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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
Frugal install to CF card in IDE adapter. Why so different?
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2664
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed 21 Sep 2011, 06:17    Post_subject:  Frugal install to CF card in IDE adapter. Why so different?  

Can anyone offer a little advice in using the puppy universal installer to copy to a CF card in an IDE adapter?

I tried to use the universal installer to create a frugal install of puppy 431 onto a CF card in an ide adapter in place of a 2.5“ hard drive inside my laptop.

I ended up with a running system, but not how I wanted. Somehow the grub folder and menu.lst were missing, (not sure how it succeeded in booting but it did...) and it all went very differently to other frugal installs I have done on normal internal IDE drives.

For instance it started making comments about “checking if your pc really is capable of booting from usb”.

Also, it did not give the option of choosing between frugal and full. Instead it simply put all the files on sda1 instead of within a folder.

It also suggested putting the MBR in place via syslinux or other programs. This was very different to the MBR dialog I normally see. (so I just chose the recommended syslinux option)

I chose this “install to CF card in ide adapter" option thinking it might be tailored to best handle the different DMA requirements of a CF versus a normal hard disk. However I had expected it to be identical in all other respects to a normal IDE hard disk install.

If I run this installer option and end up with no grub folder I have no idea how to configure multiple puppies as frugals.

I suppose it’s possible that this CF/IDE install option was originally tailored to allow the files to be copied to a very small CF card that would only have room for a full install of a single op system rather than multiple co-existing frugals, but I also wonder if there is some bug in the installer that makes this CF/IDE selection link incorrectly to the install routine intended for a usb stick.

Any suggestions if it is working as intended or if there is some problem here? Why so different to the IDE hard disk install? thanks.
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rhadon


Joined: 27 Mar 2008
Posts: 1293
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed 21 Sep 2011, 08:53    Post_subject:  

If I understand you right, you want to install Grub and some Puppies (frugal) to your CF card.

Usually I don't use Puppy Universal Installer in this case.

I use Grub bootloader config for installing Grub (simple method is OK) on CF (to MBR), create my folders for the puppies, copy vmlinuz, initrd.gz and puppy.sfs to each folder and edit the menu.lst. No need for PUI or anything else.

Usually you can't make a full install to CF, SD or usb stick. IIRC the reason is about reducing write access. Maybe there is a workaround but I never was interested of doing a full install.

HTH
Rolf

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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2664
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed 21 Sep 2011, 14:42    Post_subject:  

Thanks Rolf, that seems like a nice straightforward way to do it.

Would that work from a live cd environment? Would I just grab the vmlinux etc off the cd or "pluck" them out of the correct folder in the ram filesystem?

I guess I've been trying the universal installer because it knows more than I do. Smile

thanks for the help.
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Keef


Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 646
Location: Staffordshire

PostPosted: Wed 21 Sep 2011, 14:52    Post_subject:  

If you went with the syslinux option, then that's what you get. Syslinux does the booting, and grub has not been installed.
As suggested, you can then try installing grub from your running system or via a live CD. Make a folder then copy the files from the CD or the hard drive or where everyou fancy.

I know the CF to IDE adapter install used to be problematic (did it a few years ago, and it took me ages....) as the installer wasn't very good at it. Don't know if it has changed, as I just do manual frugal installs these days.
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2664
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed 21 Sep 2011, 16:17    Post_subject:  

thanks keef.

the thing is - I didnt really want to go with syslinux... it was just the option that came up, and was completely different to what a normal IDE install offers as an option.

I'm trending toward the manual frugal idea now, but I think people who are even more newbies than me (if such a thing is possible) might find this CF/IDE installer much more confusing than the standard HDD/IDE install routine, and of course it's hard for a newbie to grasp the manual frugal idea early on.

ta.
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Puppyt

Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 568
Location: Gatton, Queensland

PostPosted: Mon 16 Jan 2012, 19:42    Post_subject:  

You've brought a really important point, greengeek, and one that I believe is the biggest chink in the 'Puppy install' armoury. [EDIT well that's a bit dramatic, given the ol' PCMCIA cd boot hassles and the separated Puppy and GRUB installs that trip up noobies]
Why bother with IDE adapters for CF/SD cards when any USB-flash drive will do for the typical user? Well, am I wrong in thinking that IDE usually has a faster transfer rate than USB - not counting USB3.0- and is probably the only option for dated hardware lacking USB functionality (e.g., Satellite Pro 430CDS). And for RAM/CPU-limited systems, isn't a "full" install more efficient than "frugal"? We're probably trying to wring blood from silicone here, but isn't that what Puppy Linux is all about???
I hope to use a memory card adapter to swap a Puppy system between old laptops and desktops, mainly for kids' entertainment. Although the options appear to be there in the Universal Installer (I've only ever used frugal in the past, with Grub1 - but now am struggling with full installs without any Grub required - just like my PATA HD's) - there seems to be a mismatch in the install process such that the SD/CF is set as "pmedia=usbflash" that borks every boot unless you manually change the kernel line in menu.lst to "pmedia=idehd". CF/SD-card-on-IDE installs seem to be a problem that has never really been addressed properly. Has anyone had better luck?

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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2664
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon 16 Jan 2012, 23:49    Post_subject:  

One thing I have been wondering about is whether USB sticks have the same problem as CF cards in the sense of not liking write cycles. I would imagine they use the same kind of memory chips, so I expect they would both want "write-back" cycles minimised.

If that is the case, then maybe that is why the universal installer seems to confuse the two types - ie when doing an install to an "internal IDE adapter containing a CF card" the installer seems to treat it like a USB stick.

And yet, when you want the system to minimise write cycles during boot and normal usage, it insists that the CF be treated as if it were a HDD.

I need to redo a lot of my CF install trials to clarify things. As time goes on I have learnt a bit more so I will revist this at some point and see what else I can figure out.

Like you I have been trying to make use of some older Toshiba laptops and really like the idea of simply swapping out CF cards to change the "personality" of each machine.
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bigpup


Joined: 11 Oct 2009
Posts: 5362
Location: Charleston S.C. USA

PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2012, 01:54    Post_subject:  

You are using the Puppy Universal Installer in Puppy 4.3.1.
There have been updates and bug fixes to this installer. The newer version is in newer versions of Puppy. May give you different results.
Try one of the newer Puppies, based on version 5 series.
For old hardware, Wary 5.2.2 would be a good one to try.

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When I was a kid I wanted to be older.... This is not what I expected Shocked
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Puppyt

Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 568
Location: Gatton, Queensland

PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2012, 06:33    Post_subject:  

That might be a plan, bigpup - I've only tried it so far lately with sc0ttman's Akita beta 6 - forgot that it was an upgraded 420 build and not a retro-fitted Wary. Perhaps starhawks' PupMini 100 might be a good bet for testing (Wary5.11 http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=596594#596594), as he is looking into the CF/ide adapter situation as well, I believe.
I can report however that I had sidder's HSB412 and HSB431 pupplets (e.g., http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=425523#425523) working on SD and CF cards "happily" with the "pmedia=idehd" fix. Dunno if the systems that I had were ever optimised for proper solid-state drive use, as greengeek highlights in his earlier post.

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nooby

Joined: 29 Jun 2008
Posts: 10557
Location: SwedenEurope

PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2012, 06:58    Post_subject:  

Just two wild suggestions.

1. An installer have a script that ask choices.
The Dev have to anticipate, guess what the
new user may want to do. So that fails at times.

My personal solution which may not suite everybody
is to never do such installs. To always do manual installs
where you read a step for step how to manually do the install.

Edit ICPUG reminds me of how successful his version is.
I have used it several times and can recommend it.
http://www.icpug.org.uk/national/linnwin/step00-linnwin.htm
Thanks for reminding me to link to Lin'n Win

Sometimes it can work if you use grub4dosconfig program
and then after the install correct the name of the menu.lst

and check if it got the correct partition for MS Windows
in case it has a hidden recovery that the program fail to see.

I think one expect too much or the Dev promise too much
that a script will know what the user have in mind.

2. Why CF may be different. Sometimes they are SCSI connected? They have CF card readers that need
drivers that Linux still have no good versions of.

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not an ideal solution though

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ICPUG

Joined: 24 Jul 2005
Posts: 1290
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2012, 08:58    Post_subject:  

+1 to Nooby point 1.

There are so many different combinations of hardware, type of install, OS to dual boot that any automatic procedure to cater for everything is almost impossible.

My interest, like Nooby, is dual booting with Windows on a hard drive. The manual Lin'N'Win approach that I developed for this and the subsequent automated version of it from Noryb0009 or Crash has pretty much covered that specific combination, although it is not part of the PUI. But it will fail when Windows 8 arrives, until it gets extended (if possible). It fails also if it is tried AFTER grub legacy or grub2 has already taken over the booting process from Windows.

The best we can do is say that given a specific set of hardware/OS/type of install then this or that installation process is the one to follow.

I have never seen it written what cases the PUI is supposed to cope with and everyone assumes it will work in all cases. It would be nice to know what PUI WILL work with so that beginners do not go off in the wrong direction.

To get back to the original question - why is install to CF different from that to IDE hard disk - well different media have different constraints and therfore need different solutions. Flash has a write cycles limitation and slower than IDE. Bootloader choice is a personal one. With Puppy, syslinux is usually used on CDs and grub on hard disks. Presumably, it was decided in the mist of time to choose syslinux for CF as being more suited. Not sure why it defaults to full install though. That seems a weird one if there is a write cycle limitation.
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2664
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2012, 14:04    Post_subject:  

That Lin'n'Win project looks good. I will be needing to make use of that shortly for one member of my family who wants to dual boot frequently.
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Puppyt

Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 568
Location: Gatton, Queensland

PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan 2012, 17:58    Post_subject:  

Thanks guys for your input. On the wild assumption that the recent rise in SSD's might provide clues on the CF/SD IDE adapter issue I've found some useful threads:
Puppy on a SSD drive (best settings for long life of SSD?) http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=50572

Use NAND flash on a SSD Solid State Drive like USB stick http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=436058

How to Make a Flash Drive Install Work Like a Hard Drive http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=57380

grub entry for sata flash drive? [SOLVED] http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=62122

rcrsn51 is again right on the ball with the issue, and as jemimah also has an interest in the matter I'm sure it won't be long before we'll see the standard Universal Installer with the entry "Install to internal flash drive (egs. CF or SD card, SSD)".

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Puppyt

Joined: 09 May 2008
Posts: 568
Location: Gatton, Queensland

PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan 2012, 20:08    Post_subject:  

Just a quick update - after going through the links I posted in my previous message I added "pmedia=ataflash pupmode=13" to the kernel line in both the menu.lst and (shot in the dark here) the single-lined extlinux.conf ; Akita beta6+Grub4DOS (Wary-compatible Puppy420 build).
I don't know whether that is the ideal configuration for the CF card on an IDE adapter, and seems to be working fine on the system I'm using, though I note an unusual message just before X starts, something like "Loading 3 rules". So far, so good...

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Satori

Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri 25 Jan 2013, 17:11    Post_subject: Compact Flash memory controller  

I'm also interested in CF drives because as I understand it, the memory controller is much like the SSDs, in which cells that are written to are reallocated dynamicly so as to reduce the 'wear' on any individual element.

All Nand memories have a limited number of writes, but there is no guarrentee that a cell in a USB Flash drive will not be written to more than others, causing it to pick up a bad block.
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