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Re: HHG and newbie Hurd Hackers

From: R. Steven Rainwater
Subject: Re: HHG and newbie Hurd Hackers
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 14:32:01 -0500

On Tue, 2007-09-18 at 17:47, Claudio Fontana wrote:
> On 9/19/07, R. Steven Rainwater <srainwater@ncc.com> wrote:
> > I'm new to Hurd development and I've spent the last few days struggling
> > to find hardware the Debian GNU/Hurd distro will install on. Now that
> > I've done that,
> what did you choose?
> I am also trying to find hardware on which to test GNU/Hurd, but
> I just found what seems to be an outdated page:
> http://www.nongnu.org/thug/gnumach_hardware.html

Thanks for the link. We should probably incorporate an updated version
of that into the new Hurd Wiki. 

The first box I tried had an ASUS P5A motherboard and AMD K6-2 333MHz
CPU. The Debian installer (which is Linux-based) worked fine and claimed
the Hurd was installed. But, the Hurd wouldn't boot on this board. There
were reports on IRC that the Hurd will boot on some AMD chips but
apparently this isn't one of them.

The second box was an ASUS P2B-LS motherboard with an Intel PII-MMX 400
MHz CPU. The Hurd installed and even booted but TCP/IP refused to work.
The problem was a defective built-in ethernet port on the P2B-LS board.
While Linux is okay using a secondary nic and ignoring the broken
built-in nic, the Hurd can't do it. It insisted on confusing eth0 and
eth1, generating endless error messages on the console, and rendering
both useless. I spent hours on this one with help from folks on IRC and
eventually gave up.

The third box had an ASUS P2B motherboard with an Intel PII 450MHz CPU.
Again, the Linux-based installer ran fine but when Grub tried to boot
the Hurd, the Hurd died with errors complaining it couldn't read the
disk partition.

Success was achieved when I took the hard disk from box two and
installed it in box three. This combination finally installed, booted,
and even TCP/IP is working now. 

Total time to get my first working Hurd up and running was probably
about 20 hours spread over three or four days. My advice for first time
installers is to have lots of older hardware handy and expect to spend
some time swapping parts until you find a combination that works.


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