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After having endured many troubles, I finally got to what I was trying : I installed the FC2 distribution on my usb 2 external drive, and have my laptop booting on it. But whether I boot on runlevel 3 or 5, in root or in a normal account, in 100% of the cases, after a rather short delay (1 to 2 minutes of use) everything hangs : no mouse, no keyboard, only hard reset possible (switch of and on my machine) working.
When I boot in runlevel 3 in root, just before it hangs, I once got this message (but not reproducible) :
spurious 8259A interrupt: IRQ7
I'm not sure it has something to do with my problem, after a little google session I found it is just a harmless bug. But I report in here just in case.
So as far as my problem is concerned, I read somewhere that it is the USB 2 support in 2.6 kernel that is incriminated, and that I have to disable the ehci_hcd driver. But this would remove usb 2 hi speed support, which is kindof a big penalty, as I boot my whole system using usb. The other suggestion was to install the latest kernel (2.6.8) which fixes this problem, but again, if I can't use my system, how could I compile the kernel ? (Can I do it using Knoppix and chrooting to my external device's partitions ? Never tried.)
I read another report of someone trying to load a large file stored on an external hard drive in linux, and the transfer hanged always at a certain size. This could sound similar to my problem...
Does anyone have any suggestion ? My system gets unusable...