by August 10, 2001 0 comments

It’s been nearly a month since PCQ Linux 7.1 has been released and we have been getting some good traffic on concerning installs.

Q. The CD stops booting at “running: /sbin/loader”!

Ans. Red Hat ships a highly tuned version of the Linux kernel which enables DMA (Direct Memory Access) or even Ultra DMA on selected IDE controller chipsets. Under certain hardware conditions, DMA seems to create problems. The “running: /sbin/loader” which many users have experienced is a good example of DMA doing bad things.

To fix the problem, boot off the CD, then, at the boot prompt type linux ide=nodma 

This disables DMA access while installing.

If you still experience problems after the installation, it is very likely that it could be DMA related. See
for details.

Q. I have problems accessing the CD-ROM drive after the install.

Ans. Might be a DMA-related issue again. See for details.

Q. The file zlib-1.1.3-22.i386.rpm on the CD seems to be corrupted, and I am getting errors mentioning

Ans. That particular file does seem to be bad. A replacement has been provided on this month’s CD under the Linux section. To install it:
~$ mount /mnt/cdrom
~$ cd /mnt/cdrom/cdrom/linux/ desktop/video/xine/zlib*
~$ rpm -Uvh zlib*.rpm
You can also download it online from

Q. I always get the error message “Boot partition too big” while creating partitions during installation.

Ans. The PCQ Linux/Red Hat 7.1 DiskDruid partitioning tool used during installation cannot create a boot partition (/boot) that lies beyond 1,024 cylinders. However, the distribution itself supports this on machines that have an LBA32 (EDD) capable BIOS. The BIOS found on most new PCs do seem to be compatiblewith this requirement. 
The procedure for installing PCQ Linux/Red Hat Linux 7.1 on large hard disks is outlined at

Q. The Adaptec AIC7xxx driver crashes while installing.

Ans. This is a known problem with Red Hat/PCQ Linux 7.1. Red Hat has released a new set of boot disks which fixes this problem and is provided on this month’s CD. Hopefully, the updated boot disks should work fine with Adaptec SCSI hardware.


Q. The AMI Megaraid controller crashed while installing.

Ans. The AMI Megaraid is based on Adaptec AIC7xx variant chipset and hence suffers from the same problem. Try installing with the new bootdisk set.

Q. Trident/Permedia chipset based cards also don’t seem to work.

Ans. Try using the “vesa” driver in XFree86-4. See the SiS article elsewhere in this issue for details on using the “vesa” driver.

Q. Telnet/FTP to the Linux server does not work anymore.

Ans. You have firewall enabled. Disable firewall using “lokkit”

Q. My mouse pointer is a big white square.

Ans. This behavior has been noticed on some video chipsets like SiS and Cirrus Logic. The solution is to add the option “sw_cursor” to the file /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 like this:

Section “Device”

Identifier “SiS XXXXXX”
Driver “sis”
BoardName “Unknown”
# Add this line
Option “sw_cursor”

Q. Where is “/home/httpd”?

Ans. It’s now under “/var/www”

Q. USB devices don’t work.

Ans. Linux currently only supports a small number of USB devices. See to check whether yours is supported or not.

Q. Sound card does not work properly or does not work at all.

Ans. If you have tried configuring sound using “sndconfig” and are still have problems, try using the ALSA sound driver from just might have better support for your sound card. See the next article on ALSA driver install.

Shanker Balan is a technology research consultant with
Exocore Consulting

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