Installing Sarge on SN45G

Okay I’ll try to document what I am doing. This is a live posting while I keep rebooting and starting over with my debian installation on my new computer: a Shuttle XPC SN45G. Rest of the hardware: 1GB RAM, GeForce4 TI2400, Seagate 200GB HDD, LG 4082B DVD Burner, USB Mouse and USB Keyboard.

I gave up on the dvd image hours ago. Then I made a sarge cd image. Didn’t work, well didn’t recognize the cdrom. Whatever. Now I am using a sarge netinstall cd. Download the image from debian.org and burn it … should be quick it’s just 110MB or so.

# Boot the CD
# at the prompt enter “expert” to start the expert install mode (if you are using an usb keyboard like I am do not try the “linux26” variants no usb in the 2.6 kernel, I might still switch back to my ps2 for the install)
# choose language and country, then you can choose your keyboard layout, there I set the usb keyboard option, yay, first problem solved
# next start cdrom detection, I have an LG4082B dvd burner which is now being recognized (sometimes it is not, don’t ask me), the hardware detection loads all kinds of modules, which I all ignored. I think the one I needed was generic-ide or something like that and of course the detection module.
# after the hardware detection the installer tells me that ‘forcedeth’ the nforce driver by nvidia is still missing, you can ignore that one safely, it will turn up later (it did on my last try)
# the hardware detection also believes there is a pcmcia slot, don’t believe it, I turned it off
# load installer components from cd, I am not loading any special installation components though “choose-mirror” and “baseconfig-udeb” sure sound tempting, I would never ever let anything “autopartition” my harddrive though.
# at this point the system tends to crash randomly (and irrecoverably, sometimes) because something fails to load from the cd and then kills the usb driver of my keyboard 🙁 if that happens go back and try again or reboot …. doesn’t take that long to get there (some kind of indeterminism, I wonder wether debian hates me for posting I hate debian this morning?)
# skip configuring your network and do yet another hardware detection round (just a couple lines below the network config) because that’s where the forcedeth driver turns up all of a sudden. now there is a bunch of modules AGAIN that I am not loading except the forcedeth … we’ll see where that goes, of course if you have some weirdo drives or hardware you need while installing …
# something is still weird since the system tells me I am still missing modules: ide-scssi, ide-mod, ide-probe-mod, ide-generic and ide-floppy. Since I do not even have a floppy my guess is that this list is a bunch of bull-shit.
# we are back in the main installer menu. I’ll try to configure the network again, now that I have the forcedeth module: do not try to autodetect any network hardware: just a bunch of funny errors that takes time to go through. the network configuration seemed to work this time, at least there is no error. that’s just the usual stuff like ip and all that, since my dhcp server is not working, I am configuring without dhcp.
# this is the point where the coolest part of installing a new system happens: you get to choose your hostname, I say: choose wisely!
# partitioning the hard disk. yeah, the most interesting part. So after making a few big windows partitions a few days ago there are 53GB left for linux. I’ll do 7GB for /, 20GB for /home, 1GB for swap and the rest 25GB for /usr, /opt and /var. Sarge is cool: it will use ext3 as default fs. do I need to make any of the partitions bootable? I mean ‘/’ ? the installer always drops dead when I do that (and right now it did as well so it seems I can start over again …. that’s why I am writing this article, so I will not repeat stupid errors)
# the installer freezes while loading fdisk, very fishy. I might just quit installing debian for tonight, after all if it let me fdisk the hdd I would be nearly finished and that would have been way to easy after trying to burn images for 2 days and only trying to install for a few hours now oh well one more time.

G’night.