[conspire] Soundconfig:

Bill Stoye skiffworks at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 9 07:53:57 PST 2002

Scary thought but I may be starting to understand some of this.

I understand what I need to do and with what; confusion still lies
around when to do it, what step to make the change to 'lilo.conf' and
what kernel should I be actually trying to install; should it be 2.4.18
and do I need -smp? 

skiffworks:/lib/modules# ls
2.2.20-idepci  2.4.16-686-smp

Synaptic shows 2.4.16-686-smp not installed, so the process, I believe
is negated when when a error comes up during the installation.

Another topic:
I'm able to use 'zless' but when I try to use less I get no such

skiffworks:~# man less
No manual entry for less

I thought less was more! Does xterm not have that command?

Thank you for the background/lead in to making the changes to lilo.conf,
it helps me get a grasp on what is going on, rather than just mimicking
a input where I would learn to mimic, not understand.


On Sun, 2002-12-08 at 15:26, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Bill Stoye <skiffworks at earthlink.net>:
> > In a moment of wild abandonment, I used Synaptic to get
> > 'kernel-image-2.4-686'; I freaked when I received the Error/warning
> > message with special instructions to make changes to Lilo; I'm at a loss
> > as to what to change in /etc/lilo.conf and with what, xterm or text
> > editor nano....
> At the time I wrote to you the first time, I only vaguely remembered
> the necessary details, so that's why I said (earlier):
>     If you do, be very careful to follow any special instructions you
>     see at that time, e.g., changes to /etc/lilo.conf .  (At the
>     minimum, take care to leave a paragraph in /etc/lilo.conf for your
>     old 2.2.20-idepci kernel, so you can reboot using it, in the event
>     your 2.4.x one has problems.)
> Apologies for not being more specific, but I couldn't remember at the
> time precisely what tweak you have to make to lilo.  I _do_ remember,
> now, and you can probably find it in
> /usr/share/doc/kernel-image-2.4-686/LiloDefault.gz .  (Use the "zless"
> tool to read such files.)
> Let me quote what _my_ 2.4.x Debian kernel's LiloDefault.gz file says on
> that subject, and then explain it to you in plain English, immediately
> afterwards:
>     Recent official kernel image packages (starting with 2.4.X) have
>     started installing initrd images.  If you install one of these
>     official images,  you now have to provide lilo with a pointer to the
>     respective initrd bootimage. Assuming that you are installing kernel
>     2.4.X-flavour, you need to add something like this to the lilo.conf:
>     initrd=/boot/initrd-2.4.X-flavour
> ("initrd" stands for "initial RAMdisk".)
> OK, the plain English:
> In the old days, we didn't make much use of _modules_ for hardware
> driver software in our kernels.  (A "module" is a hunk of code that's
> been compiled so that it can be dynamically loaded or unloaded from RAM
> by the running kernel, so that it's present if needed and removed from
> RAM if it isn't.)  If we bought (e.g.) a new sound card, we just
> compiled a fresh kernel that included the necessary driver in the kernel 
> image -- as part of a "monolithic" (non-modular) kernel.
> With the (now rather old) 2.2 kernel series, support for modular drivers
> in Linux improved greatly, and the Debian Project was one of the groups 
> that adopted modular kernels most enthusiastically:  If you look under
> /lib/modules, you'll find large trees of kernel modules, classified by
> category, for practically any conceivable hardware and for many other
> optional kernel features.  This is why Debian (and many other
> distributions) has been able to install on such a wide range of
> hardware.
> When the 2.4 kernels came around, the Debian people decided to use a
> newly improved feature called the "initial RAMdisk" (initrd).  The idea 
> is that, in the early stages of the boot process, lilo (or any similar
> bootloader) will tell the booting kernel about the physical disk
> location of a RAMdisk image file that the kernel is to decompress into
> RAM and mount as a small RAMdisk, as the initial root filesystem.  The
> RAMdisk contains extremely crucial hardware drivers such as those for
> your hard disk's host adapter and for certain key filesystem types (such as 
> ext2).  After pulling whatever drivers it needs from the RAMdisk, the
> kernel deallocates that RAM and mounts the _real_ root filesystem.
> Anyhow, for this to work, you have to make sure lilo knows where the 
> RAMdisk image file is, so it can inform the booting kernel. 
> To understand that, you might benefit from my "Zen of lilo" speech:
>   A lot of people never learned the Zen of LILO:
>   1.  /sbin/lilo (the "map installer") is best thought of as a compiler,
>       and /etc/lilo.conf as its source code.
>   2.  Therefore, if you change /etc/lilo.conf or any of the files it
>       points to, you must run /sbin/lilo before rebooting, to "recompile".
>   3.  You should always have a "safeboot" stanza in /etc/lilo, pointing
>       to a known-good kernel image that you never fool with, as a
>       fallback.  This ensures that if, e.g., you compile a new kernel but
>       accidentally omit console support, you can easily recover. 
> If you look at your existing /etc/lilo.conf, you'll find that it's so
> cluttered with comment lines (starting with "#") that it's difficult to
> grasp.  That's too bad.  To fix this, I recommend you do:
> $ su -
> # cd /etc
> # cp  lilo.conf  lilo.conf-COMMENTED
> Then, pare down the original lilo.conf (using nano or whatever) to 
> eliminate the comment clutter.
> Here's an example lilo.conf _without_ the comments, and with an "initrd"
> line suitable to my laptop's configuration:
> lba32
> boot=/dev/hda
> root=/dev/hda3
> install=menu
> map=/boot/map
> delay=20
> vga=normal
> default=Linux
> image=/boot/vmlinuz
>         label=linux
>         initrd=/boot/initrd.img-2.4.18-686
>         read-only
> image=/boot/vmlinuz.old
>         label=linuxold
>         read-only
> The message you got was trying to tell you to insert an "initrd" line
> similar to the above, in the lilo.conf stanza for your new 2.4 kernel.
> If you _don't_ do that (and don't run /sbin/lilo afterwards, to
> implement the change), then the booting 2.4 kernel won't be able to find
> the drivers in the RAMdisk (because it won't know about the RAMdisk), 
> and so won't be able to subsequently do things that require those
> drivers, such as find your root filesystem.
> The kernel package's installer script isn't smart enough to figure out
> every variation of lilo.conf contents, at least not well enough to edit
> it without your help, so, instead, it tells you what should be done and 
> leaves it up to you.
> OK?  I hope that helps.
> > Sorry for the delay in response, I needed a break, trying to prevent
> > burnout. I was hoping I could get Debian going but maybe I need to go to
> > a distro like Libranet.
> One nice thing about the Libranet installer is that it installs a 2.4
> kernel with the necessary initrd line already in place.  On the other
> hand, so do the many _Debian_ installers that install directly onto
> 2.4-based setups.  (When installing Debian, look for "boot flavours",
> and pick the "bf2.4" flavour.)
> -- 
> Cheers,                                     The Viking's Reminder:
> Rick Moen                                   Pillage first, _then_ burn.
> rick at linuxmafia.com
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