[conspire] (forw) Re: [vox-tech] problematic computer (when installing linux) [fixed]

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Nov 17 11:35:29 PST 2004

Just forwarding this because it's an interesting Linux question to which
I absolutely lack the answer.

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 11:32:15 -0800
To: vox-tech at lists.lugod.org
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
Reply-To: lugod's technical discussion forum <vox-tech at lists.lugod.org>
Subject: Re: [vox-tech] problematic computer (when installing linux) [fixed]
X-Spam-Status: No, hits=-4.9 required=5.0 tests=AWL,BAYES_00 autolearn=ham 

Quoting Dylan Beaudette (dylan at iici.no-ip.org):

> in order to disable DMA you must start the 'expert' installer, and
> pass ide=nodma to the IDE modules.... so far so good!  However, things
> got messy when some packages refused to install (exim4 and some
> others...) so i gave up on debian.
> With the Yoper 2.1 CD, i was able to boot and install the system with
> the boot arguments 'novesa ide=nodma'

These kernel command-line arguments to selectively disable some of the
sometimes-problematic hardware autorecognition routines (plus ACPI,
etc.) can be really, really useful in installing modern Linux
distributions onto (in particular) older boxes.  Vexingly[1], though,
they _aren't standardised_.  Grrr!

Have a look at the famous "Knoppix cheatcodes" list:

As comprehensive as the Knoppix list is, your "novesa" and "ide=nodma" 
appear nowhere on it:  Instead of "novesa", you would say
"xmodule=[SomeModuleName]".  Instead of "ide=nodma", you would say
"nodma".  So, I have to wonder:  Where are these differences between /
among distributions entering into the picture?

The reason this has come forcefully to my attention is that this guy
wrote to me in e-mail, a couple of weeks ago:

He's brand-new to Linux, and had found my Web page[2] concerning Linux
suport for the Dell Inspiron 7000 laptop, which he also owns -- and on
which I've run Debian happily for many years.

He attempted to install the Debian-derived Ubuntu Linux distribution,
and got this:

  cdrom-detect: searching for Ubuntu installation media
  ide-cd 0x28 timed out
  hdc: DMA interrupt recovery
  hdc: lost interupt
  hdc: status error 0x58 drive ready seekrequest datarequest
  hdc: status error 0x00
  hdc: drive not ready for command

As it turned out, he was able to get around the problem by swapping
CD-ROM drives for one of a different BIOS rev. (as reported on the
above-mentioned Ubuntu Linux thread), but one of the suggestions I was
going to make was to try the installer with IDE DMA disabled. 

Which begs the question:  How does one do that on arbitrary Linux 
distributions, if they all implement kernel command-line options 
differently?  (Yes, I do know that more-conservative Linux
distributions' kernels disable fancy addressing modes for IDE, by

[1] As opposed to "vox-ingly".
[2] http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/inspiron7000.html

Cheers,              "Plus ça change...."
Rick Moen            http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/pictures/1861-versus-2004.jpeg
rick at linuxmafia.com      P.S.:  http://www.sorryeverybody.com/gallery/1/
vox-tech mailing list
vox-tech at lists.lugod.org

----- End forwarded message -----

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