Thursday, June 18, 2009

Adventures in Gentoo

I made some abortive attempts at installing Gentoo on my old PowerBook G4 a few years back. I haven't fooled around with it since. I decided to give Gentoo another chance, so I popped the 20090616 minimal install CD into my old Pentium II tower.

I was unsurprised to meet with trouble running a bleeding edge kernel on legacy hardware. Here are the issues I encountered and how I solved them:
  1. I get an error that says, "Undefined Video Mode Number: 317." I pressed Enter to see the list of available modes. After some quick calculations, I decided 80x43 (option 2) was most appropriate for my monitor dimensions. It looks okay, so I'll stick with that setting.
  2. The install CD hangs at wd7000 while loading the kernel modules. A bug report pointed me to a segfault that occurs when the pata_qdi module loads. Booting with the kernel option noload=pata_qdi results in a successful boot.
  3. Near the end of the boot sequence, I see, "ERROR: cannot start nfsmount as rpc.statd could not start." A comment on another bug report indicates that setting RC_NET_STRICT_CHECKING="yes" in /etc/conf.d/rc allows NFS to start at boot time. I never had to do this because the error disappeared after installation.
  4. Throughout the installation process, my hard disk was detected as /dev/hda. However, when I finished installing GRUB and rebooted, I got an error:


    fsck.ext3: No such file or directory while trying to open /dev/hda3


    The superblock could not be read or does not describe a correct ext2 filesystem. If the device is valid and it really contains an ext2 filesystem (and not swap or ufs or something else), then the superblock is corrupt, and you might try running e2fsck with an alternate superblock:

    e2fsck -b 8193 <device>

    * filesystem could not be fixed.

    I soon realized that my new Gentoo system, unlike the install CD, was using SCSI emulation. As a result, it detected my hard disk as /dev/sda instead of /dev/hda. I popped in the install CD, rebooted, and went through the process of mounting my filesystems and chrooting again. Then I simply changed every occurrence of hda in /etc/fstab to sda. For some reason, GRUB had automagically updated /boot/grub/menu.lst with the sda names, so there was nothing to do there.

    After one more reboot, everything is hunky dory.


Saul said...

Thanks you very much. I did not find in other site about the segfault with wd7000. I could boot my computer. Thks.

Ian said...

This is extraordinary---I encountered, literally, the exact same problems (and no others) installing the latest Gentoo build on my years-old ThinkPad T22. Of course, by the time I found your post, I'd already solved them. But it's nice to know I'm not alone.