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Bug#238601: Debian installer working extremely slow on low memory mac68k system

Package: installation-reports

Debian-installer-version: 20040313-nativehd from http://people.debian.org/~smarenka/d-i/images-m68k/daily/mac/

uname -a: Linux debian 2.2.25-mac ..... 68040 GNU/Linux    # from memory
Date: 20040316, 15:00 - 20040317-?
Method: Booted kernel and ramdisk from MacOS HD. Did network install from ftp.nl.debian.org, no proxy. Booted with "ramdisk_size=20000" and "DEBCONF_PRIORITY=low" added to my 'normal' Linux/mac68k bootoptions to be able to skip partitioner-step, because that hung on previous attempt while starting 'partman', probably due to memory-shortage.

Machine: Macintosh Quadra 650.
Processor: Motorola MC68040 at 33 MHz
Memory: 24 Mb ram (and 30 Mb swap).
Root Device: SCSI disk, /dev/sdc3 (30 Mb Swap preprepared on /dev/sdd4)
Root Size/partition table: about 500 Mb.
Output of lspci: not applicable

Base System Installation Checklist:

Initial boot worked:    [O]
Configure network HW:   [O]
Config network:         [O]
Detect CD:              [ ]
Load installer modules: [O]
Detect hard drives:     [O]
Partition hard drives:  [E]
Create file systems:    [O]
Mount partitions:       [O]
Install base system:    [O]
Install boot loader:    [ ]
Reboot:                 [O]
[O] = OK, [E] = Error (please elaborate below), [ ] = didn't try it


Overall impression: Great work! It worked quite well even though it was announced on debian-68k by Stephen Marenka doubting it would work with less than 40 Mb, because of the 20000 ramdisk_size.

[E] Starting partman failed the first time around, probably because of the low memory. Added DEBCONF_PRIORITY=low as per Stephen's advise, to get the installation menu, and skipped the "Partition the hard-disk" step the second time. Also, both times a "Low memory installation" warning or step was added and executed. The warning mentioned that you should enable swap a.s.a.p. It would be nice if it mentioned that with prepartitioned disks this can be done in the second virtual terminal right away, with the "mkswap /dev/sdXY ; swapon /dev/sdXY" commands.

Install took over 12 hours. Time not exactly known because I went to sleep first, and to work later. Total time from around 15:00 local time, 20040316 to 19:00, 20040317 local time (could be anytime 7:15 and 19:00 because I went to work).

Also installation looked 'frozen' at 2 moments (6:00 and 7:10, both 20040317): no visible and audible disk activity. It could be 'thawed' by simply switching virtual consoles.

Slowness probably for a big part due to the lack of SCSI-DMA in the Linux/mac68k kernel, but also due the the fact the the installer time and again starts "dpkg" and/or "apt-get install" to install a few packages. Each time this process is started it starts with "Reading Package Lists" and "Building Dependency Tree". These two actions by themselfes take several minutes (I haven't measured it exactly, but think 1-3 minutes each, for at total of about 4-5 minutes for the two). If the number of times "dpkg" and/or "apt-get install .." are called can be reduced, this saves time.

Also packages are installed which I think are unneccesary on Linux/Mac68k, like usbutils, pciutils and hotplug (no such hardware). Starting hotplug even failes with a messages like "No hotplug support in kernel". I'm not sure if these packages are also unneccesary on other Linux/m68k-subarchitectures though! Please check that on the debian-68k and the linux-m68k/linux-mac68k maillists.

Erik C.J. Laan				elaan at dds.nl
Please reply below the message,	 please cut unrelevant pieces from a reply.

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