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Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" installation feedback on zx6000


For interested people, please find below my comments on Debian 6.0
"Squeeze" installation on my hp workstation zx6000.

First, it's noteworthy that Squeeze can't be installed as is! I've
tried the network (debian-6.0.0-ia64-netinst.iso) and regular
(debian-6.0.0-ia64-CD-1.iso) install media without a success. Although
these images can start up the installation process, the Debian
installer can't go further keyboard configuration. Indeed, the ISO
image can't be mounted because the internal DVD-ROM drive is simply
not detected. I've the strong impression that the pata_cmd64x driver
is missing from the Squeeze installation kernel. To work around this
issue, I've dd'ed the Squeeze CD1 ISO image on an USB key and
performed the installation using both the Squeeze CD1 and the USB key.
Simply start up the installation process by booting from the Squeeze
CD1 with the USB key inserted and, when the Debian installer fails to
mount the Squeeze CD1 image, fool it by switching from the CD-ROM
device /dev/cdrom to the USB key device /dev/sdc (in my case) in the
popping up dialog box. From there, the installation completes
successfully. Remember to fix your CD-ROM device from /dev/sdc (in my
case) to /dev/cdrom in /etc/fstab once rebooted (the Squeeze
linux-image-2.6.32-5-mckinley production kernel handles the internal
DVD-ROM drive fine).

Next, I've checked "Base system" and "Graphical desktop environment"
in tasksel. This ends up by installing the GNOME desktop environment.

The default login manager is gdm3 (and no more gdm that's deprecated
and will be removed in Debian Wheezy as stated in
I don't know whether this is expected or not, but absolutely no GDM
background image is displayed. By the way, there's a very old bug with
the GNOME settings daemon (circa GNOME 2.20~2.22) that eats 100% CPU
usage (http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=537572). With
the old gdm package, the CPU-eating gnome-settings-daemon processes
can be killed by the user. With gdm3, that's no more possible if the
user doesn't have root priviledges. And each time a user log in or log
off, additional gnome-settings-daemon processes are forked (two for
log in, two for log off), thus leading to a completely unresponsive
and useless system. I think that we'll have to increase bug #537572
status to critical for the forthcoming Debian Wheezy development
cycle. As a temporary workaround, you can go back to gdm: the GDM
background image is now displayed correctly and users can kill the
forked CPU-eating gnome-settings-daemon processes.

The Epiphany GNOME default web browser crashes upon startup
(http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=608893). No
workaround here, but using another web browser (Iceweasel runs fine
for me).

Contrarily to what's stated in the release notes
KMS isn't enabled by default on Radeon harware. Indeed,
CONFIG_DRM_RADEON_KMS is not set in the Squeeze production kernel
configuration. To enable it, I've had to issue:

     echo "options radeon modeset=1" | tee sudo /etc/modprobe.d/radeon-kms.conf

and reboot the system.

Comments? Suggestions?



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