Older blog entries for spot (starting at number 106)

Well, damn. Advokitty is fast for once. I haven't posted here in a while, been busy. Here's the current musings:

Over the holiday break, I got Red Hat Linux 8.0 running on my ProGear touchpad tablet PC. Only thing not working is the PCMCIA. When I get bored again, I'm going to rebuild the kernel to see if I can fix it.


I put my foot down and said that there will be a new release in January, because if I didn't, it would keep being tuned and tweaked indefinitely.

Fixed the O(1)+low latency implementation for sparc64 (#1) so that it worked again. Decided to include it in the next release.

SS2 at work is really on its last legs. Its doing odd, unreproducable bad things. Going to take it out back and shoot it...err... return it to the donor as soon as I can replace it. Chris Hedemark donated a LOT of older Sun hardware to Aurora, so I need to go through that pile and perform triage on it. Best item: a WORKING (#2) Sun 4/300. No, I'm not really planning on supporting sun4 in Aurora. That would require far more than its worth. I just like old hardware, sue me.

There be dragons in the sparc64 VM. Thats my guess. It could be a bug in the O(1) implementation, but doing a mke2fs call in the GUI mode of anaconda (not TUI mode, that works fine) hard locks a sparc64. Hard lock as in, can't drop to prom. How do we resolve this? We run it through strace. It works then. Say it with me, Voo Doo.

Large disks partitioning/formatting in GUI mode (again not TUI) also hard locks the system. Even with mke2fs being run through strace. I'm going to generate a build with parted also run through strace and see if that resolves the issue.

Yes, I do realize thats incredibly hackish and bad.

Onboard network adapters aren't being properly autodetected on the U10, but the driver works fine, and the proper entries are in the kudzu sbus probing code. Same goes for the SCSI controller on the SS2. And some of the sym53c8xx controllers (SunBlade 2000). I can't find a good reason why.

Fixed USB implementations in both GUI and TUI. TUI didn't work at all in the last build on USB driven machines. Works almost perfectly now. Mouse isn't being autodetected, still can't pin down exactly why, but it works when you choose Generic 3 Button (USB).

The "parted" bug in 0.42 is very dead, the stock parted code for sparc is, well, bad. No offense to Ben C, but ick. It was misreading a huge subsect of disks. I don't claim to have made the code any cleaner, but at least the Aurora parted works on every disk I can throw at it now.

Sound detection is a little weird on some boxes. *shrug* sndconfig tried to load the sun4c audio driver on the SunBlade 2000. Shockingly enough, it didn't work. Although, everything else worked like a charm. It ran like a bat out of hell. :) I just wish it was my machine to keep.

Added cipe to the kernel. Didn't think it would work, but it seems to have built ok. It works on alpha, so it should work on sparc. I'm going to let Ingo test that.

The tree is too large to install off a single CD now. *shrug*

The GUI installer does bad things when dealing with Ingo's SS20 video card, because it has more memory than the standard, and I don't really have a good way to probe for it. Maybe if I had it in one of my machines, and another month... :/

Sun4d still doesn't work.

I really need a second apartment just for all this sparc stuff. I'm not complaining, just stating the obvious.

Looking at the small amount of sparc/sparc64 kernel code that I grok, reminds me how much I admire Pete & Dave (and Rob) for hacking in there. I'm not really a programmer, I just play one on TV. Those guys are programmers.

No one is still reading this. Apologies for the long entry.


And finally, release. Getting the multi-boot code to work (so I could have one ISO that boots both sparc32 and sparc64) was a little uglier than I'd hoped, but it works reliably.

I'm going to take the portable SCSI cdrom drive home and test on some other machine types, but all the hardware in the pile at work, well, works fine.

Thats a U2 (smp), a U10 (up), an SS20 (smp) and... the SS2 (up). GUI install on the SS2 even. It doesn't know what driver to use for its SCSI card (esp), but its easy to select from the list.

Sun4d doesn't work at all. But thats the kernel's fault.


At this point, I'm left with the mouseconfig failure (I need to debug kudzu to find out whats wrong with it), the KDE audio failure (not showstopping for a beta), and KDE being slower than Debian Stable's release cycle.

Video works for my ss20 (GX), and my Ultra 2 (Creator 3d). Installing without /boot partitions works. Brian Ferris's keyboard "us" bug in text mode is fixed. All the devices are being probed and detected properly. All thats left to test is the merging of sparc32 & sparc64 on a single iso set. And I feel really good about that.

8bit GUI installs are ugly (not Aurora's fault, 8bit is inherently ugly), but they work.

Its good stuff. I'm really pleased.

26 Aug 2002 (updated 26 Aug 2002 at 23:47 UTC) »


Really fixed sparc32 (and probably sparc64) hardware probing this morning. Looks like it sees the videocard properly now too. Added some heuristics to tell anaconda to always try 24 bit video, since I'm stumbling all over sparcs that can't handle 16bit. It might be slow as hell, but at least it won't crash. (and 8bit is ugly, but possible)

It doesn't even pause in stage 1 now, except to tell me that its autoloading the scsi driver. Its so beautiful. :)

Aurora Bug List:

- mouseconfig seems to be failing noisily (but non-fatally) during post

- KDE is trying to use /dev/dsp, failing. Probably can be fixed with a symlink to /dev/audio.

- parted is complaining that the H/S/C counts on the sparc32 disks (older disks?) don't match what the disk label says... parted is wrong, needs patching.

- parted/silo seems to fail on machines without a /boot partition during install, although, the silo.conf generated seems valid

- KDE/QT is being poorly optimized by gcc 2.96, causing KDE to have terrible performance (5 min app load vs 30 sec for GNOME). This is not an issue with gcc 3.1.

- GUI installs always try 16 bit, and fail for majority of Sun video hw, added heuristics to anaconda code to try to make it smarter with this regard, for sparcs. Partially complete.


Did my first successful sparc32 install last night, on the dual SS20. Swapon still segfaults on sparc32 SMP kernels, but its not a showstopper. Parted still complains that the number of cylinders on the disk label don't match the geometry, but fdisk doesn't have any issue. I'm sure this is parted brokenness, because on the ss20, it was able to make/format partitions without issue. Videocard probing doesn't work at all on sparc32 right now, but on the good side, I'm pretty sure that I managed to fix SCSI & Network Card detection. Going to try to check that later this morning.

I'm might try to make another beta release sometime within the next week or so, likely just isos.


Work continues on sparc32 (I've focused almost entirely on it since my return from LinuxWorld).

Several stupid mistakes were present in the sparc32-BOOT kernel. Hopefully, I've got them all cleaned out now.

Also fixed the issue with serial installs not having ttyS0 in /etc/securetty (new setup RPM) and fixed the lingering tty bug in anaconda. Now, I'm just waiting for the kernel to finish rebuilding, and I'm going to do another sparc32 ISO spin. No, you can't have it now, its REALLY not ready for prime time.

Oh yes. I also re-enabled RAID5 in the BOOT kernels, and demodularized usb-ohci in the sparc64 BOOT kernel to see if it makes the keyboard magically work (since including the module in the initrd did NOT do the trick, as hoped). But I'm going to hold off on a sparc64 respin for a little while, so I can focus on sparc32. Maybe tomorrow evening.

1 Aug 2002 (updated 1 Aug 2002 at 19:02 UTC) »


"What? UltraSPARCs have SCSI?" ;)

Seriously though. I'm really really close to having ISOs I'm happy with for LinuxWorld. Jeremy helped point out the missing ioctl that was breaking the installs from yesterday, and I've been doing post-install cleanups all day today.

One big thing that was missing: the esp driver in the initrd. Thats useful for most UltraSPARCs, honest.

Box at home is definitely a dual Ultra 60. No cdrom in it though. Time to bring the external CDROM drive home. :)

I feel much better now that I've seen it install successfully on the Ultra 10.


*bangs head on wall* So close, and yet so far. The ISO boots (the biggest hurdle, really) kicks off the installer, gets all the way up to installing packages, and tracebacks. Thought the changeloop patch would resolve this issue, but apparently, it does not.

Acquired an Ultra 60 last night. The individual who gave it to me said it was a dual 30, but the case says its a 60. Haven't booted it up yet to check.

Starting to get concerned about whether or not the sparc64 cds will be ready by Linuxworld... :/


yup, that was me. NCSSM, class of '98.

I'm not terribly big on the bar scene, and while I enjoy a good game of pool, I dislike doing so in a smoke filled environment. That tends to cancel out a LOT of the options in Raleigh/Durham. If you know of a place that fits the bill, by all means, let me know. :)

I didn't even think about Sushi on the last post... Raleigh has some excellent Sushi restaurants (Sushi Blues, Waraji, Sushi Thai, Sushi Tsune).


I'm holding off on Aurora posts for today, waiting for ISO respin.


Must see in Raleigh? There's nothing really in Raleigh worth seeing. I've lived in the Raleigh/Durham area for 6 years now, and besides some mildly amusing museums, a couple of half-decent restaurants, an IMAX theater, a mega-mall, and a few lakes, theres nothing really memorable.

There is also a little software company called Red Hat, but even that isn't terribly intriguing for most tourists.

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