation. The following steps are then necessary:

  1. Select the desired language in linuxrc.

  2. Select the Kernel Modules (Hardware Drivers) to load.

  3. Select Load ppc_iseries modules and load the appropriate network module.

  4. Select Back then Start Installation or System.

  5. Select the installation source. Three options are available:


    This offers to install from an internal CD-ROM drive. Before the system accesses the CD-ROM, enter the network parameters for the installation over VNC.


    Allows the installation from an NFS share. The necessary network parameters are requested along with the hostname or IP address of the NFS server. Also enter the path to the NFS share.

    Hard Disk

    Use this when the installation files are available on another hard disk. Enter the device name including the partition and the path to the installation files (for example, /dev/sdb1 and /suse). Before the system accesses the hard disk, the network parameters for the installation over VNC are requested for input.

You are then directed to start the VNC client. See Example 2-1.

Example 2-1 The Installation over VNC Can Begin

starting VNC server...
a log can be found in /tmp/vncserver.log ...
*** *** You can connect to, display :1 now ***
(When YaST2 is finished, close your VNC viewer and return to this

Start the VNC client with the displayed parameters ( in this example) and enter the VNC password (suseinst in this example). The graphical interface of VNC appears and YaST starts a few seconds later.

Additional Steps

Proceed with Section 3.0, Installation with YaST, (↑ Installation and Administration ) to start the installation of the software.