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Old 10-31-2007, 09:02 AM   #1
harakanvarpaita
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Registered: Oct 2007
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Feather linux HD install won't boot.


Short version:
I get a blank screen after long while. No errors.

Long version:
I inserted the feather boot disk and a usb fob with feather linux in it. Then I installed FL with the safe script provided with it. After installation I booted but unfortunately bios just says "OS no found" or something similar. It seems that bios never got as far as loading LILO. Don't know really...

I gave up and wen't on to several other distros including debian etch. It worked but was a little slow for my ancient laptop with 64MB RAM and a broken cd drive.

I returned to FL since I found some tips from the FL forum. I cannot register to that forum, so I'll have to seek my answers elsewhere. Installed FL just as I did last time, formatted the HD and so on. The usual drill. This time GRUB started and said "error 15". I checked what that means and it seems to me that grub expects to find debian at a certain place but is unable to. I returned to feather's "live USB" and ran the configure LILO script. It says that it has done something about boot lilo thingy whatever. This time I really expected lilo to exist somewhere, but it bios still starts grub. So I retuned to USB FL again and ran the following commands
Code:
sudo mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/hda1
sudo chroot /mnt/hda1
I went to /etc/lilo.conf and made some minor changes to it according to the tips from FL forum. I noticed that /boot/grub folder didn't exist at all so that makes me wonder where the gurb that GRUB came from...

Still nothing. Apparently doing stuff about lilo has no effect since, bios still prefers to start the old remains of grub. To me it's really the same wether lilo or grub is doing the boot process of bringing up feather linux as long as it works. During this educational misadventure I got the idea that grub is hidden somewhere outside normal partitions. and lilo isn't. Bios boots grub from this partition X and never even notices lilo that resides in /hda1/etc/ or somewhere like that. One guide told me to check if /boot contained kernel images. Well... I did find some files in there and one of them had version numbers that look like kernel numbers or something.

BTW is lilo supposed to boot FL from hda or hda1? By default it says hda, but this seems a bit strange to me since all files are located at hda1 as far as I know.

Why bios boots grub and not lilo? Can I configure grub to start Feather Linux from hda1? Is it difficult?

Update:
I edited /etc/lilo.conf
In it I added vga=normal to the append line as adviced in so many posts in FL forum. I ran lilo -v and booted after exiting croot mode and umounting hda1.

Running lilo -v was the key to success as far as starting LILO is concerned.

As a result FL booted almost all the way. It took a long time and in the end it just showed a blank screen without any errors. I went back to searching for information and found that vga=normal command will not work in the append line at all. I read more and found that vga=normal should be replaced with ZY00x600. I can't remember which letter Z and Y were. Perhaps fs, or dv or something else. Anyway I entered that and still nothing... At the first startup it asked lots of questions as it did during the usb boot. during the second attempt it didn't as anything at all. I would have lke to change the screen setting or whatever that was.

At the moment it doesn't go past the blank screen. What should I do?

Last edited by harakanvarpaita; 10-31-2007 at 04:55 PM. Reason: update
 
Old 11-01-2007, 07:41 PM   #2
jailbait
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Location: Blue Ridge Mountain
Distribution: Debian Wheezy, Debian Jessie
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"I went to /etc/lilo.conf and made some minor changes to it according to the tips from FL forum. I noticed that /boot/grub folder didn't exist at all so that makes me wonder where the gurb that GRUB came from..."

Boot loaders exist in two parts. One part is in one of your Linux partitions. The other part is on the Master Boot Record. After you set up your /etc/lilo.conf you need to run the lilo command to place lilo on the MBR and to point the lilo to the correct partition containing /etc/lilo.conf.

Similarly grub is partially in /boot/grub/menu.lst and partially on the MBR. When you first installed grub you (or the installer) ran the grub-install command to place grub on the MBR and to point it to the correct /boot/grub/menu.lst.

Since you did not run the lilo command after setting up /etc/lilo.conf the old version of grub is still sitting on the MBR and points to a no longer existant menu.lst file.

"Running lilo -v was the key to success as far as starting LILO is concerned."

Right.

"As a result FL booted almost all the way. It took a long time and in the end it just showed a blank screen without any errors. I went back to searching for information and found that vga=normal command will not work in the append line at all."

Debian etch worked on your screen. Take a look at your Debian install and see how they set up the screen.

---------------
Steve Stites
 
Old 11-02-2007, 01:14 PM   #3
harakanvarpaita
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Registered: Oct 2007
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well... I was wondering if I could find that information from the usb booted feather, since it works just fine. I added vga=ask to LILO, but it doesn't seem to ract at all. I've also tried the fb800x600 option and also vga=0x303 with no success. From several discussions I've been adviced to run xsetup.sh, but how can I do that when the boot process never gives me the terminal. It attempts to go straight to the x.

In usb boot I have tried Xvesa and Xfbdev, but the latter clearly does not work for me.

In the append line I have tried to add noagp and nodma, but they seem to have no effect either. Some pople say removing them would cause black screen at boot up. To me it seems that they have nothing to do with this at all.

Getting back to debian will take several hours, beucase network install is my only option.

Thanks for the reply. I hope I will get FL working as some other people have.
 
Old 11-02-2007, 01:54 PM   #4
jailbait
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Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Blue Ridge Mountain
Distribution: Debian Wheezy, Debian Jessie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harakanvarpaita View Post
From several discussions I've been adviced to run xsetup.sh, but how can I do that when the boot process never gives me the terminal. It attempts to go straight to the x.
You could try to use an alternative console. When you get the blank screen try switching to console 3. You switch to console 3 with one of the two following commands:

Ctrl-Alt-F3

Alt-F3

Once you successfully switch to console 3 you should be able to login as root and run xsetup.sh from the command line.

-----------------
Steve Stites
 
Old 11-03-2007, 06:28 PM   #5
harakanvarpaita
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Registered: Oct 2007
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Original Poster
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In the normal USB boot I am not able to switch to alt-F3. alt-F1 brings me a list of errors and other non-interactive stuff and alt-F2 shows the GUI. alt-F3 does nothing at all. Since the F commands don't work I get the feeling X never loaded all the way. At this point in other distros I was supposed to get the log in screen.

How can I see which settings the usb boot is using in order to display X so that I could tell lilo to use that t too.

It's really strange that this problem has been asked around a thousand times and always the same wrong answer was given to so many people. In the feather forum there are soooooo many people asking the same thing. For some the "vga=normal" seems to do the trick, but for a lot of people that does nothing. Even stranger though is the fact that vga=ask doesn't change anything at all for me.

I have also tried to wait untill fluxbox should have been loaded and then press ctrl alt backspace, but nothing happens. Somehow I'm getting the feeling it doesn't evel load x... dunno. It's so dark in there so who can tell.

update:
Now I've tried re-net-installing debian etch. This time it gave me the usual random errors when installing stuff. This time however it happened during the installation of the base system. Therefore the entire installation took a few hours and lead to nowhere. I tried several times and every time the missing file was different. just great... ok. So that was distro number 4 that has failed. What next. I have tried debian, feather, dsl, delilinux and basiclinux. Every time something comes up during installation or booting. Debian was the only one that installed and booted. Too bad it doesn't install any more. Otherwise I would use it and cut out the excess bloat and optimize it for my purposes. Too late now.

I'll just return to feather since it seems the most promising to one. I re-installed (for the hundredth time it think). During the first boot I intentionally gave the wrong answer to the display questions in order to get errors and my precious terminal screen. Hahaa. At terminal at last. My first successful feather boot ever. I configured xsetup and gave it 600x800 resolution and 8 bit colours to be on the safe side.... well.... no. This time I got a *white* screen. Once again all commands were ignored so this means: no screen configuring is available.

Another update:
During start up major portion of the time is spent on displaying I/O errors.
end_request: 1/O error, dev 03:01 (hda) sector <whatever large number>
depmod: cannot read ELF header from /lib/... and so on.
hda: read_intr: error

I wonder if I'm entirely mistaken if I were to suggest my hard drive is busted? I just tested booting from usb and using certain options for xretup and then using the same settings for the hd boot. Every time the hd boot fails. I beginnig to think this has less and less to do with xsetup. I have configure xsetup in identical ways in usb boot and hd boot and the results couldn't be more different. There's something outside xsetup that's causing this black (or white) screen at boot up.

more updates
I ran fsck and found some unwritable blocks. Then I used
Code:
fsck -fvy /dev/hda1
and forced it it write on those areas. Once it finished (afer God know how many hours) it displayed the results and tehre were no bad sectors at all. Regardles of all my efforts the latest HD install of feather still shows these I/O errors at boot. I wonder what's goin on in there. Fortunately I can always boot to terminal by "tricking" it at xsetup.

Last edited by harakanvarpaita; 11-05-2007 at 06:11 AM. Reason: update
 
Old 11-13-2007, 01:46 AM   #6
harakanvarpaita
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Registered: Oct 2007
Posts: 10

Original Poster
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I solved the boot problem by using dsl's boot floppy and a usb stick where I extracted the dsl live cd iso file. I started dsl from the floppy and gave the command "dsl fromusb" Once fluxbox started, I ran hd install. It works well. Now I still have to solve the issues with the hard drive. Perhaps it's about to break down since fsck found errors. I once again re-ran fsck. I also used badblocks /dev/hda1 and the scan has taken almost 10 hours now. I wonder if it helps once it's finished.
 
  


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