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Old 10-04-2003, 02:19 AM   #1
justinsleary
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Australia
Distribution: RedHat 9
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No end of problems... can anyone tell me...


I am following many threads here....

I may be a newbie to Linux, but I have been working with, and programming computers since the mainframe days, and the days where the Commodore 64 was considered awesome, yet I enrolled in a Computer Science degree at an Australian uni (starting next year) and the uni recommends I become familiar with Unix/Linux. So I tried Debian, but spent days trying to resolve dependencies using Deselect, and finally admitted defeat. Then I bought an Australian Linux magazine that had RedHat 9 on 4 CD's. After 4 or 5 installs, and much aquired knowledge, I am now left with a Linux partition that wont boot - msg is "Kernel panic: no init". Of course, this is the end of it. I have had loads of different problems over the last 2 months, including "Id "x" respawning too fast. Disabled for 5 minutes.", and errors trying to start gnome/kde - X-windows, inability to login at times at run-level 3, my Linux boot hanging at "Starting xfs:", fsck repeatedly finding corruption, "Segmentation faults", "broken pipe errors", and the list of problems goes on.

I have a simple question (that probably doesn't have a simple answer): can anyone with experience with Linux tell me - how is it that a system in state "A", left in state "A" when rebooted, seems to change into state "B", not as a result of user changes or input, but somehow the system itself changes. In other words, I can have a fully healthy running system at 1.00pm, then, rebooting, I can have a system that will not boot by 2.00pm, and by 2.15pm my filesystem will not mount, and yet I have done nothing to change it! Linux may be a great system, and considered more stable than any Windows OS, yet it is great when I can actually use it, and of course it is stable when I am able to use it (i mean it is stable and functioning 2 days out of 6), which, by definition defeats what is meant by stable; yet this trusty and reliable system is currently down on my computer, all the while the so-called "troublesome" Windows is happily running here on my computer and has been fully functioning over the last 2 months while my RedHat system has been crashing.

Don't get me wrong. I want to use Linux, and I know enough to know that it has great potential. I wouldn't be spending time in these forums if I didn't. I just want its promise of a multi-threaded, multi-user and fully customizable system to be fulfilled. I just want to know why my RedHat 9.0 system keeps crashing, or failing when I do nothing to change it. It just seems to want to destroy itself of its own accord.

Could it have anything to do with the fact that I am running Windows XP on hda1, and Linux (root) on hda5 - i.e a dual boot system?

Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

Justin
trafficanalyst@austarnet.com.au
 
Old 10-04-2003, 03:13 AM   #2
salparadise
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Registered: Nov 2002
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it's unlikely to be the dual boot aspect
i have xp on hda1 and mdk on the rest of the drive with no problems at all

personally

mandrake is lovely, easy to install, largely trouble free
i've had a few problems with rh9 and gave up on it for mandrake

however,

lots of people will tell you different and they'll all say "no, use this version instead"

i too am curious about how i can switch off a machine with a perfectly working gnome
and switch it back on the next day and gnome wont start!
 
Old 10-05-2003, 04:53 AM   #3
miknight
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It seems you've been quite unlucky indeed. Sometimes problems like this can happen when the system is not 100% stable... usually bad memory or something, possibly from an overclocked machine.

Even if things appear to be stable in Windows, I find Linux pushes the hardware more and so hardware problems can seem more 'loud'. It's possible many small things could snowball...

Of course maybe you just have some kind of unique hardware combination that is causing magical errors... If this is the case then trying many new distros is probably a good option - some might have kernel patches that address driver bugs.

I'm also from Australia and currently in a Computer Science degree (at Macquarie Uni). Which uni are you going to? And did they mention Linux specifically? (that's pretty cool if they did )
 
Old 10-05-2003, 05:48 AM   #4
scott_R
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Okay, I had a similar problem waaaaaaaay back when I was starting. Most of it was just me, so perhaps this doesn't help much. Still, maybe it will.

Okay, first problem. Windows works fine, Linux flips out. Open case. Dust bunnies over memory chips, courtesy of whatever bonehead installed the cooling fan/heatsink so that the draft was blown directly onto them.

Second problem. Using the wrong kernel. I know that sounds incredibly ignorant, but I got a giveaway computer from a friend, and he said it was an AMD, and I installed the AMD kernel. Only thing was, it was an Intel cpu. Lots of problems, but nothing solid. Just lots of errors all over the place.

Another guess, and this is wild-arsed as hell, but perhaps there's a problem with your partitioning? Redhat 9, as far as I know, doesn't repartition NTFS drives (XP). Mandrake 9.1 does, reportedly. If you resized you drive with redhat, and it wasn't able to do that properly, that might be part of the problem.

Honestly, I don't know, but I know that your problems are extremely unusual. If it's not the partitioning, I'd run a good hardware test (especially on the drive) to make sure it wasn't a hardware problem. And if it is the drive, I'd make backups in a hurry.
 
Old 10-05-2003, 07:52 AM   #5
justinsleary
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Australia
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Thanks all for taking time out with your suggestions.

Salparadise - thanks for the tip on Mandrake, I have also heard it is good and relatively trouble free.. I may well look for that distro soon...

Miknight - I have enrolled in a Comp. Science degree at Uni of New England (U.N.E) in Armidale (North West NSW)... they have encouraged me to become familiar with unix/linux, I believe their system for Computer students is a version of Linux. I thought it would be good to become familiar with Linux, I know they use the Unix OS as the OS they study when we delve into Operating Systems in 2nd and 3rd year... I don't start until 1st semester next year, and am still debating whether to stick with Comp. Science or do a Physics/maths degree instead (I am wondering whether I have the right temperment to do computers full time..!)

Further updates on my problem - it is highly likely that my problems are hardware related.. Windows XP crashed last night with a blue screen doing a physical memory dump.. it is not the first time this has happened, but I thought that because it hadn't happened since i shelved my internal modem, that my problems were over.. looks like not. I also have lost 3 other HDD's in the last 18 months.. tech support here advised me to try and upgrade the following:

Better power supply
RAM replacement

Basically, I have had numerous HDD failures, and lately bsod with a physical memory dump (along with all the Linux trouble)

If anyone here has any suggestions on how to identify what component(s), given my troubles, are likely at fault, feel free to give me your advice.

Thanks again

regards,

Justin
 
Old 10-05-2003, 09:09 AM   #6
miknight
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Cool, nice to see UNE aren't Microsoft junkies like Charles Sturt

To test RAM, try running Memtest86.

To test the power supply, well... if you have other ones lying around then best to chuck one of them in to see

Also BIOS updates have been known to fix problems. Check your motherboard manufacturer's website.
 
Old 10-05-2003, 12:52 PM   #7
salparadise
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you might want to find some way of testing your RAM

there are diagnostic apps, i know of one in particular, PC. Doctor, it's a win app. It does a series of tests on whatever device you specify and I have had some success with it in the past.
I dont know if there's a linux equal (would be interested to know)
but
i've only pseronally experienced bsod's under xp when there's been memory with problems
either due to bus speed problems or incompatibility at some level
have you changed or upgraded the memory recently?
alternatively
try different memory
or if there's more than one strip
try one then another
 
Old 10-05-2003, 11:39 PM   #8
rahulsundaram
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Registered: May 2003
Location: India
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hi

i have had similar problems in only one system and it was a faulty ram chip. i finally replaced it and every problem just disappeared. i am pretty sure random issues are hardware issues. windows will crash now and then. linux will just wont work

regards
rahul sundaram
 
Old 10-06-2003, 01:32 AM   #9
miknight
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Quote:
Originally posted by salparadise
I dont know if there's a linux equal (would be interested to know)
Memtest86 is probably the best memory testing program in existence. You download the image of the program and write it to a floppy disk, and then boot off the floppy to run the tests (when you think about it, that's the only way to get reliable results).

The image can be written to the floppy from Windows or Linux (or whatever). It's also licensed under the GPL

http://www.memtest86.com/
 
  


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