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Old 04-15-2004, 11:40 AM   #1
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Registered: Aug 2003
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Distribution: Debian GNU/Linux
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Problems with Sarge Install (20040411-version)

There are some rather strange things with the April 11th version of the Sarge iso.


Athlon XP 2500+
VIA VT600 mother board
512 MB memory
ATI All-in-Wonder 7500 agp
60 GB EIDE HD (hda) (Win2k)
40 GB EIDE HD (hdb) (for Debian)
USB Zip100
Netgear 10/100 Nic
RealTek 10/100 Nic (on mother board)
Creative SB 512PCI

ADSL through 10Base-T to router

Previously home to RedHat 7.2, Slackware 9.1 , thought I'd give Debian a try.

Created bootable CD from sarge image.
Booted into installer from CD-Drive (hdd)
Noticed strange new menu (must be new)
Answered questions, going fine I thought.

Then ugg, problems....

Only options for networking presented by the installer PPP? Not much use, no modem, use ehernet for connection.

Autoinstalled GRUB to hda, no option to use LILO - which I prefer. It was on the original list of steps in the very first menu, no apparent way to get to it.

Goto part where it wants to install packages, asks if I want to add additional sources, can't add network sources, no networking. Try to select CD-ROM, says that I can't because I have to mount /CDRom/. Huh? Isn't it working off the CD-ROM? Can't select anything to add.

The rest fairly uneventful, root - user - etc. Pull all of the media out - Reboot.

GRUB only shows Debian, let it boot into Deb, figure I'll nuke it later replace it with LILO.

Can't find CD-ROM, mount points exist symliks /dev/hdc -> /cdrom0 /dev/hdd/cdrom1. Mount /dev/hdd as /cdrom1. ls -l the drive, yep it's there.

apt-setup select my cd-rom. (hdd / cdrom1). Finds 800+ packages. Think that's better. Start aptitude. It can't find any packages. Huh? Add my mount point to the apt sources (again) finds it, select eth package. [No ethernet packages installed by installer, only PPP given as option]. Select it fine, tell it install, says I have to insert disk into /cdrom/. What? Is that hardcoded or something? Lather- Rinse-Repeat.

find the conf file, fire up nano, yep there it is right at the top. Apt-setup changes not sticking apparently. Comment it out, add /cdrom1. Both apt and aptitude can now see and install packages from the original CD that I installed it from.

Install eth tools, debconf doesn't give me the option to add more than 1 DSN server. No joy, eth1 up, network good. Unplug cable, replug cable from eth1 to eth0, nope, plug it back into eth1 now I've got connectivity. (I hope I don't have to unplug the cable after every boot?)

Add to source list., can't connect, can't find it. Fire up nano hand edit the resolv file. Add two more DNS servers. Now we're cooking with gas. Fire aptitude back up. Select X and lilo. Runs, answer questions, want's to reboot. strange for a Linux, but OK. Reboot (GRUB->Deb)

Now I get a graphical logon, huh? What's xdm doing here, and why is it the default? Got X, don't have a window manager lovely black and white checker boxes. Killing X reboots. Remember how to get an xterm, try changing the init level (works for RedHat based distros), no joy. Several reboots later I recall from my Potato days, the only way to get Debian not to use XDM is to get rid of XDM. Ugg, it can't still be the case can it? apt remove XDM. Want's to reboot again. Has Debian gotten as bad as Windows? Reboot, finally I'm back to the command line.

No way to remove GRUB from the MBR, of course... Apt remove grub, conf Lilo , tell lilo to install to the MBR of /hda, bog standard right? Well it gives a warning telling me it's going to install to /sd(?) (I can't remember which /sd at the moment). I don't have ANY SCSI drives on this box.

Sarge IS Debian testing, I figure I'll fdisk /mbr and go back to Win2k for the moment, until I can get a newer/older version and try again. Boot into DOS, fdisk /mbr, reboot.

Windows can't find the OS, boot loader crashes. Paper weight. Win2k Recovery console - the files are still there, FIXMBR, FIXBOOT, no joy. Recover with the ERD (emergency recovery disk), no joy. Build a Win2k boot disk from another machine that has a working copy of Win2k. Dead box boots fine off the floppy (here's a link: <linux questions won't let me post the link email if anyone is interested>)

Was thinking I'ld have to overwrite the boot block with the NTFS backup, lucky for me the problem turns out to be much simpler. GRUB apparently changed boot.ini on /hda1. There's a first. instead of multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1) ...etc. it said signature(<string of letters and numbers>)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1) ...etc. Changing it back to multi(0) etc. fixed it. Back to where I was before the excursion into Debian Sarge. (Well /hdb is full of Sarge files, but that's Ok.)

I can't think that this is how a Debian install is supposed to go.

Was my first problem installing off the CD-Rom (/hdd) instead of the DVD (hdc) ? There seemed several places where /cdrom/ -> cdrom0 was seemingly hardcoded.

Is there any way to get it NOT to install GRUB? Why on god's green earth would GRUB edit my Win2K boot.ini file for anyway?

I had partitioned /hdb into 12 GB / {ext3), a 1 GB <swap>, 20 GB /home {ext3}, and 4 GB other {fat32 - to share data with Win2k} Neither Slack nor RedHat had a problem with that partitioning scheme, is there some reason why Debian might?

Anyone have an idea why lilo would want to install itself to a nonexistent SCSI hard drive?

I'ld like to try again, and this time I'll use the windows boot loader or a boot floppy to boot Deb.

Any ideas what I did wrong? What should I avoid doing next time?

Whatever guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Just my $0.02 (Canadian, before taxes)

Old 05-11-2004, 07:19 AM   #2
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Greenwood Mississippi
Distribution: Debian, LMDE, n some untus
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nettinstaller! ARGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

whew! lemme tellya, even worse...

sarge installer had lilo there as an option but failed, didnt know it had a (segmentation fault)...but lilo.conf there...; then it threw me into a framebuffer screen (i got nvidia hardware) and boink, jumbled screen

try to finish install

dont know much about grub but that it starts with zeros instead of ones; yuck, not like partitioning table

anyway, reboot to finish install...

ruh roh...grub and not boot magic
grab boot magic recovery disk

set to one or two (pro and home xp respectively) [complete hard disk images smashed into partitioning scheme with seperate bootstraping, really ingenious, anyway]

try to reboot, get the custom boot splash of home and then pro tries to start up but gets in a loop about certificates n stuff

try two, even wierder

grab xp pro, proceed to recovery console: do the fixmbr thing

voila, now i can reset my boot magic (control inside pro as the dos partition being active or at top of disk partition seemed a security hassle), succeed

go into partition magic to have a look, everything wacky
it tries to fix errors but doesnt succeed, says disk partition bad...says i should make backups and delete partition and start over!

proceed to start sarge thingy over as i'd been doin it with woody, escape before tasksel, edit sources, and apt-get update and an apt-get dist-upgrade to proceed to SID

anyway do the sarge netinstaller again, same segmentation stuff so just install grub in partition as hoped...yes!

dont know much about it but it works...will change later cause i wanna use what i can readily change and edit

all in all, sarge installer needs work...had to enter modules or check them off five times at each install, maybe to append each one at a particular time, i dunno

anyway like the fact that my linux.old will be 2.6.3 instead of 2.4.18 cause modules/monolithic in both configured so differently than 2.6.X and rolled 2.4.18

anyway, two weeks of tweaking an xp pro build, ghost it
another, couple days with an xp home build, ghost it

back to partition magic to set up partitions on hda
apply ghost version of xp pro to first partition (image to partition) *remembering to make active*
the same for xp home in second container without setting active
reboot into xp pro to add boot magic to its container
a day at adding SuSe 8.2 and a few packages along with (gui) preferences in kde (will try to save those from home and root directories to see if that will cut down on clutter)

then debian

whew, alotta stuff for one mistake that will take nearly two and a half weeks of updates....

oh yeah, firestarter broke on an apt-get upgrade

remove it, scripts, configs, and an apt-get remove firestarter
apt-get install firestarter (new deb file)
still broken same way

anyway feelya podnuh

Last edited by Outabux; 05-11-2004 at 09:41 AM.
Old 05-11-2004, 08:37 AM   #3
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I think you are better off grabbing the 110 MB Debian-base CD from: instead of the full debian sarge CDs. Installing just the base system and grabbing everything else from the net seems to work better (that is assuming you are able to get working eth0 using the installer). But I agree that the installer is a work in progress. I successfully installed to a desktop using beta3, but it is impossible to install on my laptop due to unresolved bug in pcmcia-cs.

As for lilo/grub, you can select lilo if you boot the installer with the "expert" option, but you will have to answer a boatload of questions. I just let it install grub and switched to lilo after installing with:

apt-get remove grub
apt-get install lilo
nano /etc/lilo.conf
(add entries for /boot and windows partition)

You get a nice graphical lilo boot menu.
Old 05-11-2004, 09:40 AM   #4
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Greenwood Mississippi
Distribution: Debian, LMDE, n some untus
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replyer u missed pt

i used the expert26 option and answered a butload of questions usually five times...lilo option there but had a segmentation fault whatever that is

finally after all that i got it to work and installed sid, yes sid, from the nettinst iso-cd

but still...grub which unintuitive and frankly havent used...

at least lilo lets u boot a raid from the raid itself

wondering if i should apt-get remove grub and reinstall lilo so i can get back to using my high resolution console (vga 794 and 793) have finally figured out how to get the screen and locations of notifications and such straight in lilo

as long as its there ill be a hold out
even using lilo to load SuSe

grub didnt load my XP OSs properly and they have got their own ntloaders n such as independent OSs on each partition

thanx anyway, this was more of a rant and raving, success sorta; rather than i need help

installed os has 2.6.3 and very small (at least before i fatten it up with apt-get)
Old 05-11-2004, 10:05 AM   #5
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You can get a higher resolution console using grub. Just add vga=794 to the end of your kernel line as described here:

You must have framebuffer support compiled in your kernel.
Old 05-11-2004, 02:37 PM   #6
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Greenwood Mississippi
Distribution: Debian, LMDE, n some untus
Posts: 215

Rep: Reputation: 30
i'll check it out, no use in not being versatile

will check it out, in lilo its just vga=794, havent been able to get 795 (super color, and high res) but what's difference at console anyway

have used 791 also...

anyway like i said will look, maybe a convert


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