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Re: problem with SATA disk, difference between standard kernel and Debian kernel

On Sat, Jan 03, 2009 at 04:11:35PM -0600, lee wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 02, 2009 at 10:51:56PM +0000, Andrew M.A. Cater wrote:
> > On Fri, Jan 02, 2009 at 03:00:41PM -0600, lee wrote:
> > > On Thu, Jan 01, 2009 at 05:56:25PM -0200, Eduardo M KALINOWSKI wrote:
> > > > lee wrote:
> > > > > Well, how do you install on SATA disks when the installer can't access
> > > > > them? It still has the option to load more modules from a floppy disk,
> > > > > but I haven't had a floppy disk drive for years ... With no system
> > > > > installed, you couldn't create those disks anyway.
> > > > >   

Specifics please: Machine name / model number / motherboard if 

Any output from dmesg (if it gets that far) likewise

Output from lspci

Output from lsmod

Which installer are you using - Etch a.k.a Debian 4.0 or Lenny (upcoming 
Debian 5.0) ?

Which kernel version appears to boot - 2.6.18 / 2.6.24 / 2.6.26?

> > Go to the non-free archive for Debian packages. Look for
> > firmware-non-free packages. I've recently had to use the bnx2
> > drivers for Broadcom ethernet cards.
> The modules I need to access the disks come with standard and Debian
> kernels. They are not non-free.

If you know that they come with Debian's standard kernels and 
that they're there, is there any obvious reason why they're not 

> And then, when you look at http://www.debian.org/distrib/netinst, it
> doesn't tell you that the installer is missing crucial modules to
> access SATA disks (which are the default nowadays), or where to get
> missing modules. There are also no floppy disk images of the installer
> for download (like there used to be), which would allow you do
> download another disk image containing more modules. Still the
> installer keeps prompting for a floppy disk and tells you to insert
> the disk, just to find out that there is no floppy disk drive
> installed.

Have you _seen_ how big kernels are lately? : floppies (even if you can 
find working floppy disks) ceased to be viable about the time Linux 
went to kernel version 2.6.

> Why doesn't the page tell you, like it did when floppy images were
> available, that you might need more modules and offers you to download
> another CD image? Why aren't those modules just on the installer CD?

I think the release notes mention things like this: the modules  
probably are on an installer CD: do you know which modules they 
might be?

> It's not that the CD image would get too big to fit on a CD or to
> download --- and if it was, there could always be the minimal
> installer image for computers older than 4 or 5 years and another one
> with all that's missing on the minimal image.
> The installer could also give you instructions about how to get more
> modules or just download the missing modules automatically during the
> installation, just like it does with other things.

The instructions below are for those things that are explicitly 
non-free. It's also based on the Lenny installer (which does tell you 
if non-free firmware is required).

> > Download the .deb on another machine. [Assuming you're using Linux 
> > here].
> What do you do when you don't have one? Buy a windoze CD and another
> hard disk, install windoze on that disk, get the needed files, install
> Debian, sell the windoze CD and disk?

If you don't have another machine: borrow a friend who has a USB stick / 
SD card and access to a Linux machine. Your email address suggests that 
you may be in .de  - which has towns with Linux user groups / internet 

> And before you can do that, how do you know where to get the missing
> kernel modules for the installer, and how do you know which ones are
> missing? I'd like to know that for the next time I'll try to install.

Boot with a live CD?

> > Carry the USB stick across to the machine you need it on. Boot the Lenny 
> > installer - at some point the dialog will tell you that you need 
> > non-free modules and will ask you for a floppy/USB stick to load 
> > the modules from.
> No, it didn't tell me that it needs modules. It only told me that no
> disks had been detected. If I hadn't known that a module is missing
> and that it does work once the right module is available, I could have
> concluded that Linux is just too old to run on even "old" (like two or
> three years) hardware ...

Kernel version you are trying to install?

> > Insert the stick when prompted.
> The installer offers to read modules from a floppy disk, not from an
> USB device.
> > > These modules need to be available to the installer out of the
> > > box. It's not like I'd be using some unusual hardware ...
> > > 
> > > 
> > 
> > What is not unusual to you is unusual to other people :)
> What is unusual about SATA disks and controllers?
> Go to your favourite computer store --- now or a year (or even longer)
> ago --- and try to buy a computer or a mainboard that doesn't have
> SATA disks or an SATA controller. You'd have a very hard time to find
> one.

I can probably find _at least_ one. 

> Also keep in mind that this was the amd64 installer. Which system that
> can run 64bit software doesn't have an SATA controller?

Two out of the three of the AMD64 systems under my desks here (all using 
old motherboards :) ).
> > The reason that the modules are in non-free is precisely because
> > they have licence conditions or similar which prevent us putting
> > them in the Debian archive proper.
> The "AHCI SATA support" in the standard and Debian kernels creates
> something that is non-free?

Check BIOS settings carefully: if the BIOS will allow you, try setting 
the Legacy compatible options if available - the drives may then appear to 
be PATA.



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