Preparations and General Procedure for Installation
There are many different Alpha systems, each requiring different installation methods. Because different Linux kernels are compiled to meet these variations in CPU and system designs, you should identify your Alpha hardware in case the generic kernel doesn’t work properly. In the Linux kernel the different Alpha systems are mostly known by their engineering code name. Provided you know the official system name you can usually find the codename. On such resource for looking up these names is the system type table available at http://www.linuxalpha.org/docs/systypes.txt.
Before you install an operating system, you must know the machine’s graphics options and audio components, system memory, CPU class, disk-drive interfaces and sizes, existing operating systems/filesystems (if any), and attached peripherals, especially any CD-ROM drive and floppy drives. Some Alpha systems require firmware configuration changes and even actual hardware changes to complete a Linux installation.
Potential Incompatibilities and Hardware Problems
Which Linux distribution you choose to install may depend on the hardware you have and any other operating systems that you run on it. After you gather your hardware information, you can determine which distribution best suits your needs. You can always build any source packages from other installations once you have a bootable system. Here are a few examples of hardware factors that dictate your choice of distribution ...