The QS20 was a Cell blade developed by Mercury systems , Not that you can find much on their web site about the QS20. It was made for IBM's blade chassis. Unfortunate for us the only control the chassis has is power on and power off. You need to use the serial port and netboot it to install Linux. Hear is the pin out for the serial console if you need it.

So far from what I have read and tested the easiest way forward is Fedora, starting at version 7 as its officially supported on the QS20.

You will need three services running to complete the install.

  • DHCP Server
  • TFTP Server
  • NFS Server

First thing we need a netboot environment (DHCP+TFTP). I will be using the environment I've set up already. We need to make an entry into the DHCP .conf file so that the blade knows what disk image to boot.

Mine looks like this :

host QS20-1 {
hardware ethernet xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx;
filename "ppc64.img";

You can find the mac address in the IBM blade manager under "Hardware VPD" You can get a copy of the ppc64.img.

Copy this into the /tftpboot directory, this was previously set up. Next thing you will need is a way to get the install media to the host. I will be using NFS to share out the files. I already have an NFS server setup so just export a new directory in my case this  is the line in /etc/exports :


Then copy the ISO image into that directory. You can find the .ISO on the Fedora archive mirror. Do NOT unpack the ISO! The fedora install expects to see the .iso.

Once that is all set up, power on the blade and enter the Open firmware prompt by hitting "s" type the following to netboot the machine :

0> netboot vnc console=hvc0

If it has worked you will get the following output :

Bootloader 1.4
Reading MAC address from device: xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
Requesting IP address via BOOTP:
Requesting file "ppc64.img" via TFTP
Receiving data: A+++++#++A++#++++|
Lost ACK packets: 13
TFTP: Received ppc64.img (9311 KBytes)

zImage starting: loaded at 0x00300000 (sp: 0x0111f000)

Follow the steps as per a normal install this will be via the serial console, select NFS as the install source. Enter the IP address of the NFS server and the directory path to the ISO, that we exported before.

If all goes well you should see the following message :

Running anaconda, the Fedora system installer - please wait...
Probing for video card:   Unable to probe
No video hardware found, assuming headless
Starting VNC...

Fire up your vnc viewer and connect on port 5901 with the IP with set up in the DHCP server and finish the install. Reboot as Normal. Finish the last part of the setup questions via the serial console.

You should not need the serial console after this. System should be on-line via SSH.

I picked a very small subset of things to install, as I want to do an upgrade to the latest Fedora Core.

Hear is a copy of the official IBM SDK Guide , See page 15.