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Old 06-13-2004, 06:19 PM   #1
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_Install Suse 9.1 Pro On Old Laptop - Kernel Panic (Toshiba Libretto)

Hi everyone, I would much appreciate some help getting SuSE 9.1 Pro installed on my old Toshiba Libretto L100 subnotebook. I have tried putting the Libretto's HDD in a desktop PC and installing SuSE, it seems like it should work but it didn't.

The Libretto L100 is a super-compact notebook (the size of a VHS tape) from 1997. It has a Pentium 166 CPU, 64MB RAM and a 2GB HDD. The floppy and CD-ROM drives are both PCMCIA. I've read up online about installing various Linux distributions on the Libretto, and the key problem seem to be: the Libretto floppy doesn't work under Linux, and the Libretto can't boot from a PCMCIA CD-ROM. The people who have installed Linux on their Librettos have either installed "from the hard drive", or used another PC. They also seem to know Linux, while I don't.

Anyhow, I decided to try the second method: to temporarily place the Libretto's HDD in a desktop PC. I removed the Libretto's hard drive, put it in my desktop PC as the primary IDE HDD, booted the desktop PC from SuSE CD #1, and installed SuSE 9.1 on the Libretto's hard drive. I deleted the Windows partition and set the drive up as 1.7GB root partition, 0.2GB swap partition (the last 70MB was left unpartitioned for the Libretto's hibernation feature). I specified the default installation with the full GUI and all the bundled apps. This resulted in a perfectly functional installation of Linux - WHEN the Libretto's HDD was in my desktop PC. I was happy.

BUT ALAS when I re-installed the Libretto's HDD in the Libretto, SuSE wouldn't boot - it gets about 3/4 way through booting and then reports "kernel panic". My happiness faded.

I am a total Linux newbie and have no clue why this SuSE install will boot on my desktop PC but not on the Libretto. One thing I thought of, is that the installation detected the desktop PC's RAM and hardware, which isn't what SuSE sees when it tries to boot on the Libretto. The desktop PC is a dual P3 machine with 640MB RAM (vs the Libretto's 64MB) and a mix of IDE and SCSI peripherals. But would this really cause a kernel panic? I mean, if you change the RAM or swap a peripheral on your PC, shouldn't Linux still boot?

Here is some more information on where in the boot process it all goes wrong. I've typed in below the last 20 or so lines displayed before the kernel panic.

RAMDISK: compressed image found at block 0
VFS: mounted root (ext2 filesystem).
[1] illegal instruction mount -n -tproc...
[1] illegal instruction mount -n -tsysfs...
[1] illegal instruction cat /proc/cmdline
starting udev
/linuxrc: cannot create /proc/sys/kernel/hotplug: directory nonexistent
creating devices
[1] illegal instruction cat /proc/cmdline
loading kernel/drivers/scsi/scsi_mod.ko
[1] illegal instruction insmod /lib/modu...
loading kernel/drivers/scsi/sd_mod.ko
[1] illegal instruction insmod /lib/modu...
loading kernel/drivers/scsi/aic7xxx/aic7xxx.ko
[1] illegal instruction insmod /lib/modu...
loading kernel/fs/reiserfs/reiserfs.ko
[1] illegal instruction insmod /lib/modu...
[1] illegal instruction expr substr ${ro...
[1] illegal instruction unmount -n /proc
[1] illegal instruction unmount -n /sys
kernel panic: VFS: unable to mount root fs on hda2
Again, the desktop PC that I used to install SuSE on this Libretto's HDD obviously has very different CPU, hardware, RAM, etc than the Libretto. I had hoped SuSE would still boot, so I could go in and change some of those specs.

I guess I could try installing SuSE from the hard drive. My understanding of this process is that I buy a bigger HDD, install Windows, copy the SuSE CDs to the Windows partition on the HDD, boot from a DOS floppy, then install SuSE from the HDD. However, I can't find any instructions for how to do an SuSE 9.1 install from HDD - it is not described on the SuSE website or in the manuals (I bought the shrinkwrapped version w/ paper manuals). Again, I am a newbie and don't even know what commands to use.

Also, I have a set of SuSE 9.0 Personal CDs (no documentation), in case that would work better.

Can anyone help me? Thanks.
Old 06-16-2004, 02:14 PM   #2
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Registered: Jun 2004
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Well, from a Libretto mailing list I got a possible explanation - that the SuSE installer installed a version of the kernel optimized for a desktop P3 CPU, which panicked when trying to boot on my Pentium which doesn't have the same instruction set.

Make sense? Sound right?

If this is the case, I shall have to give up on this installation method and try to install from hard drive - subject of another post . . .


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