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Alpha Newbie sarge installation problems


I got hold of an Alphastation 500 a few days ago and I'm trying to
install Sarge on it (I thought I could maybe help testing the
installer). While I'm quite at ease with Debian on intel machines, I'm a
total newbie when it comes to Alpha machines, SRM and the like, though
I've read the SRM howto. (I should probably read it a couple more times
to get things going). 

I grabbed the 5 mb cdrom iso image from 
/debian/dists/testing/main/installer-alpha/current/images/ tonight,
booted, and started the installation process. 

First problem was during hardware detection: sr_mod.o was not found, and
I got an error message. 

Then came the time to partition the disk. I wiped of the previous
partitions for which I had no use and got / and swap on the first disk, 
and /home and /var on the second disk, using ext3 everywhere. I was not
able to configure LVM, but this may be because I don't know anything
about LVM, and didn't stop to read the documentation. 

Installation went fine until I had to make my system bootable, which
failed, I was told, because aboot wanted an ext2 partition. This was
discussed mentionned on this list last january, so I won't insist. 

I got back to the partitionning step, removed the / partition, inserted
a small 2MB partition formated as ext2, not mounted at the beginning of
the disk, put back / to fit the remaining space, and relaunched the
installation of the base system which failed twice. 

The first failure was "dpkg: syntax error: unknown user 'root' in 
statusoverride file", and was caused by exim4. 

The second error because /target/usr/bin/awk was an existing symling 
on mawk and ln is not called with the -f option. 

I removed the statoverride file and the symlink and relaunched the
installation (twice) and finally got back to the installation of aboot
which failed again: the installer asked me on which partition the
bootloader should be installed, and proposed the only ext2 partition on
my machine, namely /dev/sda1, I sayed ok, and it failed because "bootcode
overlaps with partition #1. If you really want this, use -f1". 

I read some doc, and issued manually "/target/sbin/swriteboot -f1
/dev/scsi/host1/bus0/target0/lun0/part1 /target/boot/bootlx" and this
failed because "existing disk label is corrupt. Couldn't get a valid
disk label, exiting". 

I tried using /dev/scsi/host1/bus0/target0/lun0/disc and the command
ran. I rebooted the machine. I asked SRM to boot dkb0 and got the aboot
prompt, after a warning about "ext2_init: bad magic 0x1" and "aboot:
mount of partition 1 failed". Using "b 2/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda2"
produces a "Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on
unknown-block(0,0)" probably related to "VFS: Cannot open root device "sda2" or

If anyone can tell me how to get any further or point me to the
appropriate to documentation, I'll be very grateful. 

Thanks in advance. 

Alexandre Fayolle

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