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Booting linux in single-user modeToo many sound cards

Crimson is dead, long live Crimson

The need to re-decorate the 'computer' room led to a re-assessment of the hydrus IT estate. Time to declutter. There were far too many computers in the hydrus network:

Machine Name Attributes Usage
crimson Compaq Deskpro 5120
120MHz 586 CPU
64MB memory
80GB hard drive
FreeBSD 7.1
Web, mail, DNS, DHCP server
chrome Dell Dimension p100t
100MHz 486 CPU
132MB memory
40GB and 60GB hard drives
FreeBSD 7.1/Debian Lenny
Samba file server
Backup web/mail/DNS/DHCP server
gold Abit BD7 Motherboard
1.6GHz CPU
1GB memory
80GB and 120GB hard drives
Windows 2000
Debian Lenny, UNIX development
silver MSI 645E Max2 Motherboard
2GHz CPU
512MB main memory
80GB disk
Windows 2000
Debian Linux
OpenSolaris
Almost unused
topaz Toshiba Portege 3500 laptop
1.3GHz CPU
256MB memory
40GB hard drive
FreeBSD 7.1
Backup web/mail/DNS/DHCP server
maroon Compaq Armada 7400
300MHz
128MB memory
6GB hard drive
Windows 2000
General office functions
opal Lenovo Thinkpad z61p
2GHz CPU
2GB memory
120GB hard drive
Windows XP/FreeBSD 7-STABLE
General office functions
tugg Evesham build
2GHz CPU
2GB memory
2x250GB hard drives
Windows XP Home
Abused by the kids
steel Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop
300MHz CPU
190MB memory
80GB hard drive
Debian Lenny
Backup web/mail server

Stuff had to go and the older machines were obviously the ones to axe. While crimson and chrome had served me well, their time had come.

My plan was to move the crimson and chrome hard drives (2xFreeBSD and 1xDebian) to silver, since it had two spare IDE controller ports plus IDEs for handling RAID. At least crimson and chrome would live on in a reincarnated state. My first attempt wasn't too successful. I loaded crimson's hard drive into silver, making it the primary master drive. While it booted OK, the kernel would not boot as it had been compiled for a 586 chip. This was simple to fix: I put the disk back in crimson, installed the generic kernel from topaz and lo it booted. Crimson was back. Since the new hardware supported ACPI, I installed all the GENERIC modules. This left the root partition low on space, even without installing the debug version of the modules. At some point I would have to rebuild the disk to allow more room for the root partition.

I then installed chrome's FreeBSD hard drive, putting the Debian hard-drive from chrome into storage. The chrome kernel also had to be replaced by GENERIC and modules (notably acpi.ko) added.

I decided to install grub on the crimson drive, so that I would be able to boot all four operating systems. The grub menu.lst file looks like this:

default 0
timeout 5

title FreeBSD
root (hd0,0,a)
kernel /boot/loader

title Debian Lenny
root (hd1,4)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.26-1-686 root=/dev/hdc5 ro printk.time=0
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.26-1-686

title OpenSolaris
root (hd1,2)
chainloader +1

title FreeBSD (ghost of chrome)
root (hd2,0,a)
kernel /boot/loader

I made topaz, the Toshiba laptop, the main server for hydrus, partly because it was the least power hungry, but also because it was quiet. And, it would be pleasant running the server on something a little more performant than a 120MHz processor.

On the original silver hard drive, I erased the old Windows 2000 partition and turned them into UFS2 partitions for access by crimson/chrome (/tank and /tank1, respectively). I was initially concerned that I wouldn't be able to format the partitions, as they were logical not physical. I actually used the Linux fdisk to delete and coalesce the Windows 2000 partitions However, FreeBSD does create devices for the logical partitions so it is easy to newfs and mount them.

Now silver has transmogrified into:

Machine Name Attributes Usage
crimson
chrome
silver (Debian and OpenSolaris)
MSI 645E Max2 Motherboard
2GHz CPU
512MB main memory
2x80GB disks, 1x60GB disk and 1x40GB disk
FreeBSDx2
Debian Linux
OpenSolaris
Samba server, backup web/mail/DNS/DHCP

Resizing the FreeBSD partitions

Each of the FreeBSD instances, crimson, chrome and topaz, had been built a while ago, and the root partition size of 128MB was now too small for FreeBSD 7.x, as it required much more for all the modules, complete with debug symbols (two copies, active and old). I had previously installed 7.x without debug symbols, but figured now was the time to resize the root partition.

My first attempt was with the chrome hardrive. Using crimson, I mounted each partition on chrome and tar'd the contents to a backup file. Then I used the sysinstall facility to alter chrome's partition sizes. This worked, but I was unable to newfs the disk partitions which gave me an "Illegal operation" error. There was little via google, but I rebooted crimson and then the new partitions were writable.

For crimson and topaz, rather than the sysinstall front-end, I used bsdlabel directly. When invoked with bsdlabel -e ad0s1, it throws you into vi to edit the partition layout. The text looks something like this:

# /dev/ad0s1:
8 partitions:
#        size   offset    fstype   [fsize bsize bps/cpg]
  a:  1048576       16    4.2BSD     2048 16384     8 
  b:  1048576  1048592      swap                    
  c: 78140097        0    unused        0     0         # "raw" part, don't edit
  d:  1048576  2097168    4.2BSD     2048 16384     8 
  e: 10485760  3145744    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28552 
  f:  1048576 13631504    4.2BSD     2048 16384     8 
  g: 63460017 14680080    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28552 

This can be then edited to something like:

# /dev/ad0s1:
8 partitions:
#        size   offset    fstype   [fsize bsize bps/cpg]
  a:     512M       16    4.2BSD     2048 16384     8   # /
  b:       1G        *      swap                    
  c: 78140097        0    unused        0     0         # "raw" part, don't edit
  d:     512M        *    4.2BSD     2048 16384     8   # /tmp
  e:       5G        *    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28552   # /usr
  f:     512M        *    4.2BSD     2048 16384     8   # /var
  g:        *        *    4.2BSD     2048 16384 28552   # /home

where the asterisks tell bsdlabel to compute the offset, or use the remaining disk space in the case of size.

The repartition of topaz's disk was slightly more awkward than crimson/chrome, as it has no CD or floppy drive. However, I acquired a USB CD drive and booted from the FreeBSD 7.1 live file system CD. At first I thought it wasn't working as the boot was unbelievably sloooow. Eventually, I was able to get into Fixit mode in order to back up all the partitions. I figured I would do this via NFS onto crimson's /tank file system. I therefore exported /tank via the /etc/exports file and restarted mountd as stated in the man page, i.e. /etc/rc.d/mountd reload. No, /tank was still not mountable via NFS. It seems that using the rc.d mountd script does not work; an explicit kill -HUP `cat /var/run/mountd.pid` is required to get mountd to re-read /etc/exports.

Later...

After an attempt to install OpenBSD in place of Solaris, I accidently blew away the Debian install. Oops. I put the OpenBSD experiment on hold and decided to re-install Debian Lenny and coalesce the two tank partitions.

Here's a table showing how the four disks in the now thoroughly schizoid machine are named and allocated:

Disk Type Grub FreeBSD Linux OpenBSD Usage
WDC WD800BB 80GB hd0 ad0 hda wd0 FreeBSD (crimson)
Maxtor 6L080J4 80GB hd1 ad2 hdc wd1 Debian Lenny (silver) 40GB
FreeBSD /tank 40GB
ExcelStor J360 60GB hd2 ad3 hdd wd3 FreeBSD (chrome)
ExcelStor J340 40GB hd3 ad4 hde wd4 Linux /tank

The grub menu.lst file now looks like:

  default 0
  timeout 5

  title FreeBSD
  root (hd0,0,a)
  kernel /boot/loader

  title Debian Lenny
  root (hd1,0)
  kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/hdc1 ro printk.time=0
  initrd /initrd.img

  #  This is not operational at present
  title OpenBSD
  root (hd1,3,a)
  makeactive
  chainloader +1

  title FreeBSD (ghost of chrome)
  root (hd2,0,a)
  kernel /boot/loader
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Booting linux in single-user modeToo many sound cards