Kevin Vance - *whew* That was one arduous linux install process. If I had known…

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08:39 pm

Saturday, February 7th, 2004
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That was one arduous linux install process. If I had known that Fedora didn't include Highpoint RAID support, I would have picked another distro. The final method went something like this:

  1. Boot up the install CD on L1, the target system with HPT374 RAID and a floppy drive. To prevent Fedora from wrongly detecting the individual drives in the array, use the kernel flags hdX=noprobe (e.g. hde=noprobe hdg=noprobe)
  2. On L1, switch to a vt with a shell, and determine the kernel version: uname -r
  3. Find L2, a working linux system with rpm and a network connection.
  4. Fetch and install the Fedora kernel source rpm for the right kernel version on L2.
  5. Fetch and untar the Highpoint driver source on L2
  6. Compile the Highpoint drivers on L2, with the KERNELDIR set to the freshly installed kernel sources.
  7. Find W1, a computer with a network connection, floppy drive, and hex editor.
  8. Copy the finished driver, hpt374.o over the network from L2 to W1. You are now finished with L2.
  9. The bootup SCSI module has different symbol-garbage than the stock kernel, so we need to hack our HPT module to match it. Extract the boot SCSI driver on L1, and copy to a floppy disk:
    1. cd /modules
    2. gzip -cd modules.gz|cpio -i --make-directories '*scsi*'
    3. cd <kernelversion>/<arch>
    4. mkdir /mnt/floppy
    5. mount /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy
    6. cp scsi_mod.o /mnt/floppy
  10. Unmount the floppy from L1 (umount /mnt/floppy) and insert it into W1.
  11. On W1, make a copy of hpt374.o, called hpt374-boot.o.
  12. On W1, open scsi_mod.o in a hexeditor, and find scsi_register and scsi_unregister, and note the garbage after their symbols. Find those symbols in hpt374-boot.o and edit them to match.
  13. Copy the new hpt drivers to the floppy on W1, and insert it into L1. You are now finished with W1.
  14. Mount the floppy on L1 (mount /mnt/floppy) and insert the bootdisk module (insmod /mnt/floppy/hpt374-boot.o).
  15. If all went well, you now have RAID support in the currently running kernel. Run the rest of the install like normal, up to the final reboot.
  16. Switch back to your shell. Make a device node for your new linux partition (e.g. for /dev/sda6, mknod /dev/sda6 b 8 6
  17. Mount your recently completed linux install: mkdir /mnt/fedora; mount /dev/sda6 /mnt/fedora
  18. Copy the main HPT driver to the new install: cp /mnt/floppy/hpt374.o /mnt/fedora/tmp
  19. Chroot the new install: chroot /mnt/fedora /bin/bash; source /etc/profile
  20. Mount the current ramdisk:
    1. cp /boot/initrd<whatever>.img image.gz
    2. gzip -d image.gz
    3. mount -o loop image /initrd
  21. Copy the HPT module and the SCSI module to the initrd lib directory: cp /tmp/hpt374.o /lib/modules/<whatever>/scsi_mod.o /initrd/lib
  22. Edit /initrd/linuxrc and add 2 lines to the top: insmod /lib/scsi_mod.o and insmod /lib/hpt374.o
  23. Update the initrd image:
    1. umount /initrd
    2. gzip image
    3. cp image.gz /boot/initrd<whatever>.img
  24. Okay, you're good to go. Well, maybe. I did write this all from memory, and there's probably mistakes. But you get the idea, yeah?

I actually used my cellphone's web browser to look up some of the info to get this thing working. Not easy, but more convenient than rebooting!

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[User Picture]From: casey
2004-02-07 11:06 pm (UTC)
I have to say that when it comes to installing Linux on a standard, run-of-the-mill desktop, Fedora worked extremely well. It didn't have any issues detecting my video card/monitor/sound card/mouse like I've had with other distributions. So far, I'm really happy with it. That said, I do realize that different Linux distributions are good for different things. Maybe your situation was not the Fedora-intended situation. :P
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[User Picture]From: kvance
2004-02-08 08:37 am (UTC)


That's just the thing! The actual Fedora install, sans-RAID driver problem, was only "step 15" on that whole list. That part was easy, and once I got it booting, it was great. This is more of a problem of Fedora not being quite finished. No driver for HPT RAID (which is actually pretty common on "enthusiast" motherboards), broken support for VMware networking, have to *restart* X to change the resolution, etc. I'm still going to reccomend fedora, but hopefully I won't have to do another install until they've done a new version.
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