Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Slackware For Work

For the last two days, i have been busy working on Slackware installation on my new office (UKDW). I finally got a computer and i decided to use only Slackware Linux for the operating system. It's adequate for my job and i can do lots of thing by using Linux, which i couldn't do it if i use Windows. Besides, i'm tired of having virus problem on Windows platform. The computer has quite a plenty of space (80GB), but with only small RAM on it (only 256 MB). I think Slackware is perfect for this specs.

Yesterday, i was quite frustrated, since i always get a kernel panic after i compile a new kernel. So here's the chronology. First, i installed Slackware as usual, using Slackware 12.0 CDs and after that, i upgraded to -Current directly by using the default Slackware kernel (2.6.21.5-SMP). It went smoothly, after i tried to compile the new kernel (2.6.23.12) and reboot. I got a kernel panic, saying that i must add "root=" options, because the system couldn't find my root partition. Strange confused since my installation was fine and the root partition was there at /dev/sda1.

So i booted to the default kernel and i looked at dmesg (one of the best way to debug things). The harddisk was detected as hda, but suddenly it changed to sda. That's why the new system couldn't detect this and the kernel panic happened (in time, it turns to be user panic big grin). Some people said to me that it could be caused by udev, and i think it's very possible.

So i tried several modifications on the kernel and recompile the kernels and also modifying /etc/lilo.conf but everything failed. I was quite frustrated yesterday, since it was supposed to be simple. At the end, i left the office and the problem still persists with some hopes that today i will have some inspiration on how to solve the problem. At night, i remote my computer from my house and i did some kernel compilation using my .config that i used at my desktop computer. It's just a time saving, so i only have to test the configuration tomorrow.

This morning i went to the office earlier so that i could try the new kernel results, but evidently, it failed also angry. So i re-checked the log system and i even reinstalled the Slackware from scratch in order to have a clean system. This time, i didn't upgrade to -Current directly, but i started with upgrading to 2.6.23.12 first. The results? The same as before... kernel panic!!

So i was thinking, What if i change the fstab and lilo.conf so that it would point to hda instead of sda?

I tried to change the lilo.conf first, but it also failed, since the system couldn't find any hda (if i use the default kernel, it will only find sda). Finally, i took the rough way. I boot using CD 1 and mount the system and chroot to the partition. I can change the fstab and lilo.conf directly and i tried the new configuration. Well... IT WORKS!!!!! The system loads normally and everything is back to normal (the disk is now identified as hda again).

After confirming that my installation was fine, i started to upgrade to -Current (as usual) and right now, i'm installing packages that i need to work remotely via SSH. It's only in console, but i can see the results tomorrow big grin

Now i can use Slackware for Work and i believe that Slackware is mature enough to be used as primary operating system, even for desktop users.