"short disk read" error during boot on Sparc SunFire v215

Marius Strobl marius at alchemy.franken.de
Thu Sep 8 21:42:30 UTC 2011

On Thu, Sep 08, 2011 at 09:15:02AM +0300, Leong, Jason (NSN - MY/Kuala Lumpur) wrote:
> Hi FreeBSD,
> I've been trying to get FreeBSD installed into a SunFire v215 server but
> am stumped with this problem!
> {1} ok boot cdrom
> Boot device: /pci at 1e,600000/pci at 0/pci at 1/pci at 0/ide at 1f/cdrom0,0:f
> Short disk read
> The file just loaded does not appear to be executable.
> I've burned a bunch of CDs thus far, the
> FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-sparc64-dvd1.iso,
> FreeBSD-8.2-RELEASE-sparc64-bootonly.iso,
> FreeBSD-8.1-RELEASE-sparc64-disc1.iso,
> FreeBSD-7.4-RELEASE-sparc64-disc1.iso and none of them was able to boot
> the system.
> Even tried the openbsd and netbsd's iso to no avail!
> Even ended up flipping CD-drives between another working Sparc v215
> system. Didn't work too.
> I've tried playing around with the boot devalias, tweaking the
> "cdrom0,0:f" to "cdrom6,0:f" and other sequences. Didn't help.
> Last resort, I "dd" the image into a secondary hard-disk and booted out
> of that but came out with the same error message! 

I'm not sure whether booting a ISO9660 image from a hard disk is supported
by OBP at all.

> Would you kind folks have an idea and a solution to this problem? Thanks
> in advance for your help!

Given that the problem even isn't limited to the FreeBSD install media
I'd highly suspect a hardware problem. If it isn't the drive it still
could be defective cabling or the IDE controller. On thing one has to
keep in mind with SPARC hardware is that at least for some models Sun
altered the generally IDE drives in some subtle ways so that off-the-
shelf drives from the PC world don't work with these. This is at least
the case for V210 (I can't remember the exact failure mode though).
One thing that might help is updating the OBP to the latest version in
case a previous one had some bug regarding booting from CD/DVD.
In general an alternative to installing from CD/DVD is to netboot the
machine and to install from that environment.


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