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Initial d-i success on alpha

3PI'm pleased to report that, thanks to the help of Santiago Garcia
Mantinan, a bootable d-i netinst CD is now available for linux-alpha at
http://gluck.debian.org/cdimage/testing/netinst/alpha/ alongside the
existing i386 images.  The CD should be bootable on any SRM-capable
alpha system; if anyone has an experience to the contrary, I'd
appreciate knowing.

While the CD does boot, installing is very much a different story; this
is definitely still alpha quality.  You can boot into the installer,
but I've found the following various problems in my initial testing:

 - the kbd chooser segfaults.  This seems to be a different bug from
   205381, as that bug was reported closed in 0.26 and that's the
   version on this CD.  I'll try to investigate.
 - the language chooser gives me strange results: choosing Catalan gives
   me Spanish, choosing Spanish gives me Swedish, and choosing whatever
   language is above Spanish in the list (in unrepresentable glyphs)
   gives me Spanish.
 - debootstrap fails with an error ',: applet not found' (IIRC -- I
   don't have the log in front of me right now).  That's game,set,match;
   can't do much if you can't start the actual install. :)
 - d-i is using cfdisk for all of the partitioning work, and cfdisk
   doesn't understand BSD disklabels.  Since this CD only boots on
   SRM-capable machines, and SRM *only* understands BSD disklabels, this
   makes partitioning a bit of a challenge. :)  (fdisk works just fine
   for partitioning, but fdisk isn't in the d-i menu.)

There is also as yet no support for MILO-using systems.  I no longer
have access to any hardware running ARC, so I have no way to test MILO
support -- and there doesn't seem to be a Debian package for MILO
either, so some work is probably needed in this area by someone with an
interest in the systems which need this.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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