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Re: Lenny won't install on an old Pentium that used to run Etch. Try 2

On Thu, 12 Mar 2009 11:47:11 -0600
Robert Hodgins <ehodgins@telusplanet.net> wrote:

> Daniel, thank you for your suggestions.
> I did this. I hit Alt-F4 as the installer was finishing the formatting
> of the hard drive. When the cursor stopped blinking and the keyboard
> no longer responded, I took a picture.
> I posted it here as Photo 1: http://technicallywrite.blogspot.com/

Hmmmm...not much to go on there, unfortunately.   Might have to do the
remote console thing and ssh in.

> I reinstalled (a minimal) Etch last night. It was successful. Top
> and /proc/meminfo both reported that RAM was 127192 KB...very close to
> the 128 MB that is in the machine. So, the Etch installer had no
> issues with the RAM or other hardware.
> Would the Lenny installer be more sensitive to potentially bad RAM or
> hardware than the Etch installer?

I don't think so.  I was simply wrong about it being bad hardware (most
likely).  However another poster pointed out that ACPI on a P1 is
probably wrong and since the message say it's not giving results the
kernel likes, it could certainly apply.  Try booting with 
(I forget which one, it might be listed in the Install Guide, or on the
F1-F10 help pages of the CD (before starting the installer)).

I'm thinking the default kernel configuration has changed somehow that
doesn't like your board.  ACPI is a definite possibility (modern
kernels try to use ACPI but boards before ~2000 tend to have buggy or
incomplete BIOS implementations of acpi).

Also apic and local apic could be a problem.  Basically anything that
your board tried to support but wasn't up to the standards that
eventually came into force, but are what the kernel expects.

> Right after selecting Install, the installer printed the screen (Photo
> 2) that is at http://technicallywrite.blogspot.com/ I didn't get this
> screen when I was installing Etch and I don't recall seeing it when I
> installed Lenny on other (more modern) machines. I can't interpret
> what it means.
> Is it relevant to the failure of the Lenny installer?

Probably.  Not 100% but 95% likelihood that this the problem.  Assuming
no other old hardware that is no longer supported on the system of

> > I guess one other possibility is if the installer is not using the
> > 486 kernel but the 686 one (/var/log/syslog in the installer will
> > tell you the answer to that).
> When the Lenny installation freezes, the keyboard is locked up. There
> is no way to run shutdown -h now. I've just been powering off.
> At this stage of the installation, how can I get the /var/log/syslog?

If you look at the install guide you might be able to use a network
console and ssh in.  Depends of the machine is locked or just the
keyboard.  Personally I suspect it wouldn't help because if it the ACPI
that the problem then the system is hard frozen, not just not
responding to input.

And that's my crabbing done for the day.  Got it out of the way early, 
now I have the rest of the afternoon to sniff fragrant tea-roses or 
strangle cute bunnies or something.   -- Michael Devore
GnuPG Key Fingerprint 86 F5 81 A5 D4 2E 1F 1C      http://gnupg.org

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