We descended on Steve DeLassus’ place yesterday afternoon for a hair-pulling configuration adventure. Steve introduced me to two Linux gurus he knows from work, Adam and Jamin.
Steve told me once that there’s a story with Jamin’s name, but I didn’t think to ask Jamon for his version. No surprise; we had battles to fight and eventually win.
Adam’s big story is his degree. He put in his five years and completed all of his coursework, only to find that it’s necessary to file an intent to graduate. I seem to remember that where I went to school, signing up for the required classes and then showing up served as ample intent to graduate, but maybe my school wasn’t that enlightened. So, since Adam didn’t find out until it was too late that he had to file a piece of paper before he could get that piece of paper that tells people you know something, he’s enrolled in summer school, taking zero credit hours. But he filed his piece of paper, so another more expensive piece of paper should be coming his way soon.
I gave Steve’s new FIC AZ11-based Duron PC a once-over in the BIOS. I disabled all the ROM shadowing and ROM caching, since neither Windows nor Linux make use of it, and why waste cache bandwidth–even just a little bit of it–on something you’ll never use? Then I put in some more aggressive memory timings–CAS 2, turbo, FSB+33 MHz (since this is PC133 memory on a Duron).
Then, since this is a dual-boot system, we installed Windows 2000. While Steve wasn’t looking, it asked for locale settings. I decided to be nice–I could have set it to Hebrew, Arabic, or all kinds of goofy stuff. I set it to Zimbabwe English. I didn’t specify a timezone, so for whatever reason, it defaulted to Tijuana.
Steve saw it later because Windows put a locale icon in the toolbar. He hovered over it and it said “Zimbabwe English.” He said something, with some new word I’d never heard before that starts with “f,” and it appeared to be every part of speech in the sentence. I’ll have to ask him sometime what that means.
With Windows installed and properly configured for use in English-speaking Zimbabwe, we turned to Mandrake 8. All went well until the time came to configure LILO. The defaults would have worked but they seemed wrong, so we changed them. The machine booted into Windows. We booted off the Mandrake 8 CD and chose recovery mode. We spent half an hour dinking around and not really getting anywhere. So Steve and I made a boot disk with his other Mandrake box (the mkbootdisk command is your friend). Adam was adamant that we didn’t need that. We’d fixed the textfile that needed fixing (/etc/lilo.conf) but running LILO to activate it was the problem–we couldn’t mount the drive at /. Finally Adam or Jamin stumbled on the -r switch for LILO, which fixed the problem.