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My roommate is trying to install RedHat 7.2, and the installation program is freezing midway through every time. However, it's not freezing at the same spot every time, and at one point in the past the install program did run all the way through.
He found some references to similar problems when IDE devices were in "cable select" mode, and so he's switched his hard drives, CD- and DVD-ROM's, and ZIP drives out of cable select mode. My hunch is that the problem is still something with his HD controller.
Here are his system specs:
Dell Dimension 8100
Pentium4 1.4 gHz
256 MB RAM
Motherboard IDE controller: Intel 8280 1BA Ultra-ATA/100.
Additional controller: Promise Ultra-IDE ATA/66
He has two hard drives, both of which are connected to the same channel on the Intel controller. He's trying to install Linux to a partition on his master HD. He's also trying to set up dual-booting with an already-installed WinXP.
His DVD-ROM drive is on the other channel of the Intel controller, and this is the drive from which he's trying to do the install.
He has a CD-RW drive and a ZIP drive hooked up to the Promise controller.
He's been trying to install from RedHat 7.2 CD's with the graphical installation program. He's also tried a network installation from a nearby mirror of the RedHat site. Both freeze in the same way: the progress indicators just stop. The mouse still moves the cursor and the keyboad lights still respond when you press num/capslock. He has let the computer sit for up to 10 minutes, with no change.
You would think that with the lion share of the desktop Linux market RH's utilities wouldn't go kazoo on install. There is an option for a text-mode install, which solved my problems the one time I had the GUI go berserk. You can also open another term and run something like "dmesg | tail -f", or "tail -f /var/log/messages" during install, although I don't know if RH even cuts a log on that ramdisk for installation. I doubt it.
Whatever the problem, and its almost definately something hardware and related to something IDE and befuddling, its probably more trouble then its worth to try and debug. Mandrake, SuSe, Slackware, Debian... I've never had a problem with any of them like I have RedHat.