Darxus

[geek] computers suck

[geek] computers suck

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2009-09-29
Linux, grub, and initrd suck. Knoppix still kicks ass.

Most of this involved the root partition being mounted in /mnt/sda1 while booted to a rescue disk (Knoppix).

grub-install fails when either /mnt/sda1/boot is simlinked to /boot/ or I'm chroot'ed to /mnt/sda1 with the entirely unacceptable message "/boot/grub/stage1 not read correctly." WTF is stage1? I have some idea, but this is far too insufficiently relevant to what the actual problem is. Turns out I needed to use --root-directory=/mnt/sda1/ instead of chrooting or simlinking, and that was its way of telling me. And then, of course, since it uses screwy drive numbering, my root partition ends up as hd1 instead of hd0, because hd0 is apparently my cdrom drive, and you can't just tell grub to use /dev/sda like everything else.

So I finally get it booted. I run "aptitude install kernel-image-2.6-amd64-k8-smp" to upgrade to the latest version of that type of kernel. Seems to go okay. I reboot. It tells me it failed to mount the root partition. Now I haven't screwed with initrd much, but my first guess is that this kernel has it's scsi drivers (required to mount this drive) in this initrd image, and can't get to them. Boot Knoppix again, and sure enough all of my /boot/initrd* images have been wiped. chroot to my root directory and type the command to install the kernel again, and sure enough the package is incompletely installed and giving me a mkinitrd error message related to the absence of /proc. I mount /proc in my chroot jail and it still gets all pissy at me. As far as I can tell there is no way to get mkinitrd to work while booted to a rescue disk. I ended up copying over the old kernel and initrd image from a similar machine and updating grub and when I rebooted thankfully I was able to get into a rescue mode. Then I reran the kernel install command and it worked, mkinitrd and all. WTF, why did it fail the first time and not now?

The many varied and cryptic ways in which linux can fail pisses me off.

Of course I don't think I'd be able to do anything like any of this at all under any other OS.
  • My geekdom, sadly, does not really include computers. Although I've been able to use a Knoppix boot disk to rescue data off a foundering machine, that's the extent of my abilities.

    So, if it's not too hopeless, could you clear up for me the difference? I thought Linux was an category of OS types that included Knoppix.
    • Yes Linux is an OS, and Knoppix is a Linux distribution focused on booting from cd into a useful environment. But I don't think anything on a Knoppix cd has ever pissed me off, and it has been extremely useful.
      • "it has been extremely useful."

        That's been my experience as well.
        This sort of sounds like "America sucks... except in comparison to everywhere else."
        • Right.

          It was not helped that the hours I spent on this I was sitting on a hard cold floor between two very active A/C vents. And cold.
  • GRUB has some serious pitfalls, as you have pointed out. Just use LILO. I'll never use GRUB on a server or any hardware that requires my attention.

    Cool to see you are running AMD64 stuff. I have Gentoo running almost completely native 64-bit Linux on my HP dv6000. The only things that can't are:

    mplayer
    cxoffice (for work, basically sexy wine)
    jungle disk (for work, super sexy coda/dav/fuse-fs implementation)

    Besides that nVidia's GO chip works great with acceleration, I have nForce audio. NDISWrapper does the Broadcom wifi.
  • Look on the bright side. You missed out on having to install milo on alphas and possibly busting the firmware in the process. Whee fun times.

    Yeah, computers suck.
  • This sort of thing is precisely why I've failed to deal with my linux box for years. I just hate going through this kind of torture.
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