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Re: laptop boot image?

"Michael P. Soulier" wrote:
>     Hey people. I heard a rumour that the toshiba laptop I have works with
> Slackware, so while I wasn't able to get Debian's boot disks to work, the
> Slackware bootamp.i image worked great. Is there a Debian laptop-specific boot
> disk?

Toshiba laptops have a problem that makes them unable to boot bzImage
kernels. You have to boot using a zImage kernel, which is a pain in the

Slink used to have a 'tecra' flavour boot disk, which had a zImage 2.0
kernel. Potato doesn't seem to have it anymore. If the slackware boot
disk works, then it must contain a zImage kernel.

I have a Tecra 700CT which I recently installed Debian on. I have slink
cds though, so I installed initially with that and then used apt-get to
upgrade to potato. The worst part was compiling a 2.2 kernel suitable
for it. Practically everything has to be compiled as modules to make the
kernel small enough to be a zImage kernel. I still don't have everything
working (I haven't compiled the pcmcia modules yet), but everything else
(xfree86, sound etc) is working, so it is possible.

Slink seems to be still available here:

Get it while you still can.


ps. The 'README.tecra' file in that directory says:

Tecras and other notebooks, and some PCs have a problem where they
fail to flush the cache when switching on the a20 gate (IIRC), which
is provoked by bzImage kernels, but not by zimage kernels. 

bzImage files are actually "big zImage" not "bzipped Image".  bzImage
kernels can be as large as you like, but because they need to decompress
into extended memory, they aggravate this problem.  zImage kernels just
compress into conventional memory, so they never need to touch the a20
but they hit the 640k limit.

There are two solutions that I know of:

  1) apply a patch, which flushes the cache.  Unfortunately this
     causes other machines to crash so is not universally applicable
     (hence the tecra disks being segragated from the mainstream)

  2) build a zimage, rather than bzimage kernel.  This seems to get
     round the problem. use the --zimage option to make-kpkg, or even
     set this as the default in /etc/kernel-pkg.conf.


Perhaps solution (1) might be useful after you've installed. I don't
know where to get such a patch... but I'm sure a good google search
would turn something up.

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