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Old 09-10-2008, 12:41 PM   #1
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LILO won't install - lost the rabbit

Hi there, group!

(My first post.)

The System:

ASUS M2N-E mobo nVidia nForce 570 Ultra chipset, running RAID-1 on a pair of SATA 250GB's.
The array is partitioned into 2 primaries (2 flavors of Windows) and an extended partition of 4 logical drives.
A 3rd drive, 160GB IDE, partitioned into 2 primaries - the first of which contains a 3rd flavor of Windows - and an extended partition, containing several logical drives and a 2GB Linux Swap.

The objective:

To install Slackware 12.1 to the 2nd primary partition of the 160GB IDE drive, and direct traffic at boot-time from a floppy, using GAG The Graphical Boot Manager.

The Install:

The installation goes well, until it reaches "Installing the Linux Loader..." where it hangs. I am attempting to install LILO to the superblock. Tried installing to a floppy as well - it hangs also.

The Media:

Thinking there was something amiss with the IDE drive, I ran SeaTools for DOS long test - checked out OK.

Then, perhaps, the install discs. So, I downloaded the DVD ISO, ran the MD5 check, and burned the DVD.

Experiments (desperation):

(1) Tried a different IDE drive (ran SeaTools first), using CFDISK, created only an EXT2 and Linux Swap, remainder of drive unused. Still hangs.

(2) Assembled a 2nd simple computer (no RAID) with a single SATA drive. Linux installed without problems, and LILO installed to the superblock without a hiccup.


Is the mere presence of the RAID inhibiting the installation of LILO?
And, if so, how do I get around it?

The reason I ask is that I'd previously tried a similar scenario, using a stand-alone IDE for Linux, and RAID-1 on first a FIC VC19 mobo (HP372 chip), and then an Abit T-7 mobo (HP374 chip).

At the time, I thought that perhaps the High Point RAID BIOS was inhibiting the installation of LILO, as attempts with both boards failed, hanging at "Installing the Linux Loader...".

At one juncture, I went into the BIOS and disabled the RAID controller. LILO installed without a problem.


I've played with computers for quite a few years, and wanted to get my feet wet with Linux. Being a complete newbie, and not being able to install Linux, I can't even begin to ask the dumb questions. Perhaps Slackware shouldn't be my first choice. I was looking for a real nuts-and-bolts flavor, that I could tinker with.

I've tried so many combinations of hardware, that I've begun to lose track.

The allusion, "lost the rabbit", in the subject line, is to a scenario in dog-racing. A mechanical "rabbit" on a rail is used for the dogs to chase. The trick is, to keep the rabbit sufficiently ahead of the dogs, so they can't catch it, yet not so far as they can't see it. If they do "lose the rabbit", they do what dogs ordinarily do: wander around aimlessly, scratching themselves, sniffing each other's rear-ends...

That's pretty much where I am now.

Any help would be appreciated.

Many thanks,

- Ralph
Old 09-10-2008, 01:44 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Havant, Hampshire, UK
Distribution: Slamd64, Slackware, PS2Linux
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Hey Ralph, welcome to LQ & Slackware! Enjoy the atmosphere

I wrote a whole bunch of stuff, but actually your objective got me a bit confused ...

To install Slackware 12.1 to the 2nd primary partition of the 160GB IDE drive, and direct traffic at boot-time from a floppy, using GAG The Graphical Boot Manager.
Where is GAG installed at the moment, do you even use it now? Because it sounds like what you're trying to do is chain bootloaders, which while doable I think is probably unnecessary for your multi-boot system. If you could clarify some of the whys, I'm positive we can get something sorted out!

- Piete.
Old 09-11-2008, 07:53 AM   #3
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Hi there, Piete!

Thanks for picking up the phone.

Sorry for not giving you all the information first off. My post was beginning to look like the Tolkein trilogy as it was.

My boot sequence is:

(1) Removable (Floppy)
(3) Hard Drive
"Hard Drive" is further defined in BIOS as the Array, or IDE drive. I've set mine to "Array"

Ordinarily, I run with the floppy inserted, on which GAG is installed, and it works admirably, selecting either Windows flavour on the RAID, or the 3rd Windows flavour on the IDE.

During attempted installs of Slackware, I of course removed the floppy, so as to boot to the Linux installation on the DVD.

BTW, my IDE drive is mounted in a 5.25" removable drive tray, to allow me to more flexibly experiment with other O/S's in the future. This is one of the reasons I'd prefer to have the boot manager program on a floppy. e.g: Floppy-1 + Tray-1 gets Slackware up & running, Floppy-2 + Tray-2 runs Debian, etc. I'd like to steer completely away from writing to the MBR of the RAID. The RAID is my "office", if you will, and the removable IDE tray is my "recreation room." When I become sufficiently confident with Linux, I can migrate it to the array. If I sound a little paranoid about the RAID, I am.

I am aware that when LILO installs, it looks around the system, to see what other O/S's are installed, and generates menu items for them, enabling Linux or any of the other O/S's to be booted. I've further read that LILO can be edited so that it doesn't wait for the user to select an O/S, but immediately directs the default O/S to boot, setting the timeout to zero seconds, if you will. At this juncture, I have no idea how to edit LILO, or any other file in Linux, for that manner. It'll be fun to figure out and accomplish.

So, for the present, I'd like to stick with GAG on a floppy, to direct traffic at boot time, using LILO solely as the loader to boot Slackware.

Piete, I hope this gives you a little more to go on. I may have answered some of the why's. If not, please drop me a note.

I'm still vexed by a nagging feeling that the RAID's presence is inhibiting the intallation of LILO. It may just be a red herring, though.

I'm not at all familiar with the mechanics of posting to LinuxQuestions yet, so if this response doesn't appear as a reply to your post, but rather, as a response to my original query, please forgive me. At 65 years of age, not all the gears mesh that smoothly any more.

Many thanks for your help,

- Ralph
Old 09-11-2008, 08:13 AM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Following the white rabbit
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Ok, this suggestion may or may not appeal to you. It would seem to me that the easiest way to resolve this would be to simply disconnect all drives but the one on which you wish to install Slackware. Doing so would simplify things and may make the issue disappear.

You'll still have the option to install to the super block of the partition.

Also, editing Lilo involves editing the /etc/lilo.conf file and then re-running lilo. You may need to edit this file to be sure the drive name is correct in relation to the array once everything is reconnected.
Old 09-11-2008, 12:47 PM   #5
Registered: Jan 2005
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Ralph, age has nothing to do with learning. I've seen some mature 10 year olds that would put a lot of people to shame when using a computer. So as a mature adult you should be able to learn, amybe a little slower but you will learn if you desire.

To edit a file in unix, or GNU/Linux you can use the 'vi' editor. Whenever you want to make system/hardware configurations you must be root. So to make changes to your '/etc/lilo.conf' you must be 'root'. You can open a terminal from your desktop or switch to a terminal with 'ctl-alt Fn' where n is the terminal number you wish to use.

You would then issue the command 'su' and answer with the 'root' password. You are now able to work on the configuration. Be CAREFUL while running as root.

If you want to edit the '/etc/lilo.conf' file then either 'cd' to the '/etc' directory or provide the full path of the file to edit; 'vi /etc/lilo.conf' will open the file. If you plan on using 'vi/vim' I would suggest that you run the tutorial. You should 'man vim' to get some helpful information. To confuse you a little more, the 'vi' on Slackware 12.1 is 'elvis'. 'vi' is just shorter to enter.

You've been given some good advice. I would suggest that you look at 'Rute Tutorial & Exposition', 'Linux Newbie Admin Guide' & 'Linux Command Guide' to get some good background.

These links and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links!
Old 09-11-2008, 01:48 PM   #6
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vi is an excellent editor but does has something of a learning curve. mcedit also comes with Slack and may be somewhat easier to use for a newbie.
Old 09-11-2008, 02:09 PM   #7
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Hi there, Piete, Mason, Gary, and all!

I'm in!

I took a similar approach to what you suggested, Mason, and what worked for the old Abit IT7 mobo when this saga began, about 6 moths ago.

I first moved the "Hard Drive" setting in the BIOS from "Array" to "IDE", and tried the install. No joy.

I then disabled the SATA controller (which also disabled RAID) in the BIOS. Voila! Success.

The install hung on a 30K file, smproxy, during this attempt, so I simply reran the install, since it was evident that it was going to go to completion. It installed without a hitch, 2nd time around.

The BIOS settings are now returned to their original values, and I've added Linux to the menu in GAG. LILO stops at a screen to select Windows or Linux, but I'll take care of that, Gary, with the aid of the guidance you provided.

So, I now have Linux installed, but I still don't know why it took all these gyrations. If I ever find the definitive answer, I'll post it here.

Thanks for all your help guys.

- Ralph


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