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(?) The Answer Guy (!)

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

(?) Question from an old friend.

From Gregg Q Reynante on Fri, 05 Feb 1999

Hi Jim,

It's me, Regina's husband. Haven't had the opportunity to write 'til now. Here's my question?

I'm trying to install RH 5.2 on a Pentium 133. Here's the catch. I have a WD SCSI 2.1 Gig HD using an Adaptec 1542CF (ISA) card. Because of the other hardware and/or motherboard of the system, I need to set the SCSI card to non-default settings. During the Linux install, it's fine until it asks for SCSI devices. When I send it to autoprobe the 1542, it tells me it's not there. In the past I've used the SCSI card & drive in default mode and successfully installed RH 5.1 This is an upgrade from my 486 machine, so I don't want to go back.

Any suggestions?

(!) First disable any BIOS/Setup "PnP" (plug and pray) features that your system is trying to foist on you.
If autoprobing doesn't work try passing the kernel a hint. In the bootparam(7) man pages you'll find details on many supported parameters. Look for something like:
and fill in the parameters. I might use:
... for example.
You might have to start your Red Hat installation in "expert" mode so that it will prompt you for these parameters.
Another possibility is that you have to cut a custom kernel and put that on your RH installation/boot floppy. This isn't too tough and it is documented in their manual. The boot floppies used by Red Hat are just MS-DOS formatted floppies with an MS-DOS filesystem and a copy of the SYSLINUX boot loader. There is a SYSLINUX.CFG file which is a bit like a lilo.conf file on an installed system. You should have to touch that (if you just replace the VMLINUZ file with one of the same name).
A Red Hat boot.img file that I have here as 24K available on it. That's not much room --- but it might be enough for a kernel with an extra SCSI driver built straight into it.

(?) And yes, I've lowered the transfer rate to 5.0, enabled sync & parity checking on the card. I've even installed DOS, so I know it works (or at least runs). I'm ready to turn it into an MS machine if I can't get this up & running soon.

TIA, Gregg

(!) My first guess would be that there is some PCI/PnP sort of thing that's inteferring with your auto-detection. So we bypass that with "expert" mode and tell it precisely where our card is. We also disable PnP since that often doesn't play well with ISA cards (like the 1542CF).

Copyright © 1999, James T. Dennis
Published in The Linux Gazette Issue 38 March 1999

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