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howto install gentoo on a compaq presario 900 series
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Joined: 26 Mar 2003
Posts: 243
Location: Graz, Austria

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2003 6:49 pm    Post subject: howto install gentoo on a compaq presario 900 series Reply with quote

This little howto was inspired by frustrating hours of trying to get a gentoo install onto a friends
compaq presario 905EA. All of the problems that I encounted where already documented in the forums.
However not in a central place, which led me to encounter each of them one after the other.
Thus I decided to pull those threads together and make a little howto.
Although those errors where encountered on a 905EA they seem to happen throughout the 900 series.

Which livecd?
At the time of writing the gentoo 1.4 livecd had just been released.
Using the basic version I was unable to succeed in successfully being able to start an installation.
When passing no option to the kernel you will most likely be prompted with an error message like this one:

mount: Mounting /newroot/dev/cdroms/cdrom0 on /newroot/cdroot failed: Invalid argument
CD not found
umount: /newroot: Device or resource busy

However I was able to boot using the livecd kernel by passing nousb and nohotplugs to the kernel:

gentoo nousb nohotplugs

Although the Presario 905EA has a standard RealTek 8139 NIC the livecd was unable to get it working.
Thus I decided to use Knoppix and the Alternative Installation Guide to get my system up and running.

compare the thread Compaq Presario 900 Install woes

In the Alternative Installation Guide you will find a chapter dedicated to Knoppix.

In order to be able to boot into knoppix you will most likely need to pass the nousb option to the kernel.
knoppix nousb

Once in Knoppix the commands that you should issue are:
sudo passwd root
usermode -d /root -m root

as well as later on
# mount -o bind /proc /mnt/gentoo/proc
# mount -o bind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev

for more details please consulte the guide.
The guide then tells you to continue with Chapter 6

After resolving bug 27585 a section has become obsolete, and was thus deleted.

However there rests one more chance to get frustrated

The Kernel
You have to disable
Machine Check Exception under Processor Type and Features
If you fail to do so you will be prompted with an error message reading as follows:
isapnp: Scanning for PnP cards...
CPU 0: Machine Check Exception: 00000000000000007
Bank 3: b40000000000083b at 00000001fc0003b3
Kernel panic: Unable to continue

In case you receive this error message Kioshen pointed out that there exists a kernel option:

This was encountered using the gentoo-sources 2.4.20-r6.
And according to spiritraveller it should be resolved with kernel version 2.4.22 which can at the moment be emerged using the gs-sources.

Also paranode mentioned that it is impossible to get sound working with the 2.4.20 kernel unless you find a specif sound patch.
I've installed sound without any problems using the vanilla 2.4.21 kernel and the Gentoo alsa guide. Never really tried with the gentoo sources 2.40.20-r6.
Kioshen informed me of the possible reason.
Kioshen wrote:
So in the 2.4.21 (like the one MDK 9.1 uses) The Trident patch that you had to apply to get the sound working without freezing the system has been included in the kernel.

The original postings of spirittravler and paranode can be found in the thread Compaq Presario 906US, Most impossible to install Gentoo on?.

For those of you still in need for more information, Kioshen gave me a great url. The LinuxPresario900 mailing list. It offers some great resources as well as their archive.

I hope this little howto will be of any help to those installing gentoo on those wicked Compaq machines.

Thanks to Kioshen for sending me his valuable tips.
If anyone else has something to add please feel free to pm me or post it right beneath.
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