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The EFIKA is an embedded PowerPC board with a 400MHz 32-bit freescale MPC5200 (603e/e300), 128MB RAM, 100MBit/s NIC, 2xUSB 1.1, Soundchip, 2.5" harddisk connector, PCI and AGP (with riser-card) and serial out.

Pylon received a board for development work on it. I will leave it in the C4, so that we can attach additional hardware on it.

Ideas for development tasks

  1. mpd-server as in-replacement for the already existing one
  2. connection to the Fnordlicht (built at C4's U23 2005)
  3. using JACK for disco-lights



Currently I don't have any harddisk available, so this could not be tested. But it would be nice to create a complete stand-alone machine out of it.


It's also possible to boot via USB. But it's only USB 1.1, so very slow.


I will use Gentoo/Linux on that machine. Yes, it might be slow, but it can be changed to your needs. Also it's possible to build on another PowerPC or with cross-dev.




  1. Download a stage3-tar-ball and unpack it to e.g. <tt>/nfsroot</tt>.
  2. Change <tt>/nfsroot//etc/fstab</tt>, so that the root-filesystem will be mounted via NFS: <code> / nfs noatime 0 1</code>
  3. Change <tt>/nfsroot/etc/securetty</tt> and add a line for logging in later via serial-line: <code> echo ttyPSC0 >> /nfsroot/etc/securetty</code>
  4. Also add that serial-line to <tt>/nfsroot/etc/inittab</tt>: <code>echo "s0:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 115200 ttyPSC0 vt100" >> /nfsroot/etc/inittab</code> (you can use linux instead of vt100 for a coloured term, but then you should have a good serial communicotian program)
  5. Add a password-hash for the root-password into <tt>/nfsroot/etc/shadow</tt>. I used htpasswd2 from apache for it. Call it with <code>htpasswd -nb root secret</code>. This will create the hash for the root-user with the password secret. Replace the <code>*</code> after <code>root:</code> in the shadow-file with that hash.
  6. Give your system a hostname in <tt>/nfsroot/etc/hostname</tt> and add that hostname after the localhost-entry in <tt>/nfsroot/etc/hosts</tt>
  7. Unfortunately mounting another nfs-share for the portage-tree later will not work, as nfs-utils are not installed yet (I'm working on a special nfsroot-efika-stage4). Bind-mounting a portage-tree on a Gentoo-system will not work either (nfs just ignores that). So we have to download and unpack a current portage-snapshot into <tt>/nfsroot/usr/portage</tt>. Alternatively you can rsync your local portage-tree into <tt>/nfsroot</tt>: <code>rsync --archive --progress --exclude=packages/ --exclude=distfiles/ /usr/portage/ /nfsroot/usr/portage/</code>.
  8. Finally unpack the precompiled modules into <tt>/nfsroot</tt> (<code>tar xvzf modules_efika.tgz -C /nfsroot/</code>.

The nfsroot is now prepared for a first and simple boot. Let us now set up the dhcp-/tftp-/nfs-server-voodoo.


I use dnsmasq for the dhcp-server, as it provides the possibilty to add tftp-dhcp-boot-options. Basically you only need to set two lines in your <tt>dnsmasq.conf</tt>: <pre> dhcp-range=,,5m dhcp-host=00:0b:2f:e7:e7:20, </pre>

<code><MAC-address>,<IP-address></code> (the MAC-address is printed on the sticker above the Ethernet-port)

Probably you might also want to set some more settings for the interface on the server, routing etc. After that start the daemon.


This time I use atftp as TFTP-Server. This server expects <tt>/tftproot</tt> as the path for tftp-files. But it's possible to change it in the config.

Now place the kernel into <tt>/tftproot</tt> and start the daemon.


Add <code>/nfsroot,sync,no_root_squash)</code> to your <tt>/etc/exports</tt> and start the daemon. Make sure, that a firewall is not blocking nfs-requests. Also make sure, that <tt>/etc/hosts.{allow,deny}</tt> are set properly.

Serial console

Attach a null modem serial cable between the EFIKA and a PC with serial port. I use <tt>screen</tt> as serial terminal program: <code>screen -m -c /dev/null /dev/ttyS0 115200 8n1</code>.


Now, let's boot! Switch on the EFIKA. You should see some lines with RAM-checking etc. After that you see a prompt: <pre> ok # </pre>

On that prompt type in <code>boot eth kernel_efika linux console=ttyPSC0 ip=dhcp panic=10 root=/dev/nfs nfsroot=</code>.

The EFIKA should download the kernel, boot up and will provide a login-prompt. Log in with your root-password you set previously. Welcome to your EFIKA!


  • Check your serial and network cable
  • Check your daemon-log-files
  • Check your firewall if it allows DHCP, TFTP and NFS
  • Check the permissions of <tt>/tftproot</tt> and <tt>/nfsroot</tt>