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Introduction to Linux on PA-RISC


PA-RISC Linux porting project

The PA-RISC project provides a native port of Linux to the PA-RISC architecture.
Today PA-RISC Linux is stable and runs on most PA-RISC machines.
PA-RISC Linux Project History tells how the project got started. See the Hall of Fame for a list of folks who brought you the initial 0.9x and Debian 3.0 releases.

Linux distributions for PA-RISC machines

Linux runs on most physical PA-RISC machines.
You may even install PA-RISC Linux in a virtual machine with Qemu.
Check the PARISC FAQ and Hardware support if you have trouble installing Linux.

Debian Linux

Debian Linux

PA-RISC is a non-release architecture in the Debian Ports project.
Debian Linux for PA-RISC is usable and stable with more than 12,800 Debian packages available.
You can download the latest installation ISO here or here.
Gentoo Linux

Gentoo Linux

PA-RISC is a fully supported architecture of Gentoo Linux.
The Gentoo hppa team provides Gentoo Linux installation ISOs available for download.
If you wish to install Gentoo Linux for PA-RISC, we suggest that your read the Handbook on how to install Gentoo Linux for PA-RISC.

T2 System Development Environment

The T2 System Development Environment Linux distribution provides a port to PA-RISC which you may download here.

Our sponsors

Corporate sponsors:

Rp3410 small.jpg Cypress Technology Inc (Jesse Dougherty) sponsored a HP J6700 workstation with 2 x 750MHz PA8700 CPUs, 4GB RAM and a 72GB disc. (Oct 2022)
Rp3410 small.jpg GALL EDV-Systeme GmbH ( sponsored HP Visualize FX-2, FX-4 and FX-6 grahics cards (June 2023)
  • Those will be used to further develop the Visualize-FX fbdev and DRM graphics drivers.

Organizations and private sponsors:

Osl logo.png Oregon State University Open Source Lab
  • Hosting and support for the physical parisc servers "parisc" (since 2014) and "panama" (since 2017)
  • Hosting of a x86 virtual machine for the qemu-user based parisc build server "pasta" (since Jan 2021)
  • Hosting of this Wiki (via infrastructure)
Parisc-linux-logo.gif Roberto C. Sánchez sponsored a HP rp3410 server with one 800 MHz PA8900 CPU. (May 2017)

If you want to sponsor HP physical machines, graphics-cards or other hardware, or hosting services for virtual (x86) or physical (parisc) machines, please contact me


Jul 2024 The Debian 64-bit time_t transition has finished and stability of PA-Linux has improved greatly. Important next milestones will be to port rust to hppa, and maybe to add a LLVM backend for parisc.
Jun 2024 Dave Anglin contributed a patch which prevents the random segfaults we faced on PA8800 and PA8900 CPU machines. It is included in kernel 6.6.35, 6.9.6, and 6.10.0 (and higher).
Work has started to add clock_gettime() syscalls in kernel vDSO.
Apr 2024 The Debian 64-bit time_t transition is going very well. Upgrades were broken until now, but since end of april 2024 it's possible again to upgrade most existing debian hppa installations to the new binaries from the debian-ports archive. Since now 64-bit time_t is enabled by default, and since the LFS64 filesystem calls are enabled by default as well, we expect much lesss problems running debian hppa.
Qemu 9.0 was released. Note that the 64-bit hppa emulation is still incomplete and may work with Linux guests only.
Mar 2024 Improving 64-bit CPU emulation in Qemu, e.g. with CPU fixes from Richard and HP-UX 11 64-bit support fixes from Sven.
The Offline_Diagnostic_Environment_(ODE) CD-ROM is helpful to verify quality of Qemu CPU emulation.
Debian 64-bit time transition is ongoing. Lots of hppa packages have to be bootstrapped again.
Jan 2024 Initial rust libc support for hppa was added (and temporarily removed again).
Nov 2023 Upcoming Qemu v8.2 will support booting a 64-bit Linux kernel.
Sep 2023 Kernel 6.6 and Qemu 8.2 with SeaBIOS-hppa v9 supports Block-TLBs (BTLB) on 32-bit kernels.
Kernel 6.6 includes native eBPF JIT compiler for 32- and 64-bit kernels.
Dave fixed glibc v2.38 to prevent unaligned access to 0xf7ebadcd at ip 0xf5f7e307 syslog warnings

Development to support 64-bit PA-RISC CPU emulation and Astro/Elroy PCI-Bridge emulated device in QEMU started. Goal is to (hopefully) allow booting a 64-bit Linux kernel and HP/UX 11 with 64-bit support in QEMU.
The T2 System Development Environment Linux distribution added support for 32- and 64-bit PA-RISC.

Aug 2023 Qemu 8.1.0 released.
Found a 10-year old bug (since kernel 3.11) which affected 32-bit parisc kernels.
Many kernel bugs fixed in aio, ...
Jul 2023 Qemu 8.0.3 released with many parisc fixes (SMP CPU fixes, graphics fixes).
Jun 2023 Work started to implement native eBPF for Linux kernel.
May 2023 palo version 2.24 released.
STI text console support on 64-bit machines, e.g. this allows using all original HP graphics cards in text-mode on C8000 workstations.
Fix palo to speed up printing the IPL menu on C8000 workstations.
Apr 2023 Debian-12 (Bookworm) preparations, with more than 13,000 pre-built packages.
Progress on an upcoming Visualize-FX5 fbdev graphics driver.
Mar 2023 More than 12,900 pre-built Debian packages available.
Jan 2023 Availability of a new HP J6700 dual-core debian porterbox, sponsored by Cypress Technology Inc. This machines was upgraded to 8 GB RAM and 2 x 300GB discs with parts of the former "parisc" HP A500-44 server.
Dec 2022 Adrian Glaubitz built a new Debian 11 installation media.
Helge submitted many fixes for qemu , e.g. for getsockopt(), msync(), /proc/cpuinfo file, madvise(), strace, sendmsg() and published an initial port of libc for rust.
Dave fixed a closure to function pointer bug in python-libcffi and spent a large amount of time reviewing debian buildd logs, doing give backs, and reporting issues. Furthermore Dave ported libffi to hppa64-hpux which exposed some issues in the 32-bit linux and hpux ports, e.g. 1, 2 and 3.
Linux kernel v6.2 will include a patch which allows parisc to use the same MADV constants for madvise() like other platforms.
Nov 2022 Installed new buildd servers "paladin" (a qemu-user emulation running Debian-x86 in VirtualBox on Windows).
Oct 2022 After 22 years the power supply in our A500-44 server (which was sponsored by HP) finally broke. It had hosted the ftp site and the mailing lists and was replaced by a x86-VM. Installed new buildd servers "pad" (a qemu-user emulation running Debian-x86 in VirtualBox on Windows) and "atlas" (physical C8000 machine).
Sep 2022 Lots of enhancements to the qemu-user emulation. Many of the debian buildd servers run now on x86 hardware which use qemu-user to build packages.
Aug 2022 New palo version 2.22 released, with support for booting without palo- or /boot paritions.

QEMU version 7.1.0 with many PA-RISC related enhancements and fixes has been released.

Jun 2022 Sam James added seccomp support in unit files on HPPA to systemd v252 and worked on elfutils support for HPPA.
John David Anglin helped to fix a glibc bug about broken argv adjustments
Mark Cave-Ayland provided lots of internal cleanups to the hppa PS/2 keyboard and PS/2 mouse emulation in the upcoming QEMU v7.1 to bring the source code up to latest QEMU coding standards.
May 2022 Linux kernel v5.18 released, includes vDSO-, CPU hotplug- and improved cache flushing support.
QEMU v7.1: Fix X11 cursor emulation in HP-UX and allow emulated PS/2 keyboard input in firmware boot menu
QEMU v7.1: Fix serial port pass-through from host to guest
Apr 2022 CPU Hotplug support added to Kernel v5.18.
PALO v2.16 released. Prior versions didn't showed all available kernels when listing /boot directory at IPL menu.
Mar 2022 A new set of debian-hppa installation medias for debian unstable provided by Adrian Glaubitz.

16 years after the initial vDSO patch by Randolf Chung, Linux kernel v5.18 will now finally include vDSO support. In addition Kernel v5.18 includes multiple TLB/cache-flush fixes and improvements.

Feb 2022 Many Qemu patches were applied to improve HP-UX graphics and mouse, allows up to 16 vCPUs, TOC support and much more. See our Qemu page.
Jan 2022 Kernel v5.16 released, with as many parisc enhancements and patches than never before!
Dec 2021 Richard Henderson and Helge Deller fix a mis-translation of the stby assembly instruction in Qemu.

Multiple important kernel fixes by Dave Anglin.

Nov 2021 Sven fixes a long-standing endianess bug in midnight commander which hangs the console when using F10 to exit.

Kernel v5.16 will include TOC and KFENCE support.

Sep 2021 Starting with Linux kernel 5.15, you will need to specify "ARCH=parisc64" on the command line when bulding a 64-bit kernel.

Adrian announced that he built new installation medias for debian unstable, ISO images are available here.

Jul 2021 The power supply of our old A400 server ("parisc") broke and got replaced. Machine is now back up again.
Feb 2021 Various fixes (e.g. 12) for qemu v5.2 to further improve qemu-user emulation.

Switch to a faster page table locking mechanism with Linux kernel v5.12.

Jan 2021 PALO v2.15 released.

New parisc Debian build server "pasta", which runs in a qemu-user parisc chroot environment on a x86-64 virtual machine with 8 CPUs and 16GB RAM. Many thanks to the OSU Open Source Lab who sponsors this VM!
Additionally there is a new parisc Debian build server "paq". This qemu-user based build server runs on a Synology DS920+ in a x86-64 virtual machine with 3 Intel Celeron J4125 CPUs and 1.5GB RAM.

1998-2020 See PA-RISC_Linux_Project_History for older news.

How to install PARISC Linux



External Resources

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