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Bug#418043: debian installer: problems with timezone, grub & sata drive, noacpi bootparam, and encrypted partitions

Package: installation-reports

Boot method: CD (using image created on March 18, 2007)
Image version: http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-builds/amd64/iso-cd/debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.iso
Date: March 23, 2007

Machine: self built from parts
Processor: amd64 X2 3800+ EE (Energy Efficient)
Memory: 2 Gb
sata1 disk (this is the first time I'm trying a system w/o separate /usr, /var, /tmp, etc.): 
/dev/sda1 ~ 12 Gb mounted on /windows
/dev/sda2 ~ 200 Gb mounted on /
/dev/sda5 ~ 12 Gb mounted on /home
/dev/sda6 ~ 12 Gb used as luks encrypted home dir mounted at login on /home/<my username>
/dev/sda7 ~ 12 Gb used as luks encrypted home dir mounted at login on /home/<my wife's username>
/dev/sda8 ~ 4 Gb encrypted swap (/dev/mapper/cswap)

1Gb tmpfs mounted on /tmp

hdb: (hda is dvd writer)
harddrive from old system with separate /, /home, /usr, /var, /var/tmp, etc. for data migration

Base System Installation Checklist:
[O] = OK, [E] = Error (please elaborate below), [ ] = didn't try it

Initial boot:           [E]
Detect network card:    [E]
Configure network:      [O]
Detect CD:              [E]
Load installer modules: [E]
Detect hard drives:     [O]
Partition hard drives:  [E]
Install base system:    [O]
Clock/timezone setup:   [E]
User/password setup:    [O]
Install tasks:          [O]
Install boot loader:    [E]
Overall install:        [E]


0. The zeroth problem was booting. Somewhere in the help where you find it right away it says
 to use noacpi if the system hangs. I tried that and it didn't work. In another spot more buried 
(I think in the special parameter section) it says use acpi=off. Well, only the acpi=off worked.

1. The first problem to crop up was with the language and timezone. I live in Germany, but am a native 
english speaker and wish to install in English. As soon as you've selected the English language, you 
can only choose timezones from the USA and it's territories. Luckily I was still *allowed* to choose 
a german keyboard! Please try thinking less for the user and allow hir to choose whichever timezone s/he
desires...I'm sure most people know which timezone they live in!

2. The second problem wasn't too much of a problem, just irritating: when detecting disks, the cd, and 
the network card, it *kept* asking me whether I wanted to install the floppy module. I would deselect it and
and continue, and in the next step it would again ask me about the floppy module. Other than that, the 
detection of cd and network card worked ok.

3. The third problem was with partitioning the harddrive.  You can tell it that you want to use a partition
as an encrypted partition, but afterwards it doesn't do anything with it and you can't tell it where you want
it mounted. I don't see what this option really does, since you have to luksFormat it, etc. by hand afterwards
anyway. It would be nice if the installer would support encrypted partitions where you could select options and
a mount point and have the installer set everything up. Especially encrypted swap is easy, it just needs an entry
in /etc/crypttab and an appropriate entry in /etc/fstab, so "encrypted swap" should be an option too!

4. The fourth and worst problem came when I tried to reboot my "new system"...didn't work at all, 
no grub screen, nothin. Had no idea why.
Tried using the install cd as rescue cd, but it wasn't much of a rescue, it just wanted to re-install. 
I re-installed twice and fiddled with the bios. Luckily, at some point I accidentally booted with my sata1 
hd disconnected and it started grub (!) but couldn't find a bootable image. Then I understood: grub had been installing itself 
to /dev/hdb, even though I hadn't installed any of the system there (hdb was my old hd from my old system 
which I had attached to transfer data from). There was never any question in the install about where grub 
should install itself other than "to the master boot record" but didn't mention which drive, and it didn't 
occur to me that it would install itself preferentially to hdb instead of to sata1 when I wasn't installing the
system there and had configured no mount points from hdb! Big Bummer and big waste of time! The other errors
were no big deal, but this really caused me some grief!


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