S390 documentation in the Gentoo Wiki

Hi all,

One of the projects I had last year that I ended up suspending due to lack of time was S390 documentation and installation materials. For some reason there wasn’t any materials available to install Gentoo on a S390 system without having to rely in an already installed distribution.

Thanks to Marist College, IBM and Linux Foundation we were able to get two VMs for building the release materials, and thanks to Dave Jones @ V/Soft Software I was able to document the installation in a z/VM environment. Also thanks to the Debian project, since I based the materials in their procedure.

So most of the part of last year and the last few weeks I’ve been polishing and finishing the documentation I had around. So what I’ve documented: Gentoo S390 on the Hercules emulator and Gentoo S390 on z/VM. Both are based in the same pattern, since

Gentoo S390 on the Hercules emulator

This is probably the guide that will be more interesting because everyone can run the Hercules emulator, while not everyone has access to a z/VM instance. Hercules emulates an S390 system, it’s like QEMU. However QEMU, from what I can tell, is unable to emulate an S390 system in a non-S390 system, while Hercules does.

So if you want to have some fun and emulate a S390 machine in your computer, and install and use Gentoo in it, then follow the guide: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/S390/Hercules

Gentoo S390 on z/VM

For those that have access to z/VM and want to install Gentoo, the guide explains all the steps needed to get a Gentoo System working. Thanks to Dave Jones I was able to create the guide and test the release materials, he even did a presentation in the 2013 VM Workshop! Link to the PDF . Keep in mind that some of the instructions given there are now outdated, mainly the links.

The link to the documentation is: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/S390/Install

I have also written some tips and tricks for z/VM: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/S390/z/VM_tips_and_tricks They’re really basic and were the ones I needed for creating the guide.

Installation materials

Lastly, we already had the autobuilds stage3 for s390, but we lacked the boot environment for installing Gentoo. This boot environment/release material is simply a kernel and a initramfs built with Gentoo’s genkernel based in busybox. It builds an environment using busybox like the livecd in amd64/x86 or other architectures. I’ve integrated the build of these boot environment with the autobuilds, so each week there should be an updated installation environment.

Have fun!

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4 Responses to “S390 documentation in the Gentoo Wiki”

  1. Giuseppe Vitillaro Says:

    Just testing your wonderful job under an optimized hercules 3.11: it works like a charm and perfomaces, on four I7 cores, are better than I expected, around 500MIPS.

    But I’m curious to see gentoo bootstrapping in a Z/VM 5.3 eval version virtual machine, again running under hercules.

    Unfortunately the standard s390x gentoo kernel doesn’t boot: CP immediately stop with a rather disappointing

    HCPGIR450W CP entered; disabled wait PSW 00020001 80000000 00000000 0011507E

    while an old 2.6.x CentOS4 kernel boot without any problem in the same virtual machine.

    I verified the netboot distributed gentoo kernel is compiled for the Z990 MARCH and I suspect the Z/VM 5.3 eval only support the Z10 MARCH.

    Any clue about this, if I may ask?

    If I’m right, recompiling a gentoo kernel for the correct MARCH=Z10 and regenerating the initrd with genkernel, may lead to a bootstrapping configuration under Z/VM 5.3 eval?

    Thank you so much for your efforts, keep gentoo s390 going, Regards, G. Vitillaro.

  2. Giuseppe Vitillaro Says:

    I was completely wrong. The problem actually, was the emulator.

    It looks like hercules 3.x doesn’t correctly emulate some instructions the linux kernel needs, when running under Z/VM.

    But … hyperion … the new hercules 4.0 branch do.

    It may be useful for others, so I like to post my 2cents about a wonderful s390x gentoo correctly running natively under hyperion and virtualizazed under Z/VM 5.3, IBM evaluation version, again running under hyperion.

    Perfomances are not that bad on four Xeon E3-1230/3.30Ghz cores, around 600-800Mips.

    Enough to emerge/update my new born s390x gentoo and to compile the kernel in less than an hour, crosscompiling with one of my x86_64 distcc gentoo box. Thank to your gentoo hard work I was also able to use genkernel for the kernel and a simple initramfs.

    Thank you so much again for your efforts: really nice to have again, I’m an ex-ibmers, a VM/CMS environment where I can play with my beloved gentoo.

    Hope we may meet on the #gentoo-zseries chat of freenode.

    Regards. G. Vitillaro (aka Orfheo on freenode).

  3. Giuseppe Vitillaro Says:

    You may like to know my emulated gentoo s390x is still up and running, updated to the 4.1.15-r1 kernel, after one year.

    Running at 300MIPS, on a dedicated gentoo x86_64 virtual machine, under hyperion/hercules-4.0 (february 22, GIT master commit 6d91b7d8278d28f8433cce50464d0ede3f9ef6cf).

    Only a couple of minor, non blocking problems, left.

    Regards, G. Vitillaro.

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