RE: unable to install from CD: failure to mount once kernel installed

From: Piszcz, Justin (jpiszcz_at_servervault.com)
Date: 09/21/05

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    Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 14:07:00 -0400
    To: <sethg@GoodmanAssociates.com>, "Debian Users Forum" <debian-user@lists.debian.org>
    
    

    Did you run an md5sum on the CD itself and see if it matches up with
    what it should be in the MD5SUMS file?

    Have you ever successfully installed Debian before or is this the first
    time?

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Seth Goodman [mailto:sethg@GoodmanAssociates.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2005 1:08 PM
    To: Debian Users Forum
    Subject: unable to install from CD: failure to mount once kernel
    installed

    I burned an ISO of the Sarge netinstall CD using a Windows box and
    booted a
    new box with this CD. The bootloader was able to read the CD, go
    through
    all the hardware detection stages, format and partition the hard disk
    (one
    large partition). When it got to the stage of rebooting with the new
    kernel
    on the hard drive, it was unable to mount the installation CD so it
    could
    not go any further. At first I assumed that this was either a bad ISO
    copy
    or a bad CD drive, but here's what I tried and the results. Each
    successive
    install did a complete wipe and repartition of the disk to create the
    cleanest possible install.

    1) downloaded and burned additional ISO netinstall images, both the
    140MB
    and 40MB versions: same result for three more CD's

    2) put each CD media in the Windows machine CD drive: able to explore
    subdirectories and read files without difficulty

    3) ran netinstall off floppies accepting all defaults: still unable to
    mount
    CD after otherwise successful install (2.4.x kernel)

    4) ran netinstall off floppies using "expert26" command line option to
    get
    2.6 kernel with purportedly better hardware detection ("linux26" command
    line option does not work on Sarge boot floppies): still unable to mount
    CD
    after otherwise successful install (2.6.8 kernel)

    5) upgraded Sarge to testing in order to get any possible hardware
    discovery
    updates: still unable to mount CD

    6) upgraded the kernel first to 2.6.11, then to 2.6.12 when it came out:
    still unable to mount the CD

    7) added autofs package (which is really autofs4): still unable to
    mount CD

    8) downloaded and burned a Knoppix CD ISO, booted Linux box with this
    CD:
    Knoppix loads fine and the resulting system can mount and explore the
    Knoppix CD

    9) booted the Linux box from the hard disk into the testing Debian
    distro,
    with 2.6.12 kernel: it could not mount the exact same Knoppix CD that
    would
    successfully boot Knoppix

    I think the last two tests show that it is neither the CD drive nor the
    physical CD media itself. When I try to mount the same Knoppix CD
    manually
    (specifying ISO9660) after a Debian bootup, dmesg shows a long string of
    seek errors for each successive sector. My newbie guess as to what's
    going
    on is that the hardware drivers installed by the Debian releases are
    unable
    to operate the CD drive, but the drivers in the Knoppix 3.9 distro can.
    Is
    that plausible?

    I would love to be able to use the CD drive. Any suggestions for what
    to
    try next?

    The hardware setup is:

    IBM 300PL model 6594-A3U
    Pentium III/800
    384MB RDRAM (Rambus 800MHz)
    20GB HDD as first IDE master
    48X Lite-On CDROM as second IDE master
    S3 Savage4 AGP video

    Here's some additional feedback from the standpoint of a
    computer-literate
    but Debian first-time installer (with very old and rusty UNIX skills:
    SunOs,
    pre-Solaris BSD) wishing to get away from Windows.

    I read the Sarge installation docs and as much of the Debian Reference
    Manual as I felt applied before doing the installs. One thing that I
    could
    not accomplish was the fact that the BIOS in this particular machine did
    not
    allow me to turn off shadowing for either the video BIOS or the main
    BIOS.
    The Debian docs did say to disable shadowing of the video BIOS, but were
    silent on the main BIOS. The docs, however, did not say what to do if
    you
    _couldn't_ disable shadowing of these memory regions. Is it possible
    that
    the video BIOS shadow RAM happens to be where the CD driver or some
    other
    file system piece loads (and Knoppix is smarter about not using that
    memory
    region)? I would guess that the shadow RAM function is a one-time
    ROM-to-RAM copy during hardware boot, so reusing that memory region
    later
    would not be a problem, but I really don't know how this works. Again,
    I
    would guess that overwriting this memory region after bootup would force
    the
    cache to be correct for any pieces of it that remained in the cache, but
    that's just a guess. I don't even know if this memory region is
    cacheable
    or if Debian attempts to use it.

    Another detail that was not mentioned in any of the install docs (that I
    could find) was the BIOS setting for Plug-n-Pray OS. This vintage BIOS,
    though upgraded to the latest available for that motherboard, has a
    setting
    Yes/No for this. I tried installing both ways with no difference in the
    end
    result, but the Debian manuals should probably list the preferred
    setting in
    case it makes a difference on any systems or at least a statement that
    it
    doesn't matter, if that's the general case.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    --
    Seth Goodman
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