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issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
07-18-2014, 05:35 PM
Post: #11
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
I found 20MB of RAM in form of 30-pin SIMM modules and installed in the BC3486F motherboard together with Orchid Fahrenheit 1280+ VESA compatible VGA adapter (1MB of video RAM), 3Com Etherlink III 10Mbit/s ethernet adapter and some unknown Floppy/IDE/COM/LPT adaptor. Still searching for a suitable sound card.
Some monkey removed one of the important jumpers from that motherboard and it was a detective story to find that out and make it booting.
I killed the last spare AT power supply I had at home by connecting it to a broken 386SX/25MHz motherboard, but that finally made me to create a converter cable from ATX to AT power supply. It works great and I don't have to search for ridiculously expensive AT power supplies anymore.
I found the same hard-drive like you have (Quantum 3079MB) and installed DeLi(cate) on it. To be honest, even with the 486DX/33MHz CPU it's very slow. I can't imagine it running on 386DX/40MHz as that piece was reported to be 20-40% slower than 486SX/25MHz :]

This is how it looks ... need to find (or create) an empty case for this baby.

   
   
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07-20-2014, 06:11 PM (This post was last modified: 07-20-2014 06:17 PM by mat619.)
Post: #12
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
(07-18-2014 05:35 PM)tavvva Wrote:  I found 20MB of RAM in form of 30-pin SIMM modules and installed in the BC3486F motherboard together with Orchid Fahrenheit 1280+ VESA compatible VGA adapter (1MB of video RAM), 3Com Etherlink III 10Mbit/s ethernet adapter and some unknown Floppy/IDE/COM/LPT adaptor. Still searching for a suitable sound card.
Some monkey removed one of the important jumpers from that motherboard and it was a detective story to find that out and make it booting.
I killed the last spare AT power supply I had at home by connecting it to a broken 386SX/25MHz motherboard, but that finally made me to create a converter cable from ATX to AT power supply. It works great and I don't have to search for ridiculously expensive AT power supplies anymore.
I found the same hard-drive like you have (Quantum 3079MB) and installed DeLi(cate) on it. To be honest, even with the 486DX/33MHz CPU it's very slow. I can't imagine it running on 386DX/40MHz as that piece was reported to be 20-40% slower than 486SX/25MHz :]

This is how it looks ... need to find (or create) an empty case for this baby.
Hey, that's cool news! Yeah, it definitely needs a case Big Grin, but otherwise quite a neat machine! I especially envy you for the Ethernet adapter. Mine came without one, and the woman that previously owned it (a friend of my gf's mom) was absolutely not into networked computing back then. Dodgy Rolleyes
Regarding the performance of the 486SX / 25 MHz vs. the Am386DX / 40 MHz: AMD's 386 actually outperformed a few 486s in both benchmarks and real world scenarios. So I don't expect it to be too bad.


This brings me right on topic, because today I found the time to install alpha 5 - all in all it took about 3 hours, and I was afraid the machine would overheat during the process, because we had really warm weather here today: 36°C outside, and somewhere around 30°C inside the room it was situated during the install.

Unfortunately I experienced one big issue and a small one:
1) It didn't install grub... or didn't correctly? I'm not sure. The reboot after the install revealed a grub showing error 17, so it might be the grub I installed during my attempt with alpha 4.
2) The locale selection seemed to be buggy, I just had [<- OK] as the only option I could choose.

By the way, this is my new partition layout - I did get rid of FreeDOS - ordered by physical layout from beginning to the end of the HDD:
- hda1: /boot, 75 MB, flagged as bootable
- hda3: /, 1500 MB
- hda4: spare for another OS, 1500 MB
- hda2: swap, 100 MB
(In case you wonder why I sorted them this way: I wanted DeLi(cate)'s root closer to /boot, and didn't want to put the swap between the both OS partitions physically because I might want to extend the DeLi(cate) partition maybe one day.)

Any idea where to go from here? I've never installed grub or LILO from a floppy, but I think that's my only option, isn't it?

Thanks once again for your help in advance,
Matt
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07-20-2014, 07:09 PM
Post: #13
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
(07-20-2014 06:11 PM)mat619 Wrote:  This brings me right on topic, because today I found the time to install alpha 5 - all in all it took about 3 hours, and I was afraid the machine would overheat during the process, because we had really warm weather here today: 36°C outside, and somewhere around 30°C inside the room it was situated during the install.

The same here ... that's why I put a cooler on the one of mine.


(07-20-2014 06:11 PM)mat619 Wrote:  Unfortunately I experienced one big issue and a small one:
1) It didn't install grub... or didn't correctly? I'm not sure. The reboot after the install revealed a grub showing error 17, so it might be the grub I installed during my attempt with alpha 4.

What device did you install the grub to? I think you installed it to the boot sector of the /dev/hda1 partition (/boot) and that's wrong :] You need to install it to the MBR ... /dev/hda even when you have a separate /boot partition ... that partition only holds the stage2 loader, but the stage1 loader needs to be in the MBR.


(07-20-2014 06:11 PM)mat619 Wrote:  2) The locale selection seemed to be buggy, I just had [<- OK] as the only option I could choose.

And this is really strange. I tested that zillion times. Really.
Are you talking about the 'locale language' or the 'locale variant' ?
Was the swap activated? With 20MB RAM you need to activate the swap when asked , otherwise you can experience exactly this kind of issues.


(07-20-2014 06:11 PM)mat619 Wrote:  By the way, this is my new partition layout - I did get rid of FreeDOS - ordered by physical layout from beginning to the end of the HDD:
- hda1: /boot, 75 MB, flagged as bootable

no need for marking it bootable ... the bootable flag is for DOS MBR only, the GRUB MBR doesn't need it.


(07-20-2014 06:11 PM)mat619 Wrote:  - hda3: /, 1500 MB
- hda4: spare for another OS, 1500 MB
- hda2: swap, 100 MB
(In case you wonder why I sorted them this way: I wanted DeLi(cate)'s root closer to /boot, and didn't want to put the swap between the both OS partitions physically because I might want to extend the DeLi(cate) partition maybe one day.)

It's usually wiser to put the swap partition as close as possible to the beginning of the drive as the drive reads/writes are faster there. But in this case even the slowest part of the hard-drive is still much faster than the ISA bus, so ... the conclusion is that you can put it anywhere you want in this case.


(07-20-2014 06:11 PM)mat619 Wrote:  Any idea where to go from here? I've never installed grub or LILO from a floppy, but I think that's my only option, isn't it?

Please, answer my questions above, first :]
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07-20-2014, 08:08 PM
Post: #14
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
(07-20-2014 07:09 PM)tavvva Wrote:  What device did you install the grub to? I think you installed it to the boot sector of the /dev/hda1 partition (/boot) and that's wrong :] You need to install it to the MBR ... /dev/hda even when you have a separate /boot partition ... that partition only holds the stage2 loader, but the stage1 loader needs to be in the MBR.
That's the weird thing, the installer didn't ask me anything about grub! Sorry I didn't mention that in my earlier post. I had written about it, but apparently somehow lost that line during rearrangement of sentences - I'm too tired to think straight it seems Confused

(07-20-2014 07:09 PM)tavvva Wrote:  
(07-20-2014 06:11 PM)mat619 Wrote:  2) The locale selection seemed to be buggy, I just had [<- OK] as the only option I could choose.
And this is really strange. I tested that zillion times. Really.
Are you talking about the 'locale language' or the 'locale variant' ?
Was the swap activated? With 20MB RAM you need to activate the swap when asked , otherwise you can experience exactly this kind of issues.
Both locale selections. Yes, swap was activated.
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07-21-2014, 01:48 PM
Post: #15
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
(07-20-2014 08:08 PM)mat619 Wrote:  That's the weird thing, the installer didn't ask me anything about grub! Sorry I didn't mention that in my earlier post. I had written about it, but apparently somehow lost that line during rearrangement of sentences - I'm too tired to think straight it seems Confused

...

Both locale selections. Yes, swap was activated.

In that case something totally failed .... I suspect the installation of base packages was not successful for some reason. Maybe the overheating thing caused a crash of some component in the installer? By switching to the 4th tty with ALT+F4 you could see messages from pacman.

And I think I understand what it means to be tired ... I'm also trying to do a reconstruction of my flat and doing so while living there is pretty exhaustive.

I found a motherboard with i386DX/33MHz CPU at home and going to test it. Eventually I could move the CPU to the motherboard I took pictures of.
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07-21-2014, 03:25 PM
Post: #16
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
one more (maybe stupid) question ... did you create a new set of floppies from the Alpha5 CD?
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07-21-2014, 05:43 PM
Post: #17
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
(07-21-2014 03:25 PM)tavvva Wrote:  one more (maybe stupid) question ... did you create a new set of floppies from the Alpha5 CD?

Yup, of course I did - you mentioned that the pacman bug originated from the floppies, so I remembered to make sure to get the new versions Smile
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07-22-2014, 01:08 AM
Post: #18
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
Tested with i386DX/33MHz here ... it works, but it's unusable under the GUI without math co-processor. Really. Everything takes 10x longer than on the i486DX/33MHz. Even when the HDD performance is surprisingly nearly 50% higher on that Opti 386-WB motherboard with i386. Console is ok ...
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07-23-2014, 04:34 PM (This post was last modified: 07-23-2014 04:35 PM by mat619.)
Post: #19
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
(07-22-2014 01:08 AM)tavvva Wrote:  Tested with i386DX/33MHz here ... it works, but it's unusable under the GUI without math co-processor. Really. Everything takes 10x longer than on the i486DX/33MHz. Even when the HDD performance is surprisingly nearly 50% higher on that Opti 386-WB motherboard with i386. Console is ok ...

Whow. It is that bad? Didn't expect it to be so sluggish without the co-processor... makes me start to wonder if it makes sense at all to keep trying to install it on this box, especially because it starts to annoy me. Meanwhile I've taken a few attempts to boot the installed system using various live-running grub shells and alike, tried to find a way to install grub on there properly - none of that worked - or at least verify the rest of the install went well, but even that turned out as an unpleasant surprise: Mounting the DeLi(cate) partition from a floppy-based live system shows only hundreds of devices nodes instead of any folders and files that you'd expect to see on "/"...

As mentioned I'm currently slightly annoyed by all those issues and will put this project aside for now. Maybe a break from it will give me some new ideas. I think maybe in the end I'd be best off to install a system on this machine by putting the HDD in another PC, before troubleshooting the status quo any further. Who knows, maybe the hardware is faulty in one way or another - until now I haven't had the opportunity to verify if it is or not (my previous FreeDOS install doesn't really count imho, as I just couldn't get my head into DOS and so didn't really put it to use)

But I have another machine here that I could try DeLi(cate) on, in fact I'm typing this reply on it, with its lovely mechanical keyboard: an old Fujitsu LIFEBOOK C345 in almost mint condition, even the battery still lasts almost 3 hours! Guess DeLi(cate) would run nicely on it - the specs:
CPU: Intel Pentium II @ 266 MHz
RAM: 192 MB (upgraded, originally 64 MB)
HDD: 40 GB, 5400 RPM IDE (upgraded, originally 4 GB 4200 RPM, very slow and noisy)
VGA: Trident Cyber 9388
ETH: Intersil Corp. ISL3890 PCMCIA wifi card

Should perform quite well I think, shouldn't it? Only thing that worries me is the Trident... it proved to be problematic with some distros in the past.
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07-23-2014, 11:47 PM (This post was last modified: 07-23-2014 11:48 PM by tavvva.)
Post: #20
RE: issues with 0.1a4 floppy+CD install on 386 system
(07-23-2014 04:34 PM)mat619 Wrote:  
(07-22-2014 01:08 AM)tavvva Wrote:  Tested with i386DX/33MHz here ... it works, but it's unusable under the GUI without math co-processor. Really. Everything takes 10x longer than on the i486DX/33MHz. Even when the HDD performance is surprisingly nearly 50% higher on that Opti 386-WB motherboard with i386. Console is ok ...

Whow. It is that bad? Didn't expect it to be so sluggish without the co-processor...

Some threads on the Internet say that even Win95 needs co-processor and 8MB RAM, but other say, it only needs 386 and 4MB RAM. If I remember correctly, Win95 OSR2 didn't work with 4MB of RAM and the previous release did, so ... maybe just the OSR2 version needs co-processor. I'm quite curious now and going to test that and compare. I have 2 original CDs of Win95 I got from one of my previous employers. But I'll have to find some IDE CD-ROM first. I didn't need it for DeLi(cate) as I installed the system via network :]

(07-23-2014 04:34 PM)mat619 Wrote:  makes me start to wonder if it makes sense at all to keep trying to install it on this box

It always makes sense for HW enthusiasts :] Enthusiasts like to play with stuff without need for usability. Nobody expects miracles if we talk about HW that is more than 1000x slower than recent computers. My 6 years old workstation with Intel Core2 Duo / 2333MHz gives 9332.68 bogomips and the i386DX/33MHz gives 6.6 bogomips. That means it's ~1414x slower. The RAM capacity ratio is 4096/20 = 205x. The cached reads from the harddrive are 3267.24/4.26 = 767x. Buffered reads are 128.9/1.5 = 86x. Whilst Windows 95 were developed ~20 years ago and even of that they were reported as very slow on 386 cpus, the DeLi Linux 0.8 was assembled from ~8 years old projects and with 12 years difference it is not as bad as I expected. DeLi(cate) keeps the resource utilization at the same level as DeLi 0.8. With disabled depmod I'm able to boot the system on that 386 system in 75 seconds.

(07-23-2014 04:34 PM)mat619 Wrote:  especially because it starts to annoy me. Meanwhile I've taken a few attempts to boot the installed system using various live-running grub shells and alike, tried to find a way to install grub on there properly - none of that worked - or at least verify the rest of the install went well, but even that turned out as an unpleasant surprise: Mounting the DeLi(cate) partition from a floppy-based live system shows only hundreds of devices nodes instead of any folders and files that you'd expect to see on "/"...

As mentioned I'm currently slightly annoyed by all those issues and will put this project aside for now. Maybe a break from it will give me some new ideas. I think maybe in the end I'd be best off to install a system on this machine by putting the HDD in another PC, before troubleshooting the status quo any further. Who knows, maybe the hardware is faulty in one way or another

It can be tested with smartmontools by calling smartctl -A /dev/hda. there should be a number of reallocated sectors that usually tells you about the drive health.

(07-23-2014 04:34 PM)mat619 Wrote:  until now I haven't had the opportunity to verify if it is or not (my previous FreeDOS install doesn't really count imho, as I just couldn't get my head into DOS and so didn't really put it to use)

But I have another machine here that I could try DeLi(cate) on, in fact I'm typing this reply on it, with its lovely mechanical keyboard: an old Fujitsu LIFEBOOK C345 in almost mint condition, even the battery still lasts almost 3 hours! Guess DeLi(cate) would run nicely on it - the specs:
CPU: Intel Pentium II @ 266 MHz
RAM: 192 MB (upgraded, originally 64 MB)
HDD: 40 GB, 5400 RPM IDE (upgraded, originally 4 GB 4200 RPM, very slow and noisy)
VGA: Trident Cyber 9388
ETH: Intersil Corp. ISL3890 PCMCIA wifi card

Should perform quite well I think, shouldn't it? Only thing that worries me is the Trident... it proved to be problematic with some distros in the past.

Yeah, this should work better than well. Just the wifi card would need me to build a driver.
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