Redhat installation fails on my notebook

From: craigbeanhead (craigbeanhead_at_hotmail.com)
Date: 08/08/03


Date: 8 Aug 2003 09:23:28 -0700

Hi, <Warning, long post>

I posted to usenet a few months ago because I had problems installing
*any* distribution of GNU/Linux onto my notebook (Packard Bell iGo
3491). Eventually, after some pointers from some kind internet-folk
and some poking around myself in the documentation, I succeeded with a
Redhat 8.0 installation and after that a Mandrake 9.0 installation. I
put the information into a HTML page and posted it to linux-laptop.net
and www.tuxmobil.org in case others find it useful.

I've installed various distributions of Linux onto various desktop
machines and I've never, *ever* had any problems. I have constant
problems on my notebook. I understand that portables have more obscure
hardware and as such aren't as 'linux-friendly' in general, but it's
really very frustrating and I'm really trying hard NOT to give up.

In the first round of problems, I recieved machine check exceptions
which were obviously preventing me from installing anything -
apparently my bios advertises that it can accept APM requests and when
it does, it crashes. I have to pass "nomce apm=off" to get *any*
kernel to run.

I started a Redhat 9.0 install with my standard "nomce apm=off" boot
parameters and I first noticed that I couldn't use the keyboard (88
keys). I searched the net and found a post that said "pass nousb to
the kernel and it should work". I did as instructed (reluctantly,
because I use both a USB mouse and the integrated touchpad), and lo
and behold the keyboard sprung in to life, surprisingly, the USB mouse
continued to work - I don't understand why!

I selected "workstation" as the installation class, and accepted the
default answers to any questions that I was asked. It went all the way
through the three disks with no errors and installed everything
seemingly correctly, although *after* the CD copying part, and just
after the part where it says "Installing bootloader", it freezes. I
can't CTRL-ALT-DELETE, I can't use the mouse, I can't use the
keyboard.

Another thing. When my mouse works (it generally seems to be just
"inconsistent" in terms of whether it'll work or not within the Redhat
9.0 installer, rebooting sometimes makes it work, sometimes not), the
touchpad seems to be calibrated wrongly, when I move my finger
forward, it moves to the top of the screen much faster than it should,
the opposite happens when I move my finger backwards. Basically it's
unusable and I have to use the keyboard.

Summary: Why does my keyboard not work until I turn USB off? Why does
my USB mouse continue to work after I turn USB off? What is this
strange crashing phenomenon? Why does my touchpad behave in such a
strange way? Why is nothing SIMPLE!?

Thanks for reading, I hope you can help :(

-- Craig



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