[conspire] (forw) June 25 MP installfest upgrade RH 7.3 PC to Centos56

Ruben Safir ruben at mrbrklyn.com
Mon Jun 27 02:57:06 PDT 2011

On Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 01:56:22AM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> Eddie Wood wrote:
> > Thanks for hosting this past Sat's installFest & the food. Thanks also
> > to Daniel's valiant effort install Centos56 to VM, then DD it over to
> > Duron 1GhZ PC upgrade RH 7.3 PC to overcome Buslogic FlashPoint SCSI non
> > support problem. Can you find out if Daniel meanwhile have found cause
> > for PAM related root login problem or not ?
> > 
> > Next weekend plan to look into upgrade PC with DVD reader plus if can
> > find Adaptec SCSI adapter to move forward.  I understand some of listed
> > concern that PC with 512MB RAM and 8+18 GB SCSI HD may not be long term
> > solution.  Current short term objective is upgrade off RH 7.3 to more
> > current RHEL compatible [Centos] Linux. 
> To explain, for those who weren't there:
> Eddie brought to CABAL a 1 GHz AMD Duron system with 512 MB RAM that had
> an installation of Red Hat Linux 7.3 on it.  He wanted to upgrade to
> something current, and to install Apache Tomcat.  In e-mail discussion,
> I suggested backing up anything he wanted to keep, and then blow away
> his antique RHL 7.3 installation and put in CentOS 5.6 for i386.  
> In the process of attempting CentOS 5.6, I was suddenly reminded of a
> tragedy that occurred almost a decade ago:   Leonard Zubkoff, CTO of VA
> Linux Systems, was suddenly killed in a helicopter crash in 2002.  Part
> of the collateral damage from that was the Linux kernel driver for
> BusLogic (formerly BusTek) SCSI host-bus adapters, maintained solely by
> Leonard.  That driver was carried forward in the mainline Linux kernel
> for some years after 2002.  Some time around the release of RHEL 4 or 5, 
> it was dropped by just about everyone from production kernels, on
> grounds of the driver being 'unmaintained upstream'.

For whatever it is worth, first, does the driver exist in the stanard
kernel?  Because if it does, then a custom compile of the kernel seems
to be the right thing to do here.  Often you can find the module code
seperately on the net and download it and compile the module.

That all being said, and with all do respect to everyone, this whole
thing is not worth it.  I have three of those duron towers in the house,
laying around.  They're not worth runnning when you can pic up an
opteron 64 bit chip computer for about $200 bucks off the used computer
market, not to mention new machines for not much more money than that,
which use about 1/4 of the power.  You'd make your money back on the
electric bill in a couple of months.


> Eddie's Duron system had both of its hard drives (SCSI-type) hanging
> from his BusLogic SCSI HBA.  Thus, he has a problem, in that, although
> the scarily antique RHL 7.3 kernel supports it, as far as we can tell, 
> nothing recent does.   Therefore, the direct-approach attempt to install
> CentOS 5.6 failed.
> Daniel Gimpelevich attempted an incredibly impressive and ambitious
> workaround:  He installed CentOS 5.6 into some sort of VM software 
> on Eddie's machine (thus relying on the VM's emulated hardware support). 
> He then fetched the 'CentOS Plus' kernel, which still includes a version
> of the orphaned BusLogic SCSI driver.  He then did some sort of
> mass-copy of the installation onto the live filesystem, adjusted
> /etc/fstab, adjusted GRUB, and booted.
> For one glorious moment, I thought it might actually work.  It was
> ambitious; it could have worked.  It was a really great idea.  As it
> happens, there was at least one problem with the thus-installed native
> CentOS 5.6 system, such that the root user was logged out immediately
> upon login attempt for reasons that were still unclear when we ran
> completely out of time around 2:30 AM, and had to give up.
> My basic assessment of the situation around 10 PM was:  Give up on the
> BusLogic, as it's orphaned and unusual hardware for which drivers are
> no longer available.  I recommended that Eddie go down to Weird Stuff
> Warehouse, Halted Specialties Company, or somewhere like that and buy an
> Adaptec AHA-2940 as a replacement.
> Eddie asked me a very intelligent question:  'Is an Adaptec AHA-2940 
> going to be able to read the filesystems on my hard drive?'  I actually
> don't know.  Sometimes changing brands of SCSI HBA works; sometimes, it
> doesn't.  The careful approach would involve migrating a copy of all
> data to be preserved onto archival media such as one or more DVD, and
> _then_ moving the hard drives to the new HBA.
> Links:
> http://www.weirdstuff.com/
> http://www.halted.com/
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