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Old 05-19-2005, 11:16 PM   #1
pfschim
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Registered: Mar 2005
Location: NCAL, SF Bay Area
Distribution: Kanotix64, FC3 64, Suse 64
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multiboot, multi HD, multi distro install help


I am in need of advice on how to install Suse 9.2 x86_64 in a multiboot, multi HD system.

I currently have WinXP and Kanotix64 working in apparent harmony on this system and want to have a go with a non-Debian distro. I tried FC3 for a month and it installed ok, but it had some hardware recognition issues that made me decide to dump it.

Hardware is:
AMD64 3200, ASUS K8V SE Deluxe, 1gb DDR, ATI Radeon 9800XT, Audigy Sound.

HD population is:
IDE
/dev/hda = 80gb WinXP NTFS

SATA
/dev/sda1 = 40gb NTFS
/dev/sda2 = 1 gb linux swap
/dev/sda3 = 10gb Kanotix64 reiserfs
/dev/sda4 = 10 gb ext2 ... want to put Suse 9.2 x86_64 here
/dev/sda-1 = 16gb free unformatted

USB
/dev/sdb = 80gb NTFS external USB HD for backups

I tried the Suse automated install and it appears to want to try and install on /dev/sdb .. which is the external USB HD. I then tried the manual install and it seemed to not be happy with my SATA environment (one HD, non-Raid using the VIA controller not the Promise).

Also, I have become fairly comfortable with GRUB, so that is the boot loader that I would prefer for the system.

any advice on how to get Suse to see and install on /dev/sda4 ?

Thanks

Paul
 
Old 05-20-2005, 05:33 AM   #2
fuzzyash
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Melbourne Australia
Distribution: Fedora Core 4
Posts: 184

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What hardware recognition issues in particular did you have with FC3? If your hardware works under one distro, it will work under all distro's, you just need to install the correct kernel modules/drivers & alike.

What do you mean by "seemed to not be happy with my SATA environment"? What kind of disk is it? Does SuSE see it at all? or does it not even show up?

Now a question for you:

Is Kanotix64 like Fedora, SuSE, Debian, Slackware, etc... in that it installs & configures packages to your hard drive, then all work is done off the hdd, OR, is it more like a distro on a CD, like Knoppix, but aimed more at being a usable OS rather than a rescue CD, with the option of copying the filesystem to your hdd??
 
Old 05-20-2005, 12:24 PM   #3
pfschim
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Registered: Mar 2005
Location: NCAL, SF Bay Area
Distribution: Kanotix64, FC3 64, Suse 64
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Fuzzyash -

Well, I respectfully disagree on your point re "if hardware is recognized by one distro, it will be recognized by all". That has not been my experience at all. FC3 had problems with recognizing my Audigy sound card. I never was able to get audio to work despite following many forum posts and wiki/how-to guides. Also, I could not get xmms to "see" my mp3 directory on the /dev/hda1 NTFS partition, something that Kanotix64 did without pause. FC3 also could not detect my external USB HD. I also had the same kind of issues with Knoppix and Ubuntu.

My SATA drive is a Western Digital WD80JD attached to the Via 8237 controller on the Asus K8V SE Deluxe MB. Suse does see and configure the SATA controllers (there are 2 on this MB .. Via and Promise), but warns me about lack of SATA support issues on Kernel 2.6 (vs SATA support on 2.4). When the automated install routine comes to the start install task.. it suggests installing to SDB, odd, as SDB is my external USB HD. Suse does not present HD SDA1 as an install option .. I guess it does not "see" it. I tried the manual install, but it hung during the YaST startup portion of the process.

I'm not sure I quite understand your question to me but: I think Kanotix is a Debian/Knoppix clone with highly refined scripting for device recognition and configuration. It does run as a Live CD and will allow for the creation of a persistent /dev/home directory on the HD. It also has a very straight forward HD install process which is what I have done. It is the the only distro out of 4 I have tried over the past 6 months that simply worked with all my hardware on the first try without any real configuration tweaks or fiddling. However it works, it is a very satisfying distro for a first timer.

That being said, I'm aware that there are many distros out there and I would like to continue to become more familiar with them and Linux in general. So, based on reading some reviews I decided to try and install Suse and possibly a BSD (netBSD ??) distro.

So, if you have any advice on my original question, I would certainly welcome it.

Thanks

Paul
 
Old 05-20-2005, 02:18 PM   #4
fuzzyash
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Melbourne Australia
Distribution: Fedora Core 4
Posts: 184

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What I meant by my "if hardware is recognized by one distro, it will be recognized by all" comment is that if one distro can do it, then with enough tweaking, fiddling, hair pulling & general yelling, screaming & dog kicking, you should be able to download, configure, install & tweak all the same bits & pieces that "the-distro-that-could" used to do whatever it did to get it to work. This is the beauty of Linux & open source software, if it exists, it can be used by all!
In other words, out-of-the-box, all distros are different, but if you have the know-how, persistence & time, they can be modified to the point where they are unrecognisable! So once you've been using Linux for about 10 years or so, you, or I, MIGHT be able to figure it out.

As for your original question, I have never tried to install SuSE so unfortunately I can't offer much there, I can say though that I have 3 SATA drives in mine, 1 200gig WD & 2, 32 gig, 10,000 RPM WD's in RAID on a Promise controller. Have you tried removing the USB drive & running the install process? Is there a point at the start of the install process that asks if you would like to install any drivers before trying to load the hdd's? I have noticed on my system that there are kernel modules for Via SATA, it is called sata_via.ko, & being a 2.6 kernel, yours should also have it. When the install process starts, before doing anything at all, try hitting <ALT><CTLR>F1, or maybe F2, or F3 & so on to see if one of them comes up with a command prompt that you can enter commands at. I know Fedora does this so maybe SuSE does too. Then type:

lsmod | grep via

& look for any modules that have "via" in their name, if there is nothing, try:

modprobe sata_via

& then hit <ALT><CTRL>F7, or maybe F8, or F9, or something to get you back to the install terminal. If this works then you might find that your hdd's are accessible for installing to, it would be best to try this with the USB hdd unplugged.

Another thing to check on is your BIOS config as if this is not setup correctly then there is no way of the OS finding the hdd's in the correct order.

Also, if you want to dual-boot then you will need a /boot partition. As a hangup from the "olden days", kernels MUST be installed BELOW the 1024 cylinder. So the best thing to do is to have a 50 or so mb partition at the very start of the disk which will be /boot under Linux, then, if you also wish to boot Windows, the second partition should be where you put your Windows System, this should be just big enough for a base install of Windows, about 4gb, then have another partition anywhere else that is where you install the apps under Windows, & remember never to install anything except system critical stuff on the C: drive. This will ensure that both the Linux & the Windows kernel's both reside below the 1024 cylinder.

I'm afraid I can't offer you much more than that at the moment. Post back here when you've tried a few things & let me know how you're getting on. Good Luck, & may the "source" be with you!
 
Old 05-25-2005, 06:28 PM   #5
pfschim
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Registered: Mar 2005
Location: NCAL, SF Bay Area
Distribution: Kanotix64, FC3 64, Suse 64
Posts: 20

Original Poster
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figured this out

fwiw...
I figured out how to get Suse 9.2 x86_64 installed in my dual disk (PATA/SATA) multiboot (WinXP, Kanotix64, FC3 x86_64) system.

I just disconnected the external USB HD and this made the Suse installer much happier (but I did have to ignore the RAID warnings). I had to repoint the installer to /dev/sda4 on the SATA drive instead of the /dev/hda1 PATA. It installed fine.

I also had to abandon the Debian supplied GRUB bootloader and edit Suse's GRUB *.list file to get my other distros back to the bootloader. It helped to have a copy handy to replicate the individual GRUB entries for each.

So, all is now well and I am able to use and explore yet another *nix distro !

Next up .. NetBSD to try Unix I think

Regards

Paul
 
  


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