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?
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.
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
> 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" 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
> 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:
> 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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