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Re: smp problems on AlphaServer 4100

On Thu, Jan 26, 2006 at 10:47:22PM -0800, Bill MacAllister wrote:
> I probably would not be futzing around with this system at all if it was 
> stable.  Even though I can boot a 2.4.28 smp kernel and a 2.6.8 generic 
> kernel, neither is stable.  The system kernel panicked in the middle of the 
> day again today.

With which kernel?  FWIW, kernel panics in 2.6.8 are probably not going to
get much attention unless they're widespread, as most efforts are
(naturally) focused on the next release; but if you can forward us a
backtrace from these kernel panics (sent through ksymoops as needed), we
might at least be able to suggest a workaround.  Otherwise, you could try
2.6.15 from unstable, to see if it addresses your bug -- or press for it to
be fixed for etch if not.

FWIW, I think your best bet is going to be the -generic kernel, not the
-smp; ISTR hearing that the Debian alpha autobuilders also had trouble
running smp kernels, and my own experience trying to boot an SMP kernel (by
accident on a UP system) was a very odd kernel panic on boot.

> I have seen notes about qLogic problems.  This system now has two qLogic 
> controllers in it.  I don't have log files or debugging output it does seem 
> like this is a qLogic problem.  Currently the system seems to have problems 
> when it gets busy.  I thought that with 2.6 the driver was supposed to be 
> supported again.

That could be a driver problem, or it could be a hardware problem (well,
more accurately, hardware problem + unhandled exception in the driver...).
Have you tried swapping out the SCSI cables and/or terminators?

My experience with 2.6 so far is that it does far worse than 2.4 (i.e.,
won't load) with the QLA in my alpha.

> So, what are the options for SRM visible PCI controllers?  With a 2.4 
> kernel I had boot problems with a TekRam controller I tried.  Maybe I 
> should try the TekRam again in 2.6?

As mentioned in my other mail, I have an Adaptec AHA-2940U/UW/D running here
that SRM sees just fine, to my very great surprise.

> What other options are there?  I thought maybe it would make sense to put 
> an Adaptec controller in the system and put the bulk of the data out there 
> with a minimal amount of the system on qLogic served disk.  Or maybe an 
> AlphaBIOS boot?  It has been forever since I have looked at AlphaBIOS on 
> these systems, but I remember that from AlphaBIOS you can see Adaptec 
> controllers.  If I tried that I would have to use MILO to boot, right?  Is 
> that reasonable to try?

If you don't mind the fact that MILO is unsupported by Debian and you'll
therefore have to roll your own install process if you ever need to
reinstall, yes, that's reasonable to try.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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