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Bug#291453: Installation report, Sarge/d-i rc2, 20050120, floppy install, x86

Package: installation-reports

Debian-installer-version: d-i rc2 floppies (root.img + boot.img + net-drivers.img) uname -a: Linux pitr 2.4.27-2-586-tsc #1 Thu Dec 30 18:06:49 JST 2004 i586 GNU/Linux
Date: 20050119-20
Method: Floppy boot and network installation
Machine: Fuijutsu desktop PC
Processor: Pentium II/200 MHz
Memory: 80 Mb
Root Device: NEC IDE 1,7Gb
Root Size/partition table (df output):
Filsystem             1K-block    Använt Tillgängl Anv% Monterat på
/dev/hda2               685777    391811    257376  61% /
tmpfs                    39400         0     39400   0% /dev/shm
/dev/hda1               793680    708548     44816  95% /media/hda1

Output of lspci and lspci -n:
0000:00:00.0 0600: 8086:7030 (rev 02)
0000:00:0c.0 0601: 8086:7000 (rev 01)
0000:00:0c.1 0101: 8086:7010
0000:00:0c.2 0c03: 8086:7020 (rev 01)
0000:00:0d.0 0300: 1002:5654 (rev 40)

Base System Installation Checklist:
[O] = OK, [E] = Fel (beskriv utförligt nedan på engelska), [ ] = testade ej

Initial boot worked:    [O]
Configure network HW:   [O]
Config network:         [O]
Detect CD:              [E?]
Load installer modules: [O]
Detect hard drives:     [O]
Partition hard drives:  [O]
Create file systems:    [O]
Mount partitions:       [O]
Install base system:    [O]
Install boot loader:    [O/E]
Reboot:                 [E]


First, some observations about the installation manual:

My first problem was finding the correct floppy images. I think either section 5.1.4 of the manual (Booting the Installer on Intel x86/Booting from Floppies) or section 4.3 (Creating Floppies from Disk Images) should explain which images I need or at least link directly to the MANIFEST file. That link is now in section 4.2.1 where it is not easily found. A link to the ftp directory containing the floppies and to rawrite/rwwrtwin would also be handy. Also, I think that the section about floppy reliability should be moved from 5.3.1 to 4.3. These changes would get all important information about boot floppies in two places instead of four. OK, I can now see that section A.2.2 actually does some of what I ask for. Is it really necessary to spread information to all these places?

In general, I also think that chapters 4 and 5 of the manual should be reorganized from "Obtaining media" and "Boot" to one chapter covering the entire process of different types of installations (Floppy/CD/Netboot/USB/harddrive). Sections A through C should be integrated with the beginning of the document.

These comments apply to the installation manual at http://d-i.alioth.debian.org/manual/en.i386/index.html, as of 2005-01-05.

Now to the installation:

I choose Swedish as my language in the first screen, but didn't get swedish until several screens later. That could have been really confusing if I hadn't understod english quite well.

On my admittedly very slow computer there are several blank screens that come up after a choice has been made and they sometimes last for more than a couple of seconds. This may give the impression that d-i has hung, but is no big problem.

I tried to get an old ISA network card working, but failed. I would have liked rmmod to be present on the system though, now I had to reboot (shifting three floppies) every time I wanted to try another IRQ. I finally gave up and replaced the network card with one that worked.

Shouldn't the installation floppies give me the choice to insert a CD (the netinst image for example)? It just downloaded everything from the Debian mirror. Or should I somehow have used the CD instead of the root floppy? The downloads went OK anyway, but not completely smooth. The installer tried to download Packages.gz three times before getting it right.

Partitioning went smoothly, I just reused (reformated) an old ext2 partition (hda2) where I used to have Hurd installed. I ignored a partition (hda1) with an old Debian (Linux) installation and reused a swap partition (hda3). There was a tiny skull indicated by my new root partition, but the installer happily allowed me to carry on and the manual doesn't mention it. What does it mean?

After doing the base install, I tried to install GRUB. It all seemed OK (My old Debian install was even identified correctly), but the reboot failed with "GRUB hard disk error", so I had to start over from the beginning. I tried LILO instead, with success. This time though, my other Debian installation was not detected.

After the reboot I finally got the option to use my CD, but I settled for HTTP install anyway and it worked out just fine. I choose the web server and file server tasks, not sure at that point if file server meant NFS, Samba or FTP.

I liked the new debian-installer very much, thank you. Even though I didn't use LVM or RAID this time I really appreciate your work with that. The GRUB problem is of course unacceptable, especially for people who hasn't got a clue about what a boot loader is, but I can totally live with the other glitches.

If you want me to look into details of the GRUB problem, please let me know what information you need.

Great work! I wish you luck with the final Sarge release!

* The manual is not well organised, information is spread out too much.
* The installer doesn't use the selected language right away.
* The installer shows blank screens for too long on a slow computer.
* rmmod on the install system would be handy
* No obvious way to change from floppy boot to CD install before reboot.
* GRUB made the system unbootable.
* LILO installer didn't find old Debian Linux installation, but GRUB installer did.

Klas Adolfsson

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