I’m starting to get annoyed with the reliability of the USB chip sets in my external disks (of which I have six), so I am considering upgrading to a home theatre style case for my Dell e310 so I can have room to move the disks to inside the case. There are of course warts — the Dimension e310 appears to have a BTX mother board (
). Additionally, no one seems to make a BTX home theatre PC case, which sucks.
So, I might end up having to replace the entire machine, which isn’t so cool. I’m gonna put all of this on hold until I can apply more thought to it.
I’ve just realised that I never got around to commenting on how to get the Dell working with Ubuntu. Here’s what I did (I’m hoping I remember it all correctly):
- Setup network booting
- Changed the boot config for the network boot to automatically boot into the right install after a small timeout
- Disabled the onboard USB controller
- Installed a random PCI USB controller
- Rebooted the target machine
- The installer now netboots, and goes into the kernel with no interaction from the keyboard
- Install like normal
So, I just leave the onboard USB controller disabled, and use the PCI one.
A previous entry discusses the Ubuntu installer stalling on my new Dell Dimension e310. In that post I decided that it was the USB controller causing pain, but the plot has thickened…
Knoppix: has no problems booting on the machine.
Debian’s Stable: the installer boots fine, but DHCP doesn’t work and it cant find the SATA disk.
The current Debian Testing: the installer freezes just like the Ubuntu one.
So, perhaps it’s time for a chroot install of Debian from Knoppix? Although qtparted doesn’t work on Knoppix properly, so I might have to do the filesystem resizing by hand.
I got a very good price on a Dell e310, so I have been trying to install Linux on it for about an hour now without much joy. It turns out (or at least this is my current theory) that the USB chipset in the machine isn’t supported by the Ubuntu 5.10 installer, and that causes the kernel to crash on boot. There certainly seem to be other people experiencing this as well.
Unfortunately, I really need USB on this machine, as there are no legacy ports and I really like keyboards. Specifically, the Ubuntu install CD needs me to enter a boot line before it boots the installer kernel, and I can’t do that with my spare USB controller installed and the on board one disabled, as the BIOS wont allow me.
I’ll keep you posted when I come up with a solution.