Cobalt RaQ Panel: Cobalt RaQ FrontPanel Management Utility

Cobalt RaQ Panel is a Linux software daemon aimet at replacing default the Cobalt RaQ's system menu manager with a new one that works with Linux distros.

Cobalt RaQ Panel is a Linux software daemon aimet at replacing default the Cobalt RaQ's system menu manager with a new one that works with Linux distros.

Probably most of you will find this page (and this software) absolutely useless. Very likely you are right!
This application is dedicated to the few owners of a Sun Cobalt RaQ server. The aim of the application is replacing the default front panel manager and create a new one that works with Linux distros*.

In this page you will also find useful information that I collected on the internet that explains how to install a custom Linux distribution on your Cobalt RaQ (see Remarks).

Supported Linux distributions:
The front panel menu works on all proper patched Linux 2.4 kernels. Although there is a little note about the "Services" menu: The services menu is based on the BSDlike initialization scripts... so if you're running on a Linux distribution that uses SystemV init scripts (like RedHat, and many many others) it will definitively NOT work.

Now, let me guess, you're probably asking "why did you base on BSD-like init scripts although most of Linux distros use SystemV scripts?". The answer is simple: Slackware uses BSD-like init scripts, and I love (and run, of course) Slackware Linux on my Cobalt.

Downloads

Sources
Source tarball.

Installing and running:

Nothing but good old make && make install

I suggest you to launch the application in the inittab (so it will be respawned upon accidental crashes and will always work). Just add this line to /etc/inittab:
rq:1235:respawn:/opt/cobaltfp/HatRaQFpanel

For other instructions about how to configure and customize the application take a look at the README file inside.

How to replace default bundled RaQ OS with your preferred Linux distribution
Before getting started just let me advice that, depending on your experience, replacing the ROM of a Cobalt RaQ might not be a simple task. Just keep in mind that Cobalt servers don't have any video output nor any keyboard plug. There's nothing but a network plug and a serial console.

1) Upgrading the firmware:

First of all i suggest you to replace the bundled ROM firmware with this one (yet another opensource project, of course). You will find all instructions and documentation on the provided link.

2) Building patched kernel:

Unfortunately, only patches for the Linux 2.4 kernel are available. These patches will provide device drivers to make Cobalt hardware work properly and will provide support for the front LCD panel and buttons. The patches are available here (yes, still another opensource project).

All the aforementioned steps (replacing and patching the kernel) should be done on another machine. I suggest to simply detach the IDE hard disk from the Cobalt housing, connect it to a desktop PC and dump all the data onto an ext2/3 partition.

I'll not describe here the entire process (it would take really long writing). You should be an experienced Linux user and have some practical skills to do all the work without the help of an interactive installer.

However if you are in trouble with any of these steps feel free to drop me an e-mail (contacts in the "About me" section) and I'll try to help you doing it.

License

The applications are released under the terms of the GNU GPL

Links