Re: startup problems

From: Rik Hughes (
Date: Thu Dec 16 1999 - 13:52:56 CET

> Hello,
Hi, fellow Briton.
> I've been having trouble getting a single floppy muLinux to boot on a
> five year old Dell 486/25s with 12 Mb ram. The problem occurs at the
> stage where the USR section of the floppy is uncompressed into
> /dev/ram1. Very occasionally this works and I get the "I feel good"
> message, but much more often I get the "This usr have some problems"
> message. I can get muLinux to start up correctly and run programs as I
> would expect if I go into maintenance mode and copy a version of USR
> from the hard disk to /dev/ram1, so I think the ROOT and kernel are
> getting loaded ok.
Have you thought about not decompressing the USR section?
> One possibility is just that the floppy itself is bad, but I don't think
> so because a) I have tried with several different floppies and b) all of
> these floppies run muLinux with no problem on a different (64Mb Celeron)
> machine.
> In fact, I think the trouble comes in reading the data from
> /dev/fd0H1722, rather than in decompressing it, because I can go into
> maintenance mode and copy the data to the hard disk with 'fastdd
> /dev/fd0H1722 1137' twice in a row and get files that differ according
> to cmp and which have bad checksums according to 'bzip2 -stvv'.
> So another possibility is that the floppy drive is faulty. Maybe it is,
> but why should the fault show itself so reliably in this particular
> context and no other that I am aware of? I have used the floppy drive
> for file transfer under dos/windows for five years and minix for a few
> months and never noticed any corruptions.

5 years?!? Have you any idea how dirty, magnetised and generally
unfunctioning the drive will now be. You can by from PC World etc a PC
cleaning kit with a little floppy disk 'cleaner' and this might help you.
Also if you use Titanic '95 (Whose computer you gonna sink today?) then you
might have tried at somepoint the MS Setup disks on Superformatted cab files
of 1.8Mb. If not try and get them and see if you can read a disk.
Alternatively find a Superformatter for Tit95 from
and try that.

>So maybe the 1.7Mb Linux
> driver pushes the hardware harder than dos/windows. But there doesn't
> seem to be any problem in reading in the kernel and root from this same
> floppy and I have a floppy with tomsrtbt that goes through a very
> similar loading procedure (reading a compressed /usr filesystem from a
> 1.7Mb floppy into a ram disk) and that works perfectly every time.
> Does anyone know whether the 1.7Mb floppy driver of tomsrtbt likely to
> be any different from the one in the muLinux kernel? The block devices
> do have different names - fd0H1722 vs. fd0u1722.
> A possible clue is that I sometimes get an error message "fd0 timeout
> handler died" while reading USR from the floppy. (I haven't seen it at
> any other time.) However, copying can go wrong without the message.
> I'd be grateful for any ideas on how to diagnose or fix this problem.
> (In particular, I'd rather not buy a new floppy drive only to discover
> that the device driver is assuming a faster processor or something.)
> On an entirely separate topic:
> I find that I can't mail to with my normal mail program,
> plain old unix mail, called mailx under solaris. The mail is eventually
> returned with a message saying it couldn't be delivered after 4 or 5
> days and something about "451 Open relay". In particular, I couldn't
> subscribe to this group until I discovered that mail sent with the
> netscape mailer would get through. I have mailed
> (using netscape!) enclosing the error messages
> I get with the other mailer, but I've had no response so far. Has
> anyone else had this problem or know what it is about? I've never had
> it with any other site.
> Regards,
> Stephen Isard

Hope this helps


(01639) 845779

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