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segfaults on Dell Poweredge 3250

I recently installed sarge on a uniprocessor Dell Poweredge 3250, and
have been running the 2.4.27-2-mckinley kernel.  Installation went fine,
but I've since encountered a sequence of crashes and segfaults.  From
time to time I will find a command will segfault on one run, then work
fine the next time.  Large compiles are frequently unsuccessful.

This bears all the signs of hardware problems I've seen in the past on
x86 and sparc kit, so I tried the Dell diagnostics CD.  On the first
pass this claimed to have "corrected" a CPU fault; on subsequent runs it
has found no errors whatsoever.

Given the inability to get a reproduceable fault from the diagnostics,
Dell support suggested I try running the server under Win2003 or Redhat
Advanced Server (ie, what they support).   Rather than replacing debian
with a full redhat installation, I tried using the kernel from RHEL3
(heavily patched 2.4.21) on the existing Debian userland.

My standard "is this stable" test has been to try building gcc.
Building while running the redhat kernel, I've seen absolutely no problems.  On
the stock sarge kernel, it's falling over pretty reliably.  I've tried
installing the 2.6 kernel from sarge but have so far been unable to
persuade the system to successfully boot - I'm getting similar failures
to those previously reported by Peter Hessler

I've also tried kernels 2.4.29 and 2.4.31 as compiled myself - same
problems as with the stock debian kernel.

Has anyone else encountered similar issues with this hardware?  Any
suggestions as to what might be the problem?



--------------- Robin Stevens  <robin.stevens@oucs.ox.ac.uk> -----------------
Oxford University Computing Services ----------- Web: http://www.cynic.org.uk/
------- (+44)(0)1865: 273212 (work) 273275 (fax)  Mobile: 07776 235326 -------

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