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mcphail 09-02-2005 08:16 PM

Problem booting udev-based distros on external hard drive
Hi there.

I thought I'd have a bit of fun this evening, and downloaded Debian Sarge, SuSE 9.3-FTP and Ubuntu Breezy Colony 3 to try them out. My current set-up is a laptop with dual boot Windows XP and Ubuntu Hoary on the internal HD. GRUB occupies the MBR. I have a USB 2 external HD caddy with a 60gig ATA HD which is working well.

I tried installing the distros to the external HD. At the moment it is partitioned with a 20GB primary partition formatted ext3 and a 500MB primary partition as Linux Swap. The remainder of the drive is spare.

Sarge installed with no problems onto /dev/sda1 with GRUB on this partition. Booted via root(hd1,0), chainloader +1, boot from GRUB on my MBR on /dev/hda with no complaints.

SuSE and Ubuntu Breezy were another story. They installed the base files happily, but on rebooting into the system as above they stalled. A few of the init scripts were run (and SuSE presented it's splash screen), so the information on /dev/sda1 must have been available. However, both stopped shortly after this with the error "/dev/sda1 not available" and dumped me to a shell prompt. It would appear that udev had already been activated in the boot sequence. Exiting from the shell brought only a kernel panic.

I reckon that udev is the problem, not creating /dev/sda1 before it needs accessed. Has anyone else had this problem? Is there a workaround?



bigrigdriver 09-02-2005 09:58 PM

As I understand it, some distros offer udev as an option; some as the default device file. For the distros which offer udev as an option, on installation you may choose traditional static device files, or udev (devices built as needed, from what I've seen).

Save yourself some headaches; re-install and select static devices.

If you propose to continue with udev, then look in /etc. You may have a udev subdirectory. The udev rules file is the heart and soul of udev. If the rules are structured properly, you will not have any problems with udev. However, what some packager half-way around the world thinks are proper rules may not conform to what you think they should be.

I've googled and not found much in the way of help files, tutorials, guides, etc., on how to structure those rules. Therefore, I'm struggleing with udev, myself. Though, my struggle is just a search for understanding, because SuSE on an internal IDE hard drive isn't giving me problems.

I hope I've been able to give you ideas on what to search for via google or some other search engine.

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