I cracked out my IBM PC/AT-turned-K5/100 today and fired it up for the first time since I bought my house. I wanted to download some ISOs and play with some things like DietLinux and Knoppix, but my aged AT is the only system I have with a usable CD burner. The hard drive in my box that contains my good CD burner died back in February or so, and I had other priorities (ahem), so I never replaced the drive. Now I’ve got different other priorities (which I won’t talk about just yet), but even if I had another drive, I can’t seem to find my Nero CD. So it just makes more sense to pull the AT off the bench.
I must have pillaged it for parts at one point because the SCSI host adapter and NIC were both missing. So I replaced them, and fired it up and the HD was gone. I know I saw an HD in there, so I checked the BIOS and found it wasn’t set up right. So I autodetected everything, rebooted, and Linux refused to boot. I popped out the Debian installation CD, selected the “mount a previously initialized partition” option, and saw the partitions on /dev/hdc, rather than /dev/hda where I would expect them. When I was pillaging, I must have pulled the IDE cables and plugged them back in the wrong place when I was finished. I can’t remember those kinds of details anymore. I’d rather spend those neurons remembering details about a girl (like, say, that she likes Tori Amos and Train and Delerious?) than obscure details about a computer I rarely use.
I probably could have fixed it by editing /etc/fstab (actually /target/etc/fstab when you’re booted from the Debian installer) and then re-running LILO, but I’ll always be more confident in my knowledge of hardware than of any operating system, so I reached for a screwdriver and went for the sure thing. Popping the case for the 12th time and rearranging the cables rendered the system bootable again.
The machine’s hostname is burn. Nice. That’s one of my favorite songs by The Cure. I tried a couple of the usual suspects for the root password, and I was in.
Incidentally, I’m doing all of this stuff in pursuit of answers. You’ll be hearing from me again later this weekend.