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jackb_guppy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:32 pm    Post subject: Gening a kernel for an old machine Reply with quote

I been working at this now for almost 2weeks. I am trying to build a kernel for a Winchip-C6 with 128MB and 18GB drive w/ 1x USB1.1 port, 1 serial and 1 parallel port. The video is VESA Trident CyberBlade. It is all on one-board, in a single housing w/ a LCD 800x600 screen. There are no floppies, cd-roms or even Ethernet port. It is know as an I-Opener.

The drive it broken to 4 partitions - 1/2 GB is FreeDos and boot options - format FAT, 1.4 GB is WinME with Puppy 4.3.1, 1/2 GB Swap, 14GB for Linux. There still a little left over - to increase swap to a full 1 GB, but current leaving at this size to allow me to copy to/from a virtual machine on Q6660 w/ 8GB and 2TB of drives.

For Ethernet, I use a Belkin USB to Ethernet Adaptor also known as CATC. And short of pulling the drive and connecting with a USB to PATA device, I use memory stick with either PUPPY and WinME - very slow at USB1.1 speeds - to move items between two systems.

FreeDos, WinMe and Puppy all work. Had #! (crunchbang) on the 4 partition but it ran too "heavy", so I am trying Gentoo to make lighter version to run instead, hopefully tuned to machine.

I have tried to create in the virtual system system and fought circular issues with emerge. Got though that and moved the image to I-Opener and it bombed -e errors with linked files. Tried dd image, it bombed also. subspected error with with disk geometry, so took tar ball of image and used Puppy to install it. Now links looked right, started the boot and it panic attached when it hit the USB.

Using PUPPY to get me to chroot, tried a many other conbos... all lead to same final issue, so I though my hand configuring was wrong - not understanding one thing or another... so I punned. I started again with PUPPY clearing the 4th partition, moving in STAGE3 for 486 and started the install directly on I-Opener. Instead of manually configing the kernel this time, I used "genkernel all", to create an all propose kernel - to big but at leae it works... Well after 3 days of compiles and fails (PUPPY keeps EVERYTHING in memory) I got thought the full build and all the files are there in /boot: kernel and initramfs. I boot it up and it fails again. This time with cx8 cmov issues! Those showed with PentiumPro and matter models. "genkernel all" build it for the wrong hardware! I saw march=486 going by on the compiles, so all looked right.

How do I get a general build for 486 machine? Yeah, I know Winchip-C6 has it own setting, but it will run 486 code, so I am just trying for lowest denominator.
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jackb_guppy
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Joined: 20 May 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well i get to answer my own problem. Thanks for all the reads though.

Issue is genkernel is "mis-configured" with regards to a stage3-i486-20140415 tar ball. It is set to build a kernel for a PentiumPro by default, not a 486. It also does not warn or otherwise notify operator that it is going to do that. Nor is it documented on kernel generation wiki pages that I have found. All I have found is that genkernel is suggested to be used by first time users to help get gentoo loaded, and yes it is slower to compile but you will have a system that is LIKE THE INSTALL CD, WILL JUST WORK. It is that last part that is problem.

Watching the compiles run, I saw march=i486 over and over. So there was NO CLUE that PentiumPro was the default cpu. Fishing around, I found the I could use "genkernel --menuconfig all" to get access to default config and fix the cpu. A little counter intuitive, genkernel will create a default system, but you must reconfigure it to create a default system.

With older (slower running) machines, this information of PentiumPro is critical up front. Else the user will spend days wasting trying to figure out what they did wrong. Just be cuase the information was not in the fore front.

To improve the experience of loading gentoo. I suggest two changes be made:
1) Clearly document the choice that was made in the default config. Place it on the webpages.
2) As part of the genkernel when it runs, at least note that the cpu that was chosen does not match the computer it is running on.

https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-956942-start-0.html <-- this forum entry had another person having similar problem. :oops:
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