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Re: The sad demise of an etch.

hendrik@topoi.pooq.com wrote:
> I run a dual-boot Debian system -- one partition is sarge; the other is 
> etch.  The idea was that users would have a stable platform available if 
> they wished, for mission-critical work, but have access to (relatively) 
> recent software for the proce of a reboot.
> This etch had been ailing for quite a long while now.  The xfree -> 
> xorg upgrade went flawlessly, but a few weeks after that, after a 
> routine general upgrade (which upgraded xorg) X ceased to function 
> properly.  It would crash when switching virtual consoles, 
> unpredictably.  Everything fine as long as no one switched virtual 
> consoles, of course.  Switching to a text console would work (before the 
> crash) but switching between X consoles or from text to an X console was 
> fraught with peril.  There was a suspicion that the problem was set 
> up by logging out from X and switching to another console before the 
> original one had manages to present a new login screen -- then switching 
> back to the original X later would present you with a dead machine.  
> This suspicion, however, was nevre tested consistently.
> The system was still somewhat usable.  I occasionally upgraded it in 
> case this was a bug that would be fixed.  IN any case, we still had 
> sarge as a fall-back in case of real trouble.
> sometime later, etch could no longer start X successfully -- it ould 
> fail, unable to access the AGP device.  The X log made it look as if 
> it was the actual AGP interface on the motherboard that was 
> inaccessible, not the ATI card I had plugged into it.
> Upgradein udev seemed to cure this problem, but now X would 
> crash during startup.
> Last Friday I performed another upgrade.  Now etch won't boot at 
> all:
> RAMDISK: Conplressed image found at block 0
> input: AT Translated Set 2 keyboard as /calss/input/input0
> invalid argument format (err=1)
> VFS: Cannot open root device "304" or unknown-block(3, 4)
> Pleas append a correct "root=" boot option
> Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 
> unknown-block(3, 4)

what is your boot manager? did its configuration get corrupted? or maybe
you've got a bad block? I've seen this before on my system and can't
remember what it was.

does it hang there or drop you to busybox?

> I am tempted to pronounce this etch installation dead and reinstall from 
> scratch.  I'm also reluctant to do this, becase of Debian's reputation 
> as being the system that never needs to be reinstalled.  Sarge, of 
> course, continues to soldier on without any problems at all (except for 
> application obsolescence -- but that's spec)
> Or should I do something radical to get current software, such as 
> installing gentoo on the former etch partition?

ack! bite your tongue! ;-0


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