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Old 01-30-2004, 04:15 PM   #1
massai
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Newark Delaware
Distribution: Debian unstable, Knoppix, PC LinuxOS
Posts: 26

Rep: Reputation: 15
Persistent installation failures (Debian Stable, Sarge, Sid)


Hello everyone,

For the past two days I have been trying to create a pristine Debian installation on this system. The previous installation was a Knoppix. (knx-hdinstall)

However, Debian will not install on this system no matter which way I turn it:

System=
PIII Celeron 1.2Ghz (Tualatin core),
LinkSys 10/100 ethernet (Tulip drivers), connected to LinkSys Router.
GeForce4 Ti 4200,
NEC multisync LCD 1830 (1280X1024 native @ 60Hz Horizontal/Vertical sync). Quantum Fireball 4.3Ghz.
Gigabyte GA-6VTX with VIA 694T AGPset.



Note: in every attempt made the Partitions were explicitly reconfigured (can't be too cautious) and mounted.
1st partition = 4160Mb, ext3 mounted at "/" (or ext2 when I was trying "woody" )
2nd partition = 150Mb, Linux swap

#Start Problem History:

1)++Got the first ISO CD for "Stable"
--Installation proceeded without errors, but the result would be problematic; failing to load the xserver (ERROR: Xserver connection to 0:0 broken (explicit kill or server shutdown).
--Did "dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xree86" and performed various combination of video drivers (including VESA) and display settings. Non of the settings were effective.
--Run the Knoppix CD, configured the display and saved the XF86Config-4 file. Then the knoppix config file was transplanted(copied) to the debian directory. [This had no effect either]
--Run the Knoppix CD again and configured with minimal display settings. Transplanted the XF86Config-4. [This had no effect either].
--Did some "googling". The search did not yield anything useful other than a way to inspect the log file /var/log/xfree....(can't remember the rest). The log indicated that my video card chipset was not being recognized (even with generic settings). This approach was calling for "plastic surgery" and getting too complex. So it was dropped.

2)++Attempted to start from scratch with Debian Sarge (which would hopefully have updated modules by default).
--Attempt: Got the "Netinstall CD" and started the "Testing" option in the installer.
Result: The installation halted with error: "debootstrap program exited with an error. Return value (127)"
--Attempt: Downloaded the full ISO image (1st CD). Again chose the "Testing" option during install.
Result: The installation never finishes, because of missing drivers in the CD (the tulip driver and the IDE-SCSI emulator were needed but not found). The installer suggested to use "driver floppies to load the modules.
--Attempt: Downloaded the Business card ISO
+----- Selected the "Stable" option. I noticed that it was trying to install kernel image 2.4.18-k7. I suspected that the installer cannot recognize the processor properly ? (k7 is AMD right ?)
Result: The installation would finish without a hitch but the system was not bootable (the screen filled up with the numeral "01" )
+------Started over and selected the "Testing" option.
Result: Base system installation fails (debootstrap error, return value (127) )
+-------Started over and selected the "Unstable" option.
Result: Installation proceeds with no errors and it stops at the "install kernel" option. A list of kernels is shown but NONE is being accepted (I believe the relevant kernels for my case would be of the "386" or "686" type)

3)++Downloaded the Debian "Sid" CD ISO (1st CD of the set)
The installer will not get past detecting the CD-rom and it dumps me to a shell prompt (which I don't know what to do with)
The same thing happens in all priority levels.
No boot prompts were accepted other than "Linux". All other boot prompts (such as "vanilla", "compact", "bf24" and "rescue"; as described in the installer's own help file) were immediately rejected with the error: " Could not find kernel image Vanilla .....( or "Compact", or "bf24", etc, etc)

#End problem history

At this point I am running out of ideas.
Should this be giving me as much trouble as it does ?

-In regards to the "debootstrap", I did some "googling" and found out that some other people had problems with it and was perceived to be a bug.
After browsing the Debian pages, I could not find it listed as a bug though. (nonetheless, I did make sure to use the latest "beta2" installer)

Apparently the whole world is using Debian except me. Therefore it has to be particular to hardware setup on this system. (However, Knoppix doe not have a problem with it and Windows2000 does not have a problem with it either, so it has to be surmountable somehow)

I am at a loss, any advise will be appreciated at this point.

Many Thanks in advance.

Thomas A.
 
Old 01-30-2004, 07:35 PM   #2
llamakc
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Registered: Nov 2003
Distribution: Debian & Ubuntu
Posts: 402

Rep: Reputation: 31
There is no way you should give up. I'm going to address the _way_ I would do it.

Either use Knoppix, or don't. If you do, when you stick the cd in and boot, type knoppix 2 and after it fires up and you have a command prompt type "knoppix-installer"

If you don't. Use that Woody cd and at the prompt type bf24

Why? This gives you a 2.4 kernel and will let you configure the partitions as ext3 also on Woody. DON'T use dselect or Tasksel. Choose NO to both. When you are left with a blank Woody install go and change the /etc/apt/sources.list file and replace "stable" with "unstable". Do apt-get update and then do apt-get dist-upgrade.

Now, install x-window-system (apt-get install x-window-system). Choose "nv" for the video driver.

Don't worry about X as an immediate problem. Get the system moved up to Unstable and then when all of your commandline tools are installed, tackle X. X is much easier to mess with on Unstable, btw.

You could have this system up in 30 minutes. Promise. I've a similar box at home that I dual-boot Gentoo and Debian Unstable with.

I would strike your use of the testing and unstable installers to experience. They are not ready yet. If you need more help, PM me.
 
Old 02-01-2004, 12:02 AM   #3
massai
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Newark Delaware
Distribution: Debian unstable, Knoppix, PC LinuxOS
Posts: 26

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Hello llamakc,

First of all, let me thank you for taking the time to offer your assistance. The gesture is appreciated.

I followed the steps you listed very closely.

Report:
-Now the base Debian system is installed, bootable and updated to "unstable"
-The x-window-system has been "apt-gotten"
result: the system starts, boot messages scroll and then it goes black (momentarily where it is supposed to start kdm or xdm) and then ends up in text mode again with the error: "XIO: fatal IO error 104 (Connection reset by peer) on X server "0:0" after 0 requests (0 known processed) with 0 events remaining"
Note: No google search has been performed on this yet. If I come up with something I will post it here as an update.

Update01:
Changed runlevel (edit "/etc/inittab") from 2 to 3, then to 4 and then 5.
Result: No effect

Update02:
-Opened the file "/var/log/XFree86.0.log" for inspection.
-Parsed it line by line.
-Noticed numerous lines inserted at random intervals saying: "Not loading .note.GNU-stock"
-Noticed only two error lines in the entire file:
a) (EE) unable to find a valid framebuffer device
b) (EE) screens found but none have usable configuration.
-Remembered that I had enabled framebuffer during setup.
-Run "dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86" and disabled the framebuffer
Result:" SUCCESS the system boots and I get the debian login screen (apparently through "xdm".... therefore the next step would be to load KDE)


--
Thomas A.

Last edited by massai; 02-01-2004 at 01:24 AM.
 
Old 02-01-2004, 01:34 AM   #4
massai
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Newark Delaware
Distribution: Debian unstable, Knoppix, PC LinuxOS
Posts: 26

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Some Trivia

During this Debian troubleshooting process, and as an act of desperation I ended up downloading PC-LinuxOs (live CD) to play with.

Let me tell you people... so far this liveCD is blowing my "doors away". The level of refinement is awsome. (the only problem: its hard drive install option is "very" beta at this time. Particularly, its ability to write the MBR and configure LiLo is "alpha" at least)

When this thing gets out of "beta" it will be one of Linux finest !
 
Old 02-01-2004, 05:16 AM   #5
llamakc
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Registered: Nov 2003
Distribution: Debian & Ubuntu
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the not loading .note... error is related to GCC and you may ignore it. Unfortunately it fills the logs. Debian's default runlevel is 2 and what determines whether or not a display manager runs is whether or not one is installed. Simply apt-get install kdm or gdm or xdm (and removing the one you don't want) will take care of this on its own.

If you want to get DRI enabled there are ways to do that also. You could also use the Nvidia drivers, if wanted.

Thanks for the info. about PC-LinuxOs.
 
Old 02-02-2004, 04:47 PM   #6
massai
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Newark Delaware
Distribution: Debian unstable, Knoppix, PC LinuxOS
Posts: 26

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally posted by llamakc
the not loading .note... error is related to GCC and you may ignore it. Unfortunately it fills the logs. Debian's default runlevel is 2 and what determines whether or not a display manager runs is whether or not one is installed. Simply apt-get install kdm or gdm or xdm (and removing the one you don't want) will take care of this on its own.

If you want to get DRI enabled there are ways to do that also. You could also use the Nvidia drivers, if wanted.

Thanks for the info. about PC-LinuxOs.
Yes, I do want the nvidia drivers, but this is a whole new research project which can wait a couple of weeks.
I had a script (Kano's script ) that automatically installed the nvidia driver on knoppix, but it doesn't work on Debian (it is probably not good to mix Debian-knoppix staff although these two are similar)

In regards to DRI.... I don't know. First I need to brash-up on what "DRI" realy means and what is it used for.... (this brings to mind another question... but I will start a new thread for it)

In regards to the GCC errors.... it makes me wonder....
Is it possible to run Debian-sid and streamline it so much that there are NO "underground" glitches of any kind related to the core system? or am I chasing a fool's dream ?

--

Last edited by massai; 02-02-2004 at 04:50 PM.
 
Old 02-02-2004, 06:34 PM   #7
biotek1
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: L.A.
Distribution: SUSE 9, Fedora
Posts: 90

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Hi

I have been trying to install debian on my dell inspiron 4150 laptop over 3-4 times and have failed.

1st I tried woody, with the old 2.2 kernel, everythin gwhent fine but i could not start X. It could not fine a device!!!!

2nd , got the iso for sarge, this time the installer would skip loading certain drivers and i could not get to the disk partioning utility. needless to say i could not get any further from there.

I tried the net install for sarge too same problem .

I have a copy of libranet 2.7 classic , i have yet to try that on my laptop , at least if I can get that going i am hoping I can just upgrade it via apt to the latest builds.

Oh and I found a neat debian based distro called MEPIS. it is really nice, its a live CD with the HD install option. And it works as I have tried it on my laptop. The only problem I had with it was with my digital camera not being able to connect via USB (big problem for me), but if you want an easy debian based install try it.
 
Old 02-03-2004, 12:44 AM   #8
BittaBrotha
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Third Stone from the Sun
Distribution: Debian Sid, SourceMage 0.9.5, & To be Continued on a TP
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Well this one works for me pretty good. It is for installing on a laptop but can work for desktop/tower system.

Setting up a Base Install. I use it everytime I do a reinstall also.
 
Old 02-03-2004, 04:41 AM   #9
powadha
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Registered: Nov 2003
Distribution: Debian SID
Posts: 649

Rep: Reputation: 31
The point where the install guide says to cancel isn't needed. Even though you got a base install from stable you can easily change to SID without leaving the setup. Just select the ftp sources you want and finally choose 'edit sources by hand' change the stable to unstable and apt will reload it's configured sources. From there you can just use taskel to install X and more if you want. It's all going to be SID and faster than leaving the install and use pico. Just a hint....
 
Old 02-04-2004, 05:37 AM   #10
yowi
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Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Au
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 209

Rep: Reputation: 52
I have to suggest you change your entire approach to problem solving.
It sounds to me like you are using the approach that windoze imprinted on us.
Generally speaking, in Linux land any given problem is likely to be solvable.
So your best bet is to dig into the logs for whatever is broken, cross reference this with the relevant config files, read whatever documentation is available (granted this is not always up to date/complete but the next person is waiting for you to fill in the blanks), even old docs are often largely relevant and of course have a search about the web.
You are extremely unlikely to be the first to tackle any given scenario and in my experience this approach is more fruitful than merely swapping one problem for another.
This way is often quicker and you will learn much more about the system.

I have not yet reinstalled any of my linux machines. Even installation issues are often defusable by using the shell that is available on the second virtual console.
With the amount of tweaking that goes in to any system that's been used for any amount of time a reinstall would be a waste.
 
Old 02-08-2004, 03:06 AM   #11
biotek1
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: L.A.
Distribution: SUSE 9, Fedora
Posts: 90

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Hi

I used BONZAI LINUX (Debian based, 185mb .iso cd) and was able to install a debian system on my laptop (after several failed attempts). soon after i added the unstable branch to my sources.list file and did a dist-upgrade and am using a fully updated sid system.

http://www.gnulinux.de/

German homepage.
Its a lot easier to install from this than using the woody, sarge, sid installers. (IMO).
 
  


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