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Old 01-01-2009, 07:46 PM   #1
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Question Troubles installing slack 12 on software raid with SATA drives.

Sorry for the length of the thread! I just detailed all I did so people can give feedback/comment!
THis is a pretty good question for all the "slackers" out there! I recently installed (tried) slack 12.2 on my dual sata hdd laptop (using ICH8M-e sata controller). Here's the steps I did:

booted with the dvd, started the install with hugesmp.s kernel image;
(tried to boot with other kernels, but could not find sata.i, raid.s, etc...)

ran fdisk on my 1st sata HDD as: fdisk /dev/sda and configured as this:
/dev/sda1 Bootable StartCyl=1 EndCyl=17 ID=83 System=Linux (Pri)
/dev/sda2 StartCyl=18 EndCyl=383 ID=83 System=Linux (Pri)
/dev/sda3 StartCyl=384 EndCyl=24321 ID=5 System=Extended
/dev/sda5 StartCyl=384 EndCyl=2816 ID=83 System=Linux
/dev/sda6 StartCyl=2817 EndCyl=5856 ID=83 System=Linux
/dev/sda7 StartCyl=5857 EndCyl=24321 ID=83 System=Linux

and on my second sata hdd:
/dev/sdb1 StartCyl=1 EndCyl=366 ID=83 System=Linux (Pri)
/dev/sda2 StartCyl=367 EndCyl=24321 ID=83 System=Extended
/dev/sda5 StartCyl=367 EndCyl=2799 ID=83 System=Linux
/dev/sda6 StartCyl=2800 EndCyl=5839 ID=83 System=Linux
/dev/sda7 StartCyl=5840 EndCyl=24321 ID=83 System=Linux

and then I ran mdadm to make raid arrays as the following:

mdadm --create /dev/md0 --chunk=4 --level=0 --raid-devices=2 /dev/sda2 /dev/sdb1 to create the first raid array (md0) which will be the swap;

mdadm --create /dev/md1 --chunk=4 --level=0 --raid-devices=2 /dev/sda5 /dev/sdb5 to create the second raid array (md1) which will host the / partition

mdadm --create /dev/md2 --chunk=4 --level=0 --raid-devices=2 /dev/sda6 /dev/sdb6 to create the last raid array (md2) which will host the /usr folder...

and then I created and activated the swap using:
mkswap -f /dev/md0 & to activate: swapon /dev/md0

SO far, everything went fine, no complaining and no error messages at all!

Then I started the slack install by typing "setup"

I selected ADDSWAP and it detected my /dev/md0 swap and I selected it;

And it asked to select a partition to use for the / partition=> I selected in the list /dev/md1 and formatted as ext3;

Now the setup detected other partitions and offer to select them for various mount points. I selected:
/dev/md2 to mount /usr;
/dev/sda1 to mount /boot;
/dev/sda7 to mount /home;
And then I selected "Done with selecting partitions, prioceed with install"

I selected a full install and configured all the options. It installed without a glitch. For LILO, I selected simple install, selected 1024x768 for the frame console, and didnt entered anything for LILO append parameters. For UTF-8 text console, I selected No. At this moment, I saw some very fast messages that dissapeared very quickly. With my camera, I succeded to film them (lol) and it is:
Disk /dev/md0 doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/md1 doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/md2 doesn't contain a valid partition table

I then Installed LILO to the MBR and got the same error messages again:
Disk /dev/md0 doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/md1 doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/md2 doesn't contain a valid partition table

At this point, I got a screen saying:
Warning: Unable to determine video adapter in use in the present system.
Warning: Video adapter does not support VESA BIOS extensions needed for display of 256 colors. Boot loader will fall back to text mode operation.
Syntx error at or above line 65 in file '/etc/lilo.conf'

Sorry, but the attempt to install LILO has returned an error, so LILO has not been correctly installed. You;'ll have to use a bootdisk.......
What a mess!!! What is wrong? looks like I got more than one problem!
If I reboot with the DVD, it looks like all my raid arrays are gone, and the swap partition is non existing. I need to recreate all raid arrays, and remake/activate the swap.

Any ideas? help please!! Its seriously a punch on the face! haha

Last edited by lpallard; 01-01-2009 at 07:47 PM.
Old 01-01-2009, 08:10 PM   #2
Alien Bob
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Location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
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Try running these commands after you booted from the Slackware DVD, this should initialize your raid arrays so you can access them again:
/sbin/mdadm -E -s >/etc/mdadm.conf
/sbin/mdadm -A -s
Then, take this README_RAID.TXT (it's on the DVD too) and let it guide you.

Old 01-02-2009, 04:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Alien Bob View Post
Then, take this README_RAID.TXT (it's on the DVD too) and let it guide you.

One word on this README:

The Software-RAID-HOWTO in Linux-HOWTOs says,

" 2.3. Swapping on RAID

There's no reason to use RAID for swap performance reasons. The kernel
itself can stripe swapping on several devices, if you just give them
the same priority in the /etc/fstab file."
Old 01-02-2009, 07:11 AM   #4
Registered: Nov 2008
Posts: 985

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Gents, thanks so much for the replies!

Alien Bob, Thanks for pointing me toward the Readme file and for the commands! I will try everything today and post back my results/findings!

guanx, also Thanks for your informations on the swap feature. I completely forgot that creating a raid array for the swap is useless considering the priority features (pri=1, 2, 3...) I will also try that today and post my results!

Thanks Gentlemen! As a new "Slacker", your input is priceless!
Old 01-02-2009, 08:11 AM   #5
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Remember also to set you partitions as type FD
Old 01-02-2009, 09:51 AM   #6
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Smile Fixed!! :)

Thanks to everyone for their feedback and suggestions, and because of all of you, this is now working like a charm!!

I realized that I made several mistakes, including wrong partition setup, forgot to assign type FD to the raid partitions...

I learned a lot on linux with all the troubles I had, but apparently, if it cant kill you it makes you stronger! Thanks!


fdisk, lilo, mdadm, raid, slackware

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