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Old 05-09-2004, 02:25 PM   #1
LitlJay
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Slackware install and Promise PDC20270


Y'know, the reason I first migrated from Windows to Linux was to escape the bugginess and to gain performance. Having been a linux newbie, Mandrake seemed like the natural choice.

Only thing is, the machine is no faster and is no less buggy. The software may be free, but I can't run my games (thus my having left windows on the machine). I am also inundated with packages that I will never use and a package removal tool that *sometimes* works like it is supposed to. It's time to graduate to something better.

I want to sacrifice my cutsie little graphical configuration tools and give slackware a whirl instead.

The system setup under mandrake (which I intend to keep), while long, is/was actually pretty simple:

hda = single fat32 partition for WinXP (mainly for games)
hdb = DVD ROM
hdc = DVD Burner
hdd = Zip drive
hde = single ext3 partition for linux (root gets mounted here)
hdg = single fat32 partition for data storage
hdi = single fat32 partition for MP3's
hdk = one swap partition and one fat32 partition for the windows pagefile.

hde thru hdk are the 4 controllers on a Promise Fasttrak 100 TX4 (the one with 2 PDC 20270 chipsets). I have decided that keeping my stuff on separate disks is more important to me than having a RAID array that is not much faster than a single disk anyway, so I am not using it as a RAID card any more than having used the Promise "FastBuild" BIOS utility to define the 4 disks as 4 single-disk striped arrays (weird, isn't it?).

I use System Commander to switch between OS's and I have already created and formatted all of the partitions using PartitionMagic, so I should have no need to be messing with fdisk or cfdisk, and I only need to install lilo on the root superblock: hde1 (or perhaps ataraid/d0p1?)

I obviously can't use the bare.i kernel for installation because it won't acknowledge the presence of the Promise card; I have to use ataraid.i. When I do so, it recognizes the two 20270 chips just fine. However, when I try to run setup I get a message telling me that there are no linux partitions detected. I know they are there. I created and formatted them.

I did notice that I now have devices /dev/ataraid/d0 and /dev/ataraid/d0p1, but this is far short of the 4 disks and 5 partitions that I would expect to see under ataraid.

I'm sure its something painfully simple that I never learned while mandrake was holding my hand.

So what am I missing?

TIA

J

Last edited by LitlJay; 05-09-2004 at 02:32 PM.
 
Old 05-09-2004, 07:27 PM   #2
LitlJay
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Quick *bump* along WITHOUT a few useful attachments.

I have my dmesg and lspci outputs in text format, but no way to show them to anyone! I guess you can just ask me if you want to see them and I will email them to you.

J
 
Old 05-09-2004, 08:03 PM   #3
Aussie
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What did you use to create the linux partitions and have you tried using cfdisk on the drives before you run setup?

And I'm going to move this to the slackware installation forum.
 
Old 05-09-2004, 08:23 PM   #4
LitlJay
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Quote:
What did you use to create the linux partitions
PartitionMagic. Used it with Mandrake and about a half dozen other OS's without a hitch.

Quote:
have you tried using cfdisk on the drives before you run setup?
I did. I used PartitionMagic to remove both the ext3 partition from hde and the swap partition from hdk, then tried running either cfdisk /dev/hde or cfdisk /dev/hdk to create the partitions and I got:

FATAL ERROR: Cannot open disk drive
Press any key to exit cfdisk

I then tried cfdisk /dev/ataraid/d0 and got:

FATAL ERROR: Bad primary partition 0: Partition ends after end-of-disk
Press any key to exit cfdisk

cfdisk /dev/ataraid/d4 netted:

FATAL ERROR: Cannot open disk drive
Press any key to exit cfdisk

Something wierd is going on, methinks.

Last edited by LitlJay; 05-09-2004 at 08:46 PM.
 
Old 05-09-2004, 08:38 PM   #5
Aussie
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Have you tried booting with the bare.i kernel and does it see the drives as plain IDE devices at all?
 
Old 05-09-2004, 08:48 PM   #6
LitlJay
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I have and it doesn't.

Be sure to check out my edited reply above. Nothing really new, just more thorough.
 
Old 05-09-2004, 08:56 PM   #7
Aussie
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OK, one last question. What version of slackware are you trying to install?
 
Old 05-09-2004, 09:00 PM   #8
LitlJay
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9.1

I like your Q's. They are easy.
 
Old 05-09-2004, 09:35 PM   #9
Aussie
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Well, I'm all out of ideas apart from this last one, and that is to try the ataraid kernel from slackare-current, you'll need to make a boot floppy with it and see if it detects the drives correctly.
 
Old 05-10-2004, 04:48 PM   #10
LitlJay
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OK, now you lost me. "slackware-current" ???
 
Old 05-10-2004, 05:25 PM   #11
Aussie
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"slackware-current" is slackwares development branch, and will eventually be the next version of Slackware. It has a more recent kernel than 9.1 and from a quick google I did yesterday I got a few hits that pointed to a problem with the drivers for your raid controller that may be fixed in the latest kernel.
ftp://carroll.cac.psu.edu/pub/linux/...kware-current/
 
Old 05-10-2004, 06:24 PM   #12
LitlJay
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OK! Now we're getting somewhere.

I made a floppy using rawwrite and the ataraid.i image in the bootdisk directory of the ftp site you linked. I had to watch fast, but as the system was loading, I think I caught quick glimpses of hde and so forth.

BUT

I'm not so sure because I couldn't specify ataraid.i at the boot: prompt. I had to just hit enter and let it run.

then it stops with

VFS: Insert root floppy disk to be loaded into ram disk and press enter

should I have specified the cdrom at the boot prompt? If so, how? (I'll be tinkering with it while I await your response, so I may reply to myself here).
 
Old 05-10-2004, 06:35 PM   #13
Aussie
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What it wants now is the first of two floppy install images, you can find them along with the instructions on what to do with them in the rootdisks directory of the 9.1 CD.
 
Old 05-10-2004, 06:46 PM   #14
LitlJay
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So I lied.

I gave it ramdisk hde=cdrom at the boot prompt, and the whole affair flopped.

It sounds like I will have to live with another distribution or roll my own kernel, which I am just not bold enough to do yet.

Let's take a step backward. I want a distro that has the meat and potatos (i.e. the kernel, xfree86, and KDE) and not much else. In fact I can add X and KDE after the fact if I have to. I just want one without the fluff that slowed mandrake down so much (it took longer to do anything than windoze xp!) and with the reputed speed of slackware.

I know this is a hotly debated topic, but you have obviously been around the block enough times to help me make a more informed decision than I would on my own. Any suggestions for a different distro?

(I'm trying the root disks as I type this)

Last edited by LitlJay; 05-10-2004 at 06:59 PM.
 
Old 05-10-2004, 07:05 PM   #15
Aussie
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If you go back and read my previous post you'll know what to do, a cdrom is not a ram disk. Once the two rootdisks have loaded into ram you will be at the stackare install root prompt, from there you can do "dmesg | less" and look for signs that the ataraid from current has detected your drives, if it has you can then install from the 9.1 cd but you will need to either install the kernel from current or build your own kernel, I would do the second and there are slackware instructions on how to do it for newbies in this thread.
 
  


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