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Old 01-20-2011, 02:33 PM   #1
stf92
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Slack distro #1 disk mistery.


Kernel 2.6.21.5, Slackware 12.0

Hi:
The following is about disk 1 (CD-R) of the Slackware 12.0 distro which, of course, is a bootable CD. I'll call it d1 for short. Also, I have three optical drives: let's call them od1, od2, od3. Some facts:

(a) d1 will boot in od1 but it won't in either od2 or od3. BIOS says 'Searching for boot record from CDROM..Not found'.
(b) Two other bootable CDs I have will boot in either od2 or od3.

From (b) it can be said od2 and od3 are in good conditions. In particular, od2 is a new drive. So its head cannot be dirty.
From (a), d1 is in good condition. But suppose its a little dirty. It happens I have a duplicate of d1 which has almost never been used and therefor is in pristine conditions. And this duplicate WON'T boot in either d2 or d3.

This said, I must add od2 and od3 were installed in a different machine than that in which od1 is. But this, I think does not change the situation.

Can somebody explain this? Regards.
 
Old 01-20-2011, 03:02 PM   #2
guanx
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Are you reading CD-R with a DVD drive? If so, what happens if you try to use a DVD+-R disc instead?
 
Old 01-20-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
jamesf
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The other possibility was that the firmware of some drives don't handle the bootblock size specified.
This bit a few people back when the change was made, but you don't hear much about it any more.

From http://mirror.leaseweb.com/slackware...nux/README.TXT:
Quote:
Techincally the --boot-load-size should be a lot bigger, like 20 or so
in order to hold the isolinux.bin boot block. However, setting it to
4 causes it to load on more BIOSes. I don't know why, but I've had so
many people report this to me that I'm inclined to believe it. But, if
the resulting discs don't boot in your machine and you find that using
a more correct value here fixes it, please let me know! If it's going
to be broken for some BIOSes either way, I'd rather be correct.
 
Old 01-21-2011, 12:34 AM   #4
stf92
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Thank you jamesf for your reply. I don't quite understand. Is the problem in the bios or in the drive firmware? Anyway, for the time being the aim is to install slack 12.0 in the "rebel" machine. Suppose I make a Slack bootable memory stick (aka pen drive). I boot the machine with the stick and then use installpkg to install the packages. Could this work? Regards.

EDIT: definitively it is the machine and not the drive. I swapped the drives between the two machines and the one in the "rebel" machine did not boot the slack disk whereas this same drive worked properly in the other machine! So, it's a problem with the BIOS and not with the drives. I never thought a problem like this could exist.

Last edited by stf92; 01-21-2011 at 02:06 AM.
 
Old 01-21-2011, 09:42 AM   #5
jamesf
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Apparently, from that note, the problem is in the BIOS. The BIOS is just a bunch of code that begins the boot process, allowing the pre-OS CPU to talk to peripherals. The BIOS then goes ahead and builds tables of attached drives, etc. Using LILO you can re-map which drive is in which table entry (see lilo.conf files that set 0x81 (Windows D:, usually) to 0x80 (Windows C to allow windows multi-boots when it isn't installed on the first drive detected.

BIOS is just code, and has bugs, too. The machine I'm typing from has bugs in the internal acpi tables and won't do USB 2 speeds unless you use 'append "acpi=force"' in lilo.conf.

Linux gets started from BIOS stuff and then largely ignores the BIOS from then on. Windows uses BIOS stuff throughout.

If you've upgraded the BIOS sometimes you need to clear the non-volatile RAM and re-set everything to get everything working correctly. If those words make no sense don't do it. ;v) Some BIOSes have rather extensive boot options, and some won't boot from any cdrom other than ide primary master or ide primary slave.

Good luck!

edit: The pendrive thing might work, there are instructions from alienBOB around. Even on the boot disk, IIRC. Wouldn't help with the machine I'm using now, though, because boot options are hard coded to floppy, ide cdrom, ide hard drive. Check your BIOS boot settings.

edit2: actually, linux doesn't get started from the bios, IIRC. the boot manager (lilo, grub, or a different one) does and then it starts the OS selected. The BIOS is hard-coded where to go on disk to start the disk boot process, but the disk boot process code may or may not use the BIOS from there on out.

Last edited by jamesf; 01-21-2011 at 09:50 AM. Reason: correction
 
Old 01-21-2011, 12:39 PM   #6
unclejed613
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i recently used one of Alien Bob's mini-CD boot images to load slack 13.1 using NFS on to a friend's machine... the main reason being that i had run out of regular CDs to burn to. i mounted the DVD iso on my main linux box and shared it as an NFS volume. i booted the target machine from the mini-CD. the target machine was an HP desktop, and i'm not sure if it had the BIOS limitations yours does. Alien Bob has boot images for many "odd" situations though and might have a boot image that will work with your machine.
 
Old 01-21-2011, 06:19 PM   #7
stf92
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Hi:

The only way I know of to clear NVRAM is to short-circuit the NVRAM battery. But I think that would leave the nvram with aleatory data.

A thing that might work is to boot with any linux live CD and then use the slackware installpkg program. However, during a typical slack installation one runs setup and, in the menu presented on the screen, the last option is 'Configure'. I think I must run this Configure after I install the packages. But how do I do it? The setup program is not on the hdd. Neither is it in the distribution disks. Regards.
 
Old 01-21-2011, 06:30 PM   #8
jamesf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stf92 View Post
The only way I know of to clear NVRAM is to short-circuit the NVRAM battery. But I think that would leave the nvram with aleatory data.
Actually, some motherboard BIOSes have a clear option, and some motherboards do it by moving a jumper for 5 or 10 seconds, or moving the jumper and turning on the system for a few seconds. Best to read the motherboard documentation.

Quote:
A thing that might work is to boot with any linux live CD and then use the slackware installpkg program.
Probably not. Unless you exercise some care the paths like /etc and /usr would point to the livecd. You _can_ do it, but better read up on how.

Quote:
However, during a typical slack installation one runs setup and, in the menu presented on the screen, the last option is 'Configure'. I think I must run this Configure after I install the packages. But how do I do it? The setup program is not on the hdd. Neither is it in the distribution disks. Regards.
[/QUOTE]

That tool is called pkgtool. Just run pkgtool from the command prompt. But, again, unless you've gone to the trouble to set things up correctly pkgtool won't do what you think it is doing.
 
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:51 PM   #9
allend
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There was a long thread about this issue when Slackware 11 was released that canvased various workarounds.
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...creepy-510648/

Solutions included:
1. Making a new boot CD with boot-load-size=4 (e.g post#48 and post#63)
2. Booting with disk 1 from Slackware 10.2 and then swapping in the Slackware 11 disk 1. (Not viable for Slackware 12 due to the change in kernel and glibc versions ; post #66)
3. As already mentioned by unclejed613, using Alien Bob's mini-CD boot images (post #75)
4. BIOS upgrade (post #51)
5. USB or floppy boot (e.g post #38)
 
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:10 AM   #10
stf92
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Hi:

And sorry for the delay. I finally could boot the infamous machine (or the infamous disk). With reference to allend's suggestions, booting with a floppy did not work out, although I took sbootmgr.dsk from my own distro. The floppy boots OK. But then it prompts to press any key and, when the key is pressed, it reboots the machine!

But all's well that ends well. I followed suggestion number 1 and, lo and behold, I could boot and, of course, install using the same disk. That is, I now have a Slackware 12.0 disk #1 which is a replica of the original one except for the boot block size, which is now 4.

I must note this solution had already been pointed out by jamesf in post #3. In the link he gave me, the mkisofs command has a mistake, though, for in the option -sort, the path relative to / must be given. At least in mkisofs 2.01. Thanks to all of the posters for your kind interest,

Enrique.
 
  


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