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Virtual memory problem?

I've successfully installed Debian Linux 1.3.1 before a few times, but
now I've got a problem with a computer. So, I think it's not a problem
of the distribution, nor the kernel. Maybe a
problem of configuration, maybe a hardware problem, ... I don't know.

Some background:

The machine:
Mother Board: Pentium WB CACHE, PCI, ExpertBoard 8551, AMI BIOS
Processor: Pentium (P54C) 100MHz
16MB RAM, HD:~1GB (hda1:600MB DOS, hda2:32MB SWAP, hda3:400MB Linux)

The OS:
Debian Linux 1.3.1 (1 Aug 97) Kernel 2.0.29.

The problem:
I install the base system of Debian 1.3.1 (1 Aug 97) from floppy without
problems. Then I boot and the dselect program starts to install the rest
of the system (by ftp in my case). During the instalation process some
errors appear (crc errors when decompressing, procceses that get killed)
and at the same time I get a dump like this:

Unable to handle kernel pagin request at virtual address cf2b7d4e
current -> tss.cr3=0073c000, %cr3=0073c000
Oops: 000
CPU: 0
EIP: 0010:[<00121f4b>]
EFLAGS: 00010203
eax: .......    ebx: ........
Process preinst (pid: 2292, process nr:25, stackpage=0090d000)
Stack: fffffff7 000008f4 ................
Call Trace: [<00121fe4>] [<0010a821>]
Code: 66 83  7e 0e 00 75 16 68 06 28 1f 00 e8 28 18 ff ff 31 c0 83

Afterwards, sometimes the system crashes in different ways: the system
does not respond while keep dumping messages like the above, the screen
is filled with black and white squares. In any case I have to press the
RESET button to reboot the system. Other times the system keeps running
for a while until another such dump and then may or may not crash again.

The problem seems to be a virtual page that is not found where he
expects it to be. ??

Solutions I've tried and their results:
1.- Reformat and surface check the swap and Linux partitions: install
again -> The problem persists

2.- Configure the BIOS SETUP as simple as possible: no shadow RAM, no
power management, no external cache -> The problem persists

3.- Enable the external cache -> the problem persists but I get messages
like this, beside
the old ones:

rw_swap_page: weirdness
rw_swap_page: weirdness
rw_swap_page: weirdness
rw_swap_page: weirdness
rw_swap_page: weirdness
swap_free: weirdness
swap_free: weirdness
swap_free: weirdness
swap_free: weirdness
swap_free: weirdness

4.- Disable swapping -> dpkg says:

.dpkg: malloc failed (65552 bytes): Out of memory

which was easily expected

5.- Disable swapping from hda2 and enable a swap file in /var/tmp of
about 10MB -> The problem persists.

I'm quite surprised becouse I installed Debian before without problems.
If you have any idea about what the problem should be, any clue, any
idea or need more information to trace the
problem, please contact me.

Thanks in advance.


Jorge JUAN-CHICO                     Centro Nacional de Microelectronica
<jjchico@imse.cnm.es>                          Edificio C.I.C.A.
Phone: 34-5-4239923                         Av/ Reina Mercedes s/n
Fax:   34-5-4231832                          41012-SEVILLA, SPAIN

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