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Running Linux, Fourth Edition by Lar Kaufman, Terry Dawson, Matthias Kalle Dalheimer, Matt Welsh

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Appendix B. Installing Linux on Digital/Compaq Alpha Systems

In 1992, Digital Equipment Corporation (later purchased by Compaq) introduced a 64-bit, superscaler, RISC-based architecture called the Alpha that won impressive reviews in the industry for speed. Linux is an attractive alternative to the traditional operating systems shipped with the Alpha, especially for the older Alpha hardware now being sold into the marketplace. But installation varies from system to system because the Alpha evolved rapidly and has been shipped over the years with a wide variety of hardware and firmware (startup programs stored in ROM). This appendix is an introduction to the main issues and tasks in installing Linux, but you will also need to read the documents for Linux installation and your hardware carefully, and show a somewhat adventurous willingness to experiment.

A discussion of Alpha systems would have to cover years of hardware evolution from the older style UDB system to the current DS and ES series systems, as well as standard OEM configurations. Because there are so many different BIOS configurations and boot options, it’s impossible to give detailed installation instructions for every type of Alpha system. We hope this discussion will be a guide to help users who are new to the Alpha architecture understand what to do when installing a new system.

Tip

This discussion does not cover VAX, MIPS, AMD, or Intel CPU-based systems or hardware that share peripheral and packaging technologies ...

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