Linux Installation with SCSI Host Adapter

Irena and Richard Jenkins rjenkins at
Thu Aug 16 20:10:51 EST 2001

For a couple of months I have been struggling to make a linux install on my 
machine.  My difficulty has been the need to pass certain parameters across 
to a module after loading it.  After several hours of no progress, I managed 
to get an old Slackware installation to work.  Basically I used the boot disk 
for SCSI and an extra module for the Adaptec 152x range of cards.  I then had 
to go the extra step of identifying I/O, IRQ, etc ... and then writing these 
values into the installation at the correct time and in the correct format.

At the time I was happy to make some progress but the Slackware was rather 
old and the quaint packaging system they use did not assist me in the 
installation of updates and new amateur radio software.  Everyone seemed to 
be using either RedHat, Mandrake or Debian.  I tried the latest version of 
Slackware (8.0) at it too installed without drama.  Trouble was that the 
version of XFree would not work with my S3 card.  

********(Anyone want a $15 set of three GPL cdroms for Slackware 8?  Contact 
me direct if you do! )   *********

Debian installs came to a complete halt when I could not find how to write 
and use a modules disk under potato.  I must be dim but .... I couldn't.  I 
still wanted success with either RedHat or Mandrake.  After more success with 
SuSE last week and a break from the problem for 7 to 9 days I attacked it 
again this morning.

RedHat again proved a dead end.  I could get the installer to ask for and 
load the drivers disk ... but the only hard drive it could see was the IDE 
one.  More success with Mandrake (7.2) though ... and to make a long story 
shorter I now have a working system!

What have I learnt?

1.   You must identify all the needed settings ...
	(a)	I/O hex
	(b)	IRQ
	(c)	SCSI _ID
	(d)	parity check state

2.   You must read the documentation VERY carefully.  Take special note of 
the exact form of the parameters.  Just having the correct values is not 
enough.  You must write the parameters eactly as the installer wishes.

e.g.    for Slackware you write a statement like
	i.e.  I/O=0x140hex; IRQ=10; SCSI_ID=7, parity enabled!

         for SuSE if you type the above the module won't load!!  You type ONLY

		... and let the installer probing find all the missing parameters.

          In Mandrake I began by selecting expert install and I had to 
identify which of two positions to enter the data ... one was headed aha152x 
and the other aha152x 1 ... or similar.  Then you have to write the 
parameters so:

			(nothing else)

Information about the format of these parameters is not readily available.  
Read whatever you can and be prepared to experiment until you can get the 
correct parameters.  You will know when things are correct ... because there 
will be a message about the module loading.  You will probably HAVE to make 
two floppy disks: one is for boot and the other for the extra drivers/modules 
for your hardware.  Installs from the cdrom always seem to bomb without 
finding your hardware!

If you have had problems before, then have another go.   Don't ask me for 
help with RedHat or Debian ... but I have managed to get Slackware 3.5, 8.0, 
Caldera Open Linux 2.3, SuSE 6.2 and now Mandrake 7.2 to load on this 
hardware.  That will probably do me ... because my hardware is not exactly 
cutting edge.

Cheers for now


Irena and Richard Jenkins                                       VK1NDV & VK1RJ
Canberra, Australia

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