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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 06-22-2007, 07:51 PM   #1
daletaylor
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Unhappy No Linux distros work...but Win98 works


Hi All,

(Please note: I am a Linux newbie)

I am having a very frustrating time trying to get Linux to run on this machine. I've tried the following, and they all either lock up or give me a kernel panic:

-Damn Small Linux 3.3, boot from CD
-Knoppix 3.3 and 5.1, boot from CD
-Mandriva Spring One 2007, boot from CD
-Ubuntu 6.10, boot from CD
-Debian 3.1 0A, install
-Fedora Core 5, install
-RedHat 9, install
-SLAX Frodo 5.1.8, boot from CD

I also tried FreeBSD 6.2, and it won't work either.

The only thing I've had a little bit of luck with is BasicLinux 3.40. It will boot fine, but it locks up if I try to run X.

Win98 runs fine on it, and I can run Damn Small Linux from Win98 just fine.

When I try to run Damn Small Linux from CD, it either locks up during the "Setting paths..." or gives me a general protection fault: 963c. I tried failsafe mode and all the no{hardware} options available and it still won't boot (this applies to the other distros where the options are available too).

Here are some hardware specs:
-PIII 550Mhz, Slot 1
-256 MB PC133 RAM
-Acer V66LT motherboard
-Intel PCI set FW8237IEB

I just changed 3 capacitors on the motherboard because they were bad, so there is a good chance that this is a hardware problem. But I don't understand why win98 will run absolutely fine (I let it run for a few hours doing updates and such without any lockups), AND I can run Damn Small Linux from win98 with no problems.

I also tried a few different sticks of RAM and a different processor. I can't just change the motherboard because the Veriton FP has an LCD built onto it and this is the only motherboard I have that has an LCD controller.

I would MUCH rather run Linux on on here than Win98. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.

-Dale
 
Old 06-22-2007, 09:48 PM   #2
Ghost_runner
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I would recommend Slackware. It runs great on p2's and p3's. It's not as pretty, it's not as bleeding edge, but it is stable as hell, and usually gives meaningfull error messages. Try a live version, such as vector, it's based on slack, and will give you a good idea if it will work. The install of slack boots to a pretty primitive CLI (command line interface) that is pure linux, and if it boots, then all is likely well, and you can install from there.
 
Old 06-23-2007, 12:33 AM   #3
daletaylor
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Thanks for the reply!

I just tried Vector. It hangs after the message "Loading boot/initrd.....". It looks like its about to load a new screen, but the screen stays black and it just hangs there.

I tried to run it in cli mode, but it does the same thing.

Do you know of anything else I can try?

Thanks,

-Dale
 
Old 06-23-2007, 03:54 AM   #4
maroonbaboon
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Don't suppose it could be the CD drive? All the linux distros would be on CDR, while Windows might be on the original CD. If the drive is going flaky it might read some media types but not others.
 
Old 06-23-2007, 08:18 AM   #5
daletaylor
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Sorry...forgot to mention, I did try a different CD-ROM drive. Thanks for the suggestion though!
 
Old 06-23-2007, 09:26 AM   #6
IsaacKuo
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I have about a dozen old CD-ROM drives, of which maybe only 3 of them can successfully boot a bootable CD-ROM. It's really frustrating, because I don't have enough non-flakey CD-ROM drives to go around.
 
Old 06-23-2007, 09:29 AM   #7
daletaylor
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Hmmm...I will try a drive from one of my newer machines...

Also, I just tried Slackware 11.0 and the console stops accepting input during the partitioning process.
 
Old 06-23-2007, 11:02 AM   #8
Hern_28
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Which install?

Are you trying bare, huge26 or test install?
 
Old 06-24-2007, 12:11 AM   #9
blackhole54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daletaylor
and they all either lock up or give me a kernel panic:
IIRC, when the kernel panics, you frequently get some message that might give you a clue to what happened. Did you get any such message?



Quote:
-Acer V66LT motherboard
I plugged your mother board number into a search engine along with the word linux and got over 2000 matches. Unfortuantely, most were not in English. You don't speak German, do you?

I was also wondering if you might need to pass some kernel parameter at boot time to get things to work. I was wondering specifically about ide=nodma, but it could be something else (or more than one). Sadly, I am not teribly knowledgeable about boot parameters myself. Perhaps somebody with some more knowledge can chime in here. As I understand it, the list of boot time parameters can be found here.

EDIT: Have you tried running various hardware diagnostics? I know the KNOPPIX disk has memtest86 on it. I know there are other hardware diagnostics out there but I am not familiar with them.

Last edited by blackhole54; 06-24-2007 at 12:19 AM.
 
Old 06-24-2007, 09:23 AM   #10
daletaylor
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Hi,


@Hern_28:

I'm not sure what you mean. Most of them have live boot options and I tried those. They all cause a kernel panic or lock up. The ones that only have an install option just freeze at some point during the install.

@blackhole54:

I get two different messages. I am away right now so I can't boot it up and tell you exactly what they were but they were along these lines:

1)
Oops: 0000
Unable to handle virtual paging request
...

2)
Oops: 0000
Unable to handle kernel NULL pointer dereference at virtual address [...]
...

I was also getting a General Protection Fault 963c, but I can't remember which distribution I was trying when I got those.

I tried looking these up but I can't seem to find anything useful to me.

I did try some hardware diagnostics. I tried the Ultimate Boot CD's CPU stress tests which run fine, and I ran memtest86, which shows no errors. I also ran QuickTech Pro's Burn-In test which gave no errors.

Now, I do know that this particular BIOS will not work with Windows 2000. According to Acer, you must upgrade the bios to get it to work with Win2K. I did that, but win2k blue screens during the install. I am a bit paranoid that the bios update utility did not work correctly because it seemed a bit flakey. It did not give any confirmation message about completing, the computer just suddenly rebooted during the update (which almost ruined my underwear). Could a bios issue like that cause it not to boot properly?

Thank you for the replies!

-Dale

Last edited by daletaylor; 06-24-2007 at 09:25 AM.
 
Old 06-24-2007, 12:50 PM   #11
Hern_28
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Virus protection in bios.

Do you have virus protection enabled in the bios? It usually protects the master boot record of the hard drive and will not allow you to setup or install windows or linux when enabled on some systems.

For the bios update sounds like it was successful, when mine borked the system locked up. I would check and see if you have the mbr protection enabled in the bios before panicing too much. Being that you system comes up, you can still reset the bios if necessary.

Edit: have found sometimes clearing cmos settings after bios updates when i get strange problems fixes some incompatible settings (not always though)

Last edited by Hern_28; 06-24-2007 at 12:52 PM.
 
Old 06-24-2007, 02:12 PM   #12
crashmeister
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackhole54
You don't speak German, do you?
Well - I do but things are confusing.Is this really an Acer and not an Asus mobo?
Found some guy who had the same problems but he was refering to an Asus V66LT.
Anyway he was successful with Debian Etch.
 
Old 06-24-2007, 03:33 PM   #13
nx5000
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Did you try to switch off ACPI?
Example:
You could try the latest knoppix LiveCD and start the mode "FailSafe"
 
Old 06-24-2007, 04:09 PM   #14
farslayer
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Did you try Testing the RAM in the PC ?

download the memtest86+ iso and test the Memory in your PC.. Since Linux uses memory differently than windows, it may just be that win98 hasn't noticed the bad RAM...
 
Old 06-25-2007, 11:03 AM   #15
daletaylor
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Hi,

@Hern_28:

No, there is no protection enabled in the bios. I did not try to reset the bios though, that's a good idea. I'll try that when I get home. Thank you.

@crashmeister:

Thank you for checking it out! I also saw that someone called it an Asus board, but it is Acer (well, I'm 99% sure its Acer...second guessing myself right now). I tried Debian Etch quickly this morning, and it locks up after I give it the boot command. (I can post more details on that later when I get home).

@nx5000

Yep, I tried all the no hardware and failsafe-type options I could find for them. No luck.

@farslayer

I tried memtest86 and also the QuickTech Pro memory tester, and neither reported any errors. I also tried 3 or 4 different sticks of RAM to be sure.


Thank you all very much for your replies! I know very little about how the kernel works, but based on the errors I get when the kernel panics (see previous reply), I think there might be some kind of memory/motherboard problem. Is that a reasonable assumption? Or are there other things that might cause those kinds of errors.

I think I will inspect the motherboard again to see if there are any more bad components.

I've noticed on a lot of forums people submit detailed error messages (like 2 pages worth). Is there a way to capture the kernel panic messages to submit or is retyping the only way to do it?

Thanks a lot!
-Dale
 
  


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