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New Computer -- Changing Grub with 'noapic nolapic'

Posted 08-03-2008 at 03:43 PM by radiodee1
Updated 11-26-2008 at 05:23 AM by radiodee1

This text originally comes from somewhere else. On top of that it's outdated, as the current kernel in lenny has passed the kernel being written about in this post. However the post shows a couple of things, like how to edit the kernel line in grub, and that the 'noapic nolapic' option was necessary for the 2.6.22 kernel for the Inspiron 1521. Also of note with regard to this post is that I only have dial-up internet access at home. I had to go someplace else and find a wireless hotspot for broadband access. This was a major obstacle.

--Changing Grub with 'noapic nolapic'--
When I first installed debian on this computer it was Etch, or 'stable'. Installation itself went smoothly and pretty quickly. Immediately I found out I didn't have sound, modem, or screen resolution. This was all after installation. Installation itself went pretty well. The installer did its job, and the kernel booted up right away after installing.

I decided I wanted to get newer software to address some of my problems. The way to do this was to get the wireless to work and then go someplace that had wireless routers and then do a dist-upgrade. My strategy was to get a newer kernel. I went to unstable, and then also to backports to get a 2.6.21, and then a 2.6.22 kernel, but I had problems right away. They installed right, but they didn't boot right. They took up to 15 minutes to boot. Then when they were booted they acted wrong. The screen would freeze until I pressed a key or used the mouse.

I found out much later that I could get the kernel to work by passing two parameters to it on the kernel line of the boot loader. These two parameters were 'noapic' and 'nolapic'. After that the computer would boot up quickly and respond normally while operating. The parameters effect how the computer handles interrupt requests, and my modification probably made my computer a little slower. It also effectively removed one of my processors -- one of two.

The file that has to be edited is located at '/boot/grub/menu.lst' and the new kernel entry looks like this:
title Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.22-2-k7
root (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22-2-k7 root=/dev/sda7 ro noapic nolapic
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.22-2-k7
Notice the end of the line that starts out 'kernel'. It says 'noapic nolapic'. I'm hoping that after the newest kernels are added to Lenny, I won't have to pass the kernel 'noapic nolapic' any more, but that might not happen.

EDIT: my last comments reflect my opinion at the time, not knowing that the kernels that would later be released for lenny would all work on my system. At this point I was still using bcm43xx for any wireless internet connection.
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