Board English forum HD Installation Think about build architecture!

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I have an old Syntax mobo, 533MHz VIA "Samuel" CPU. Supposedly, it's a P3, but it lacks the CMOV instructions, so its not a "true" i686. Finding current distros with active repos that will boot on it is becoming increasingly more difficult. Unity Linux is among those that will not boot on it, for lack of CMOV. At this writing, SAMity_rc2 iso is still downloading, and I haven't actually tried it, I can only hope that the devs recompiled Unity's kernel with different parameters. Having a "lightweight" desktop (intended for aging hardware) is bloody useless if the kernel can't boot on said older machines!!!

I'll update here once I've actually tried it. :-|

--- Last Edited by xheralt at 2010-07-26 07:56:22 ---
-- changed displayname to match my ID on main Unity forum
We will take that into the account, I think Jurgen will answer better on the question, he is working on possibility to boot with different kernels
Thanks serjant, as feared, rc2 kernelpanics and reboots almost as soon as the kernel tries to load. Is it possible to have kernels for different architectures on the same LiveCD? So that one could select i586, i686, etc. from the grub menu?

Edit: A bit of googling has turned up the fact that AMD K6 processors, clock-speed-wise equal to their Intel counterparts, also do not implement the CMOV instructions.

Also, back in 2007, Linus himself was saying CMOV instruction use in the kernel is a Bad Thing.

Of course, his disapproval hasn't stopped it from happening, apparently.

2nd edit: The problem may reside in the build of ISOLINUX itself? Recompiling that in a non-CMOV architecture may be the first step...

--- Last Edited by xheralt at 2010-07-26 08:20:45 ---

--- Last Edited by xheralt at 2010-07-26 08:26:23 ---
-- changed displayname to match my ID on main Unity forum
Which iso did you download? This one from the Unity-webpage which is supposed for use with elder computers? If yes, we have to discuss how to modify the kernel. We (SAMity) are not building this but the untiy-dev's are really helpful. If the lgc-iso does not work for you ask in the unity-forum for it if it could be possible. I tell you this and ask not for by myself because you can answer the arizing questions directly and I can not.

Greetz
Yogibaer
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SAMity 2011
Kernel 35.8
RAM 3,2 GB
2*IDE, 1*SATA
Nvidia 6100
WLAN zd1211
look up for it
Yeah, everything I tried was straight from the Unity page, and download mirrors.

I hadn't tried TinyMe at first, but when I did, it also failed -- but showed some different behaviour. It gets past the BIOS screen, I see the text prompt gfxboot: the autorun fails silently, falls back to the regular prompt boot: After a brief delay, it again tries gfxboot: which naturally fails again, then boot: again, back and forth a few times until it gives up and reboots the machine.

I'm so used to attributing these problems to the cpu, because when other distros actually returns an error message, that's what I get (either naming CMOV or calling it "feature 0:15")

On the other hand, having just gotten a cheap but better machine, I'm in a position to dump this problematic hardware altogether.
-- changed displayname to match my ID on main Unity forum
Okay, semi-crosspost from the Unity board. The result of SAMity RC2.lgc iso:
burned on my regular desktop (p4/2400, SIMPLYMepis), using k3b; failed verify, but that's not always telling
tested on a tru i686, Celeron/1400, it booted okay
tested on the problematic VIA/533, it FAILED at ISOLINUX 3.86. Saw that line, and a brief glimpse of the gfxboot: prompt, but no more; the machine immediately rebooted.

I'm using the builtin graphics card on the mobo, SiS chipset, don't remember exactly which and I'm not home to check (will edit that detil in later); I know it's capable of 1152x864 (XGA+), but only Slackware-based distros tend to recognize that; others force me down to 1024x768.

The mobo, while made before 2000, does have ACPI; I always have to specify acpi=force in the boot parameters. So in some ways, this mobo was advanced for its time.

I'm beginning to think that I have such an odd case, that I shouldn't be trying to force your whole organization into accomodating me. I've halfway considered "rolling my own" for some time, and this may be the way to go with this. However, having never done this before, I'm not sure if I really know enough.

While there are tutorials on how to build kernels, what I really don't know is what to do *next*, how to assemble the rest of an install around it, adhering as much as possible to an existing distro. But maybe I should build a kernel first, before I worry about anything else...
-- changed displayname to match my ID on main Unity forum
Hi Guignol,

I think in your very special case it would be a nice game to gamble if we can get your comp working with SAMity, but as you wrote this is a hard task. Your suggested solution seems to be the best solution for you and if you are familiar with meking kernels and so on you could join the dev-team and help within unity and SAMity if you like. :-)

btw, the rc2 is not able to boot an SIS-graphic, the newer kernels are. I am also had a comp which stopped at the boot line (did not immediately fall back to reboot) with the latest iso. Here it was possible to enter the necessary bootline and then the comp booted to the desktop.

Minidiegi in the german part of the forum was successful entering the following line

 boot: vmlinuz livecd=livecd initrd=initrd.gz root=/dev/rd/3 acpi=off vga=normal keyb=us 

perhaps it can be helpful for you as well.

'Greetz
Yogibaer
----------------------------------------
SAMity 2011
Kernel 35.8
RAM 3,2 GB
2*IDE, 1*SATA
Nvidia 6100
WLAN zd1211
So, the current kernel won't boot because of my crippled cpu, and the legacy kernel won't boot because of my graphics card. Stuck in the middle.

Well, I'll post the results when I try those boot parameters.

I have no experience building kernels; this is a last resort. The exercise would be as much about "can I actually do it?" as "getting this machine working". I understand the process of programming but my actual knowledge is decades out of date; I know several dialects of BASIC and dabbled in assembler but I don't know C or anything more current. Hell, I don't even know html, beyond basic tags! Several of my friends are/were high-level sysadmins, so I talk the talk pretty well; perhaps too well.
-- changed displayname to match my ID on main Unity forum
Did you try the latest tinyme version from the Tinyme-repo? I am confident that this has a proper sis-support.

look here:
http://tinymelinux.com/doku.php/test:download
----------------------------------------
SAMity 2011
Kernel 35.8
RAM 3,2 GB
2*IDE, 1*SATA
Nvidia 6100
WLAN zd1211


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