Eric Ji's Blog

Location: Sunnyvale, California, United States

Monday, December 06, 2004

Fodera Core 3/ Windows XP dual boot starting from a single windows partition(Part 2)

Cotinuing last night's post, I list the problems encountered in booting FC3 as below.

1. Averatec 3200 screen becomes black and never comes back during booting. This problem has been reported happening on some other brand laptops as well. The trick is to use 'Ctrl+Alt+F1' to bring it back.

2. Past 1, Averatec may automatically try to shutdown, printing some message about md/md0. The reason for this is there's a bug in FC3 acpi, the power management. It can be bypassed in booting. Reboot computer, and choose 'e' to edit grub in the booting menu, adding 'acpi=off', sth like "kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.9-1.667 ro acpi=off". To eventually fix this problem, after FC3 boots up, can change to use apm or install newer driver for acpi.

3. Now seems everything is ok, till the X startup stage. X just doesn't startup, still this is because of the vedio adapter driver. To fix it, similar as 2, add ' 3' in the boot option, "kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.9-1.667 ro acpi=off 3". It will boot into console mode, then login as root and fix it. Open file /ect/X11/xorg.conf, search for line 'Driver "via"', and change it to "Drive "vesa"', to use the generic driver, since the included via driver doesnt work properly.

4. X should boot till now. But there's another problem, it starts X in 800X600 resolution, and you can't change it to 1024x768, either by editing /etc/X11/xorg.conf or using 'start->system setting->display' in FC3. The problem is monitor. FC3 can't recognize Averatec's monitor and put a generic CRT with low HorizSync and VertRefresh there. Linux would read that parameters to determine whether it's safe to use certain resolution. Change it to 'Generic LCD' and increase HorizSync/VertRefresh. Normally LCD has fixed values as 60Hz. The modified xorg.conf should read like below, the bold line means being modified.

Section "Monitor"
******* (other parameters)
ModelName "Generic LCD"
HorizSync 31.5-60.5
VertRefresh 28-70

Section "Device"
******* (other parameters)
Driver "vesa"

Section "Screen"
******* (other parameters)
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 16
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x320"
******* (other parameters)

FC3 should be booting charmingly now.

Fodera Core 3/ Windows XP dual boot starting from a single windows partition(Part 1)

After using my Averatec 3200 laptop for several months with Windows XP, it's time to try out something new. Besides, I've got the mood to do some coding just for fun in my spare time. As aways, it meant I need install Linux and BSD. I chose Fedora Core 3 as the start, and luckily I encountered many of the annoying problems posted on net, so it helped me kill a boring night. In case other poeple out there try to do the same thing, I list the steps below as a FYI.

1. Averatec 3200 comes with a single disk logical partition. To install FC3, more partitions are needed. There are tools to create new partitions without losing data, such as pqmagic, fips etc, or if you dont care of date loss, Linux included tools such as Disk Druid is good enough. I used pqmagic to do the job. Also, linux /boot directory needs be in the first 1024 cylinder, if LBA(Logical Block Addressing) is not used. There are posts on net that LBA is corrupted sometimes, as showed here. Not to pull off my hair, I shrinked Windows XP in the middle, with / and /sawp partitions before it, and a /share partition in FAT32 format after it which serves for Windows XP/FC3 data sharing.

2. Burns FC3 ISO images into CDs. Just for newbies, ISO can't be burned as data files, configure the options of your CD burn software for this. If your software doesnt support this, don't worry, there are some freeware/sharewares.

3. Shutdown computer, and reboot from CD. Installation doesn't work in GUI mode on Averatec 3200. As I figured out later, it's because of the Averatec VIA/S3G adapter can't be supported during installation stage. So dont waste time here, just input 'linux text' in prompt to install in text mode.

4. It's straightforward to install FC3, just follow the screen. I can't remember exactly every step, just write down those still in my mind. Keyboard, language, partition, these steps are smooth, remember to choose formating partition, otherwise there might be errors in late stage.

5. Boot loader, FC3 comes with only Grub, no lilo. Just choose it, and configure it to be installed in MBR. There's a Linux dual boot Grub HOW-TO file on net, but seems it complicated the work. Just simply install Grub in MBR, and make it dual boots FC3 and Windows. This way no any change is needed in Windows XP boot.ini, and no file copyover is needed as well.

6. Network setting, choose DHCP if you use home networking, and configure firewall if you are concered about the security. Then choose the packages you are interested in. Then let FC3 deal with it. If formating is not selected in step 4, FC3 may generate errors in installing packages.

7. It should be relatively smooth to finish the installation and ask you to reboot the computer. Now the real meat comes, it just doesn't boot! The following need be fixed to make FC3 run happlily on Averatec. ---TBC