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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 07-20-2004, 02:29 AM   #1
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bios wont recognize HD, is it possible to use?


Hello everybody,

I just need to know: if my bios doesn't support a 80 Gb harddisc, can I use it with linux? I think linux doesn't need the BIOS to access the HD, is that right? so I can boot from some other device and linux will be able to use the HD?

greetz,
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Old 07-20-2004, 02:56 AM   #2
Frustin
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if the bios doesnt see the drive then you cant use it, period. are you sure you dont have the jumpers/cables incorrectly plugged in? checked for a bios update?
 
Old 07-20-2004, 03:14 AM   #3
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That is true for the primary drive, but not necessarily for the other drives. And in fact, if your BIOS only recognizes part of your drive, you would still be OK as long as your kernel is resident in the section of the drive that the BIOS recognizes. If the kernel can boot, it will then figure out the real size of the drive.

So if your BIOS only recognizes part of the drive, make the first partition a 10 MB boot partition, and you should be OK.

EDIT:

I just re-read your post.

If you are trying to use the 80 GB drive as a secondary drive, and are actually booting from a drive that your BIOS recognizes, then you will have no problem at all.

Assuming of course, that it is actually a BIOS problem, and the drive isn't just faulty, or not installed properly.

Last edited by MS3FGX; 07-20-2004 at 03:18 AM.
 
Old 07-20-2004, 03:19 AM   #4
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i dont get it, if the drive isnt being seen by the bios how is _any_ part of it going to be recognised.
 
Old 07-20-2004, 03:39 AM   #5
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the drive is working very well, it's just I try to put it in an old computer. unfortunatly the bios won't recognize any space on the drive but that's ok, I'll try to setup a network boot for this thing... makes it really interresting

thanx for reply,
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Old 07-20-2004, 04:11 AM   #6
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Well if it isn't recognizing any of the drive, then that is a problem. But only if that is the primary drive. If the drive is just a secondary drive, setup as a slave to the primary drive, the BIOS doesn't have to detect it. Linux completely ignores the BIOS when it comes to drive detection, so it doesn't matter if it is detected or not.

If however, it is the primary drive, and the BIOS doesn't support the full size of the drive, but will recognize at least a portion of it (for instance very old BIOSes simply had a cap as to how many MB they could handle), you can place the kernel on the portion of the drive that is recognized and let the kernel handle detecting the full size of the drive.

So, what you could do would be to find the smallest drive you can get, something under 1 GB, and install the kernel to that drive (which should be detected without a problem) and then install everything else to the 80 GB drive, which your distro's installer should have detected, regardless of the BIOS.
 
Old 07-20-2004, 04:20 AM   #7
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well I don't have any space left in the oldie for an extra harddisc so I'll go for the network boot, using kernel from a server and root filesystem from the harddisc. shouldn't that work? the case is a little small 'cause it's an old sony radio (dutch site, but nice pics click here) the case modding is done by a friend of mine but he asked me to install a minimal linux system on it (I'm compiling LFS for him now...) we can also use a smaller 20 Gb disc wich is supported by the bios but 80 Gb would be great we will try out if the bios can detect the first part of the disc with "custom settings" for hd in the bios, so we can put the kernel there or else we'll make a network boot...

greetz,
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Last edited by iluvatar; 07-20-2004 at 04:28 AM.
 
Old 07-20-2004, 04:28 AM   #8
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A network boot would work, you could load the kernel into memory, and mount the 80 GB as /.

Could I ask what the use of the 80 GB drive is? Is it going to simply be for storage, so that you can store videos and the like on it (this seems to be a media-center type device).

If so, there are some more exotic methods of using the drive and booting the system.
 
Old 07-20-2004, 04:36 AM   #9
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yes the harddisc is for storage, MP3 files and the linux install only as there's no monitor connected to the machine, the control is done using the buttons on the case and/or the remote control, output is given on a small LCD display. the linux install won't take much space, as it will be a stripped down LFS build... however we could use the network boot with root filesystem over NFS, it's not preferred, as we need a server to provide the root filesystem. the most ideal situation is the MP3 box operating completely on itself. Let's hope the bios can recognize some MB's...

greetz,
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Last edited by iluvatar; 07-20-2004 at 04:38 AM.
 
Old 07-20-2004, 10:00 PM   #10
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How large is your LFS system going to be?
 
Old 07-21-2004, 02:10 AM   #11
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honestly I dont know yet... I'm currently building it (almost finished) according the 5.1.1 books defaults, we must write some custom software for the system, and after that I will strip it down... my 5.0 lfs I build was just 100 mb without really stripping down, so I'm curious about how far I can go with stripping down... maybe someone has some hints about that? I want to remove all debugging and unneeded symbols (wich is explained in the lfs book), remove the compiler completely, remove some unneeded programs like Vi, gawk etc etc, and I guess there are many libs wich are never used by the system...

greetz,
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Old 07-21-2004, 02:27 AM   #12
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i had a running linux (i designed a thin-client product in my last place) using SVGA-libs for the graphics and dialog as the gui, that was just under 4 meg in size.

The minimum that i could get with X11 and perl-TK as the gui (i didnt have a window manager) was just under 30meg. I was using all the latest libs that you could get from standard linux installs. I didnt use any of the "tiny-libs" that you can get as i wanted minimal fuss.
 
Old 07-21-2004, 02:47 AM   #13
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Yeah, 100 MB is huge as far as embedded Linux goes, you can get it down much smaller than that.

I have an embedded version of Slackware down to 30 MB with FTP, SSH, DHCP servers, plus Samba.

The reason I asked was because if you can get the size of your OS down, you could put it on a Compact Flash card and boot your system with that. It would be a cheap and very effective method, plus since the OS would be stored as a read-only image on the CF card, it is nearly fool proof, since it is impossible to mess up any system files once you have them setup the way you want. It would also be very small, much smaller than a HDD, so you wouldn't have any space problems inside your case.

I use this system to boot my embedded distro, and it works great. I use it for network appliances, but it would also work great for what you are trying to do.
 
Old 07-21-2004, 03:03 AM   #14
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thats what i did for the thin-client. it was a tiny little motherboard with a compact flash slot mounted on the board.

the initial problem i had with it was getting lilo to boot from it, a very fiddly lilo config that was.

Another thing to note is i didnt use any swap space at all, indeed using a flash card you cant really as it only has a certain number of writes and using swap on it will cause it to wear out very quickly.
 
Old 07-21-2004, 04:08 AM   #15
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You can't really use the CF cards for any writes.

I only use it to hold the initrd, which loads into a RAM disk. The whole system runs from RAM. The only thing I do write to the CF card is /etc, so that I can save system changes.

I also didn't use LILO to boot it. I formated it FAT and used SYSLINUX. Since my system doesn't run from the CF card, it doesn't really matter which FS is on it, it is simply for storage.
 
  


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