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Wow, lucky you. libata has pretty ruined all of the CD players' ability to just play a disc (no digital transfer), so I'm left with only cdda-player from the libcdio package. Upon inserting a data disc, the libata version of mounting a disc can fail two or three times before one finally takes, whereas the old IDE driver would wait patiently for the firmware to load the disc. I'd still use the IDE driver for CD-ROM, but compiled in the kernel, the IDE driver wants the HDDs as well. I'm not sure if DEPRECATED meant that the driver was deprecated or that my hardware was deprecated, but my luck has been very good with libata on hard disks; that trumps CD-ROM flakiness issues. cdrecord works well with the libata and sg interfaces, too.
13.0 was the last version that supported the Legacy ATA (/dev/hdx) format.
13.1, 13.37, 14.0 and 14.1 will not install from cd or dvd. I did install 14.1 via NFS, but CD/DVD drive has access issues.
The motherboard is an old SIS model, it's 13 years old...and there's probably some glitches. Could be DMA issues, as I found a few other threads here about a similar issue with 13.1 about some Marvel chipset. Just posted to see if others may have already done the 'huge.i' kernel boot build.
The system isn't a priority for me, so it's waiting for me to create my own boot disc with Legacy IDE support.
Legacy IDE support is depreciated, but SO is this system. I'm running 14.0 on an old Dual 200Mhz Pentium Pro board, and it works fine using libata, since it's an AMI board with an Intel IDE chipset. This old PPro MB BIOS doesn't recognize HD's larger than 8 Gig, but Linux sees my 80GB drive with no issues. Some boards work, some don't.
The issue here is that I don't want the kernel to make assumptions for me, like mode setting. I'll run some other popular OS for that. I'm getting tired of all this 'planned obsolescence' of technology. I still run 486/586 systems...and they're running Slack 10.2 or 11.0 since newer releases are too much for a system with 40-80MB of RAM, and the old video drivers aren't supported in newer versions of X.
I'll figure it out. I remember hacking some REALLY OLD Slackware kernels to support the SCSI adapter in my old ThinkPad Dock I...so this isn't a show stopper!
Don't plan on things being rosy. I've no problem getting these PCs to boot in 32 MB of RAM, but those are non-X11 setups. X11 can wreck those plans instantly, even sticking with traditional window managers. A few things require the udev libraries, but if you choose to install the udev system but not run udevd, you'll save some boot time and memory.
My last NFS install (to a Pentium III/733 Dell, Intel 8xxx "810e" mobo) was a month ago. It went fine.
My last usage of the IDE driver was some time in the kernel 3.10-rc series, and it went fine. I don't know how many of the block-layer features (like write barriers) work or work well with the old driver, but the IDE driver was like old times, AFAIK. Even those cryptic old error messages are still there.
The last time I used X11 on my oldest PC (Mach64 chipset), the X11 performance drove me to rip out X11. I remember X11 on the same PC when it was new, and the performance was simply better back then. It's not fast on Intel 810, but it's acceptable and less buggy than before.
I couldn't tell you much about KMS. I think that I tried the Mach64 framebuffer console as an option but not a requirement, abandoning it because to press the Up key to get some bash history either writes out all on one line or is otherwise funky. For the Intel 810 chipset, the framebuffer still works and is also not a requirement to use X11. Some time ago, I realized that console-to-X-to-console switches are a bit flakier than they used to be, so I've been sticking with VGA for that PC. In fact, unless I rip the console out altogether and go serial, it's been VGA or bust on all but one of my PCs.
I wanted to play with OSS/Free (no ALSA), but the driver list seems way shorter than it was in the old days.
Prediction: Things will go slowly for you. However, precisely because the authors have left many drivers alone to collect dust, they might might still work for you. Heck, the source code to the i810/i815 section of the Intel X11 driver states in advance "welcome to the attic."