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Re: VIA VT8237A Southbridge Advice

On Fri, Feb 09, 2007 at 11:35:23AM -0500, Grok Mogger wrote:
> Hey everyone,
> I'm looking into building a new machine.  As for the 
> motherboard, I'm interested in an ASUS 'A8V-VM SE'. 
> Unfortunately, in Googling I've seen people complain about 
> problems with the board's southbridge.  It's a 'VIA VT8237A'.
> I went to kernel.org and started looking through the change logs 
> wondering if perhaps I'd be able to find something about support 
> being added to the kernel for this chipset.  Lo and behold, I did!
> I searched this changelog...
> http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.6/ChangeLog-2.6.19
> And found the following two snippets that seem to indicate that 
> there is support in the kernel for this southbridge as of the 
> 2.6.19 kernel.
[... snipped data on VIA chipsets]
> Unfortunately, Debian uses the 2.6.18 kernel.  I'm somewhat lost 
> from here.  Does anyone have any advice for me?

compile a 2.6.19 kernel. okay, I know its not that simple, but its not
that hard either. the trick is getting the kernel compiled on a
machine that won't boot...

> Even if I can add support for my Southbridge somehow, if the 
> default Debian kernels don't include support for my Southbridge, 
> then I won't be able to install Debian, right?  Because the 
> installer won't be able to write to my SATA hard disk.

if there truly is no support, then you are correct, but there is more
than 1 way to install debian. You *could* use a live-cd with more
recent kernels (latest Knoppix, Ubuntu, etc) that can properly see the
sata disk. Then use debootstrap to install from that live-cd
environment followed up by chrooting into the new install, downloading
debian kernel building packages, downloading source for 2.6.19 and
building the kernel inside the chroot. Might work. If you're dead set
on debian that's a way to do it. And you could move yourself up to
sid, watch for debian kernel support for your chipsets to hit, switch
to a debian kernel, reset your apt sources and drift your way into
testing and ultimately end up with a lenny install. Long process but
it would be a fun ride. 


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