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Re: D-I impressions

> I think this has happened to other users also but the reason is unknown.
> In order to make the situation more clear it will be helpful if you can
> post the contents of the directory /var/log of the installer.  In the
> installed system you can find it saved in /var/log/debian-installer.
> Thanks for you for your suggestions.
> Anton Zinoviev

Dear Friends,

This problem affects many more users than is going to be obvious from the
boot.devel list.  It is a known issue with the 2.6 kernel and libparted.

It became epidemic with the advent of the latest Suse, Mandrake and fc2
releases, most prominently, obviously, with the lattermost, due to both
market share and type of uuser.

The issue is discussed at length in the parted ng, and there is a rather
partisan feeling that the legacy bios interrupts, the h13, are less
accurate, and so forth.  The pragmatists are only concerned that since many,
if not most, ordinary users, dual boot with some sort of windows, nowadays,
mostly xp, and that this type of user will not frequent the parted
development newsgroups, or read the techinical fora, that it is precisely
the user who is installing debian for the first time, and is using the 2.6
kernel to get recognition of modern hardware, partiticulalry wireless
drivers, who will "lose" his windows install.  This is factually incorrect.
The partition index is merely rewritten, and, obviously, a highly skilled
user will simply utilise fdisk to rewrite the index back to orginal
xxxx.255.63, or xxxx.240.63 for the IBM laptops that use that configuration.
However, this means that none of us can safely recommend the d-i for
newbies, as there is neither warning thereof in the installer itself,  nor
much alternative to panic for such a person. In the end, thousand of folks
have had to reinstall windows because of this.  Suse has a "driver upgrade"
cd,  anaconda allows passing of kernel parameters, but I have found no way
to install from the 2.6 kernel and get the geometry read to be the legacy
interrupts necessary for windows dual boot.

I simly use expert, then when asked which kernel, toward the end of the base
install, specify 2.6.  Since I need to recompile directly anyway for direct
rendering for the ati chip I use, there is really no inconvenience, as I
have a very small kernel for my laptop - after all, none of the hardware is
going to change. ;)

However, I predict, that unless someone takes this seriously, there will be
a bunch of people who end up saying, "Linux ruined my windows!"

For right now, given the damned high quality of the installer, the simplest
thing would be to include at the very first page on boot prompts a simple
but clear warning such as:

"Warning: use of the linux26, or expert26 parameter will likely render
windows unbootable.  You will be asked later which kernel you want to be
written to your hard drive and use."

This avoids changing anything, but should circumvent, except for the
suicidal, the c,h,s problem, whose technical solution is clearly not within
the time frame of the release of the installer, the excelence of which
should not be compromised by creating unnecessary bad publicity.

On the other hand, there is a no left turn sign across from our flat in NY
which, in spite of its lawful efficacy, is ignored fearlessly by the
terminally disrepectful.

So I suppose, irreepective of the warning, someone would still say, "But I
did not know they meant me!"

Best wishes to all,


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