You just received this PA-RISC box you bought online, or maybe you got it from your company scrapyard. Anyway, here comes the question of the operating system you are going to use. The PA/Linux project consists in porting Linux to the PA-RISC architecture, and we hope that if you decide to use it on your box, this HOWTO will help you in the process of setting it up.
In addition to porting the Linux kernel, the development team is working on porting the Debian project to PA-RISC. In fact, by the time we wrote this document, over 97% of the package pool is available for the stable Debian release (3.1, aka Sarge) on hppa (see the buildd stats for detailed data). Some Debian developers and users reported that the port was one of the easiest to install, as it feels like installing an i386 system.
For more information about the PA-RISC/Linux porting project, please see http://www.parisc-linux.org/, or a mirror site like http://www.fr.parisc-linux.org/. This site deals with kernel development and improvement. For user-space troubles, please refer to Debian hppa port pages.
In a few words, this HOWTO is aimed at anyone looking for some help and information about using Linux on a PA-RISC system. No particular prior knowledge is necessary but bases about how Debian packages work, and general background about Linux can be helpful.
It is also worth mentioning that some sections of the present document aren't Linux-centric, and may be of use to people dealing with other OSes, such as BSDs or even HP-UX.
After listing supported hardware, this HOWTO explains some commands of the Boot Console Handler (BCH) available at boot time. Then, the features of the PA/Linux kernel loader are introduced in another chapter, and finally many ways to get your system up and running are detailed. At the end, the text goes deep in the kernel compilation and configuration, as well as a few appendices giving some extra hints.