Debian Linux and SunFire T2000

Well… with a Friday afternoon to spare, I have taken the plunge and decided to nut out all the implications for installing Linux on a SunFire T2000.

Google searching doesn’t yield a lot of useful instructions – the most interesting comment I found was that people had google’d for installing Linux on a SunFire T2000 and found no links! Here’s hoping this article will be useful to someone else.

Ok… first things first…

The single biggest issue with getting this to happen turned out to be the firmware.

The latest firmware at the time of writing for the SunFire T2000 can be found with the following patch ID on SunSolve: 123482-03.

Once you have downloaded the zip file, publish the appropriate .bin file (Sun_System_Firmware-6_6_7-Sun_Fire_T2000.bin) on an FTP server that the SC can access and then log into the SC:

flashupgrade -s -f /Sun_System_Firmware-6_6_7-Sun_Fire_T2000.bin

Lots of fullstops will appear across the screen and then eventually you will be prompted to reset the SC:


You will be logged out of the SC when you run resetsc… wait a minute or so and then you should be able to log back into the SC.

Once you have done that, you are ready to install.

Get yourself the latest Debian Sparc installer ISO from here.

I played around with a couple of different ISOs trying to get one to boot, but that’s when I realised that it was a firmware issue and not an ISO problem.

It doesn’t matter which one you use in hindsight, but please see the notes below about network interfaces if you choose to do a network installation.

Log back into the SC, power on the T2000 and then wait the appropriate amount of time for a power-on self test to complete. Once the test has completed, drop back to the SC prompt and send a break to the machine.

At the {ok} prompt, type:

setenv boot-device cdrom disk

This will ensure the machine boots from the CD if a disk is in the drive.

Reset the machine and boot from the CD:


Once this happens, you are on your way to installing Debian. Pretty much, you just need to follow the prompts.


Some observations I encountered along the way:

  • NET0 is not eth0 – NET2 is eth0.
  • I left a 1MB (in fact 5MB) “do not use” partition at the start of the two boot disks to protect the partition table, but didn’t on the other two drives so I am not sure if this is required. Feel free to comment!
  • Make sure you install openssh-server when you are building – the console doesn’t seem to work too well after the initial reboot and I had to boot back off the CD in Rescue mode and install openssh-server to be able to log in.

That’s about it… please feel free to email me or post a comment with corrections, comments or further advice.





4 responses to “Debian Linux and SunFire T2000”

  1. Sajid Ahmed

    Hi AndrewP,

    Can the above procedure be repeated for installing RedHat 5.0 linux version on Solaris Netra T2000 ,

    Please suggest,

    Thanks in advance,


  2. Can’t say I have tried.

    I no longer have access to a T2000 to test, and there is no longer any support in RHEL for the SPARC architecture.

  3. Pek Chek Kia

    1. Edit /etc/inittab
    2. Uncomment line T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyS0 9600 vt100
    3. Reboot system
    4. You should able to access system console via serial management port

  4. ciny

    hey man, thanks it was very helpful. The only “problem” I encountered is the setenv command – there shouldn’t be the “equals” sign between boot-device and the list of devices.