Installing Debian On ACER Altos 1200

Fiuh... one machine conquered! I will not discuss about the fiddling, struggling, and meddling parts (hmm... maybe just a 'little'), but let's take a look what's the insight.

I've got a funky machine, ACER Altos 1200 with the following specs:
- Memory 1536 MB
- RAID Controller AccelleRAID 362
- 6 SCSI [8,8,8,8,34,34] in RAIDs (1+0, 1).
- 2 Proc Pentium III

This thing made any debian based Installer (Etch and Hardy) failed to boot, rebooted with no reason. The machine didn't even bother to recognize OpenSolaris CD.

At first, I was thinking it was because of the VGA (Mach64) didn't do well. So, I did the "vga=771" option which resulted without luck. I even put off ACPI with "acpi=0ff", "noacpi", and "nolapic" combinations.
The problem was reproducible with different CDs and distros, so it was highly that this wasn't a CD problem. Knoppix also could boot although with a glitch about sometimes it only had one penguin detected. So, there was something else.

With my old unstable version of Debian Installer, I managed to have kernel panic with a clear problem: couldn't create RAMDISK for booting. After the problem found, I googled and found out that there was a posibility that different RAMs on board could confuse the kernel. From this point, there were 2 possible solutions:
  1. Take some of the RAM modules off so that the system only have one. This option is not viable for me, given the experience at the past that I had wrecked few servers (OK, I'm not that good with hardware).
  2. I found this later option in installation of Debian into SunFire machines. The thing is, you have to tell the installer how much the memory. So, I appended " mem=1536MB" option.
I booted with the following:
"expert mem=1536MB"

Why use expert, not standard installation? Well, because I'm an l33t... :D

Nah, the reason was because I would to make sure the installation went well. As my guess, there would be something wrong in the process which was installing the bootloader. None of GRUB and LILO could be installed. The problem was because the installer wouldn't recognize my RAID devices. It choked at funky name.

What's wrong anyway if the device is "/dev/rd/c0d0"?

So, I opened the second console and chrooted to /target (Debian's default mounted root directory) and trying to install manually LILO and GRUB. Because of laziness, which is a virtue according to Larry, I only managed to install GRUB. So, I choose GRUB because it probed my device well, this was its "/boot/grub/" :
(hd0) /dev/rd/c0d0
(hd1) /dev/rd/c0d1
With that detected, I ran:
# update-grub

and then ran:
# grub-install /dev/rd/c0d0

and ignored all the warnings about funky device names.

and then I blogged it. Save house ahead.



  1. coba gnewsense donk :D

  2. eh arsitekturnya apa tuh jep? 64-bit? ga ada harapan deh buat gnewsense klo selain x86 :(

    1337h4x indeed :D

  3. I guess there would be something wrong while installing bootloader.