Linux on Pentium Pro

Linux on Pentium Pro

Post by Stavros Siops » Sun, 16 Jun 1996 04:00:00



I just bought a new pentium pro 200 computer and I tried to install BSDI
(the linux part comes later). I tried to boot from the install disk and it
gives me this error:

Read error on block 16 of unit 0
Error 4: sector was not found. Retrying...

and after a while it says generic I/O error and it stops reading the disk.
It gives me this kind of reading errors even if I try to install Solaris,
Linux or Freebsd!

On Linux The kernel boots fine and then I have to put the root disk and
press return. Then it gives me this error:

end_request: I/O error, dev 02:1c, sector 2
RAMDISK: I/O error while looking for super block

Now comes the weird part. The computer works fine if I install OS/2 or any
kind of MS Windows and I get no errors! It probably has to do with the
operating system starting at sector 16.

The motherboard is an Intel with the 450KX chipset, an Adaptec 2940
controller, Trident SVGA and nothing else.  I tried different floppy
drives and still the same. I tried all different BIOS settings and still
the same. I know that the disks are fine since they boot on other pentium
systems. I also tried to install an ISA floppy controller but the
motherboard doesn't recognize it. Pin 5 is missing on the floppy interface
(on the motherboard, it's used as a key), something that I have never seen
before but I don't thing that the floppy drive needs it (It's only GND if I
remember correctly).

I cannot call the company from where I bought the computer because they
test with windows and I have to admit that windows works great!

Anyone has any ideas?

Thanks for any help
Stavros Siopsis

 
 
 

Linux on Pentium Pro

Post by Wm. E. Davidsen » Thu, 20 Jun 1996 04:00:00



| I cannot call the company from where I bought the computer because they
| test with windows and I have to admit that windows works great!

Boy, they must love you as a customer, your board doesn't work and you
can't complain because the vendor because they didn't properly test the
board? Call 'em up and politely tell them that all the stuff you bought
it for doesn't run, and ask for an RMA. If they try to tell you that it
only runs DOS, do check to see if they advertize SMP1.1 or 1.4
compliance.

It does sound as if the i/o is causing problems, if you can up the wait
states it might be a good idea. A P6-200 *will* break some timing loops,
although I've never seen Linux have a problem.

Keep us posted, I'm in the market myself.
--
Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

TMR does UNIX and other systems stuff, some real time, network and
system admin, security, C and other good stuff.

 
 
 

Linux on Pentium Pro

Post by Hugh McCur » Fri, 21 Jun 1996 04:00:00



>I just bought a new pentium pro 200 computer and I tried to install BSDI
>(the linux part comes later). I tried to boot from the install disk and it
>gives me this error:
>Read error on block 16 of unit 0
>Error 4: sector was not found. Retrying...
>and after a while it says generic I/O error and it stops reading the disk.
>It gives me this kind of reading errors even if I try to install Solaris,
>Linux or Freebsd!
>On Linux The kernel boots fine and then I have to put the root disk and
>press return. Then it gives me this error:
>end_request: I/O error, dev 02:1c, sector 2
>RAMDISK: I/O error while looking for super block
>Now comes the weird part. The computer works fine if I install OS/2 or any
>kind of MS Windows and I get no errors! It probably has to do with the
>operating system starting at sector 16.
>The motherboard is an Intel with the 450KX chipset, an Adaptec 2940
>controller, Trident SVGA and nothing else.  I tried different floppy
>drives and still the same. I tried all different BIOS settings and still
>the same. I know that the disks are fine since they boot on other pentium
>systems. I also tried to install an ISA floppy controller but the
>motherboard doesn't recognize it. Pin 5 is missing on the floppy interface
>(on the motherboard, it's used as a key), something that I have never seen
>before but I don't thing that the floppy drive needs it (It's only GND if I
>remember correctly).
>I cannot call the company from where I bought the computer because they
>test with windows and I have to admit that windows works great!
>Anyone has any ideas?

The first lesson for everyone is to be a more demanding buyer.  Get a
guarantee that the computer will run Linux or you can return it for a
full refund.  To be fair to the dealer, you should be required to do
the testing within 10 days.  However, you don't have that and you need
help.

Make sure your Linux RAM disk works on another computer.  You can load
the BOOT & RAM disk without proceeding with the installation.  You
should be able to use just about anyone's computer.  I'm assuming you
are using a stable Linux, like Slackware 3.0.

If you are sure that your masters are OK and you know how to load
Linux and Solaris, then I'd be back to your dealer.

There is no good reason that a working and properly engineered
computer that is based on the Pentium Pro should not run Linux or
Solaris.  "Pentium Pro" implies "IBM PC 386" compatibility.  This
computer (assuming you are loading correctly) is *NOT* compatible as
it stands.

Aside: Was Windows NT one of the operating systems tested?

The dealer may not know that Linux works.  May never had heard of it.
May not have heard of Solaris either.  Linux is an operating system
that is known to work (assuming you are using a good version).

Solaris is a COMMERCIAL operating system!  It is also well tested.
That a PC compatible (386+) computer is fine but won't run Solaris is
a patently ridiculous statement.

What's happening here is that Linux & Solaris are asking the computer
to perform a task that it is *supposed* to be able to perform.
Windows doesn't ask the computer to perform that particular task (or
not that fast or whatever) and thus the computer doesn't fail.

Let's say you went down and purchased a car.  Worked great until you
used 4th gear.  You take it back to the dealer.  "Sorry, but we only
test our cars up to 30mph."  You would then agree that the car works
fine up to 30mph.  But that hardly proves the car is working.

I think the dealer either (1) doesn't care and is trying to get rid of
you or (2) doesn't understand the problem and thinks it's software or
both.

I have lots of stories, but I'll pick a one.  Linux loaded.  DOS 6.22
was already loaded.  Win3.11 worked fine.  But Linux would crash after
5 minutes.  The crashes also caused file system damage (ouch).

Finally, after booting DOS 20 times, the HIMEM.SYS memory checker
found defective RAM.  DOS failed again after another 15 boots.  The
RAM was replaced and the computer has been happily running Linux for 6
months now.

The lesson is that a computer can look OK in one  or more operating
systems.  But that in no way proves that the computer works.

The same goes for so called "diagnostics."  Diagnostics can only prove
that a computer is broken.  Diagnostics cannot prove that a computer
is working.  Perhaps the best diagnostic for a computer is a
multi-user operating system.

I don't know if this will help, but feel free to take this down to the
store.

Hugh McCurdy

 
 
 

1. --> Linux on a Pentium Pro versus a Pentium

It depends,  are you getting a real pentium pro with 2 processors or the
"cheapie" with only one?

I have not seen any preformance improvements with the single processor
ppro.  But I have seen Major speed increases with a 2 processor system..

One catch...  you have to use a Linux kernel optimized for Multi processors
and put up with buggy Alpha code releases.  

If you're looking for stability , use Red hat with a Cyrix 6x86 p200+

If you want bleeding edge go with 2 proc ppro and multi processor linux.


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