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Help!: debian partitioning - Linux Setup, Configuration & Administration

Hi, I would like to install debian 3.0 on a sun ultra 10. However, I am having trouble partitioning the drive. The debian installer insists that my 40Gb drive is only 8.4 Gb: 63 sectors * 16383 cylinders * 16 heads * 512 bytes/ sector = 8.4 Gb I do not think that this is a hardware problem, because when I had freeBSD on this machine it had no problem seeing the 40Gb. How might I convince debian that my drive is really 40Gb? thanks, andy...

  1. #1

    Default Help!: debian partitioning

    Hi,

    I would like to install debian 3.0 on a sun ultra 10. However, I am
    having trouble partitioning the drive. The debian installer insists
    that my 40Gb drive is only 8.4 Gb:

    63 sectors * 16383 cylinders * 16 heads * 512 bytes/ sector = 8.4 Gb

    I do not think that this is a hardware problem, because when I had
    freeBSD on this machine it had no problem seeing the 40Gb.

    How might I convince debian that my drive is really 40Gb?

    thanks,
    andy

    tolonen Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning

    On Tue, 25 Nov 2003 16:13:06 -0500, tolonen <mit.edu.invalid> wrote: 
    You can pass an argument to lilo at the boot prompt:

    hd=cylinders,heads,sectors

    Then, if that works, put it on your /etc/lilo.conf.

    append = "hd=cylinders,heads,sectors"

    (or do the equivalent with grub)

    AC

    Alan Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning

    thanks for the help! i figured out how to enter the hda info at the
    lilo boot prompt. however, the specs on my 40GB western digital hard
    drive say that it has only 16383 cylinders:

    http://www.wdc.com/en/products/current/retailkits/wd400bbrtl.asp

    unfortunately, debian thinks a drive with 16383 cylinders is 8.4Gb. If
    I tell the debian installer that the disk contains 65535 cylinders, then
    debian says the drive is 31 Gb.

    The installation works fine with 65535 cylinders. However, is it safe
    to say a drive has more cylinders than the manufacturer stated?

    andy


    Alan Connor wrote: 
    >
    > You can pass an argument to lilo at the boot prompt:
    >
    > hd=cylinders,heads,sectors
    >
    > Then, if that works, put it on your /etc/lilo.conf.
    >
    > append = "hd=cylinders,heads,sectors"
    >
    > (or do the equivalent with grub)
    >
    > AC
    >[/ref]

    tolonen Guest

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning

    On Tue, 25 Nov 2003 19:38:47 -0500, tolonen <mit.edu.invalid> wrote: 

    [ please trim your posts and post at the bottom ]


    I believe so, Andy. For many years now the actual structure of the hdd
    and what the OS thinks it is have been two different things. The OS
    sees a "virtual hdd". This is to get around limitations imposed by
    the BIOS, as I understand it.

    Give it a shot and go over your startup messages carefully.

    $dmesg | less

    AC

    Alan Guest

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  10. #10

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning



    Alan Connor wrote:
     

    Thanks again for your help. the output of dmesg is as follows:

    hda: 78165360 sectors (40021 MB) w/2048KiB Cache, CHS=77545/16/63, (U)DMA

    i reran fdisk to enter 77545 cylinders. however, 65535 is the max
    allowable. this results in a max drive size of ~32Gb. How can I get
    the last 8Gb? Can I enter 18 heads using fdisk to increase the size? It
    seems from reading other discussions online that this is ok. However,
    P.T. Breuer wrote that I need to stick with the manufacturers suggested
    16 heads. alternatively, is there a way to get fdisk to accept 77545
    cylinders?

    if this helps here is info about my kernel and fdisk version:

    myComputer% uname -a
    Linux myComputer 2.4.18 #2 Thu Apr 11 14:37:17 EDT 2002 sparc64 unknown

    myComputer% fdisk -v
    fdisk v2.11n

    thanks,
    andy

    tolonen Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning

    tolonen <mit.edu.invalid> wrote: 

    It's the max atapi allows, AFAIR. 16bits (look it up and tell me
    different if you know different). So forget it. Nobody cares how big
    the bios or fdisk thinks it is!
     

    You've already got it. Forget about it. Do nothing. Nobody cares what
    the bios thinks.
     

    Sure. You can enter any numbers you like. It's all a fiction. Nobody
    cares. In your situation, however, I'd enter 32 heads, and halve the
    cylinder number to 38772. I don't know why you thought of 18. That
    would result in a calculation that I can't easily do in my head,
    whereas I can easily double and halve in my head! Still, if you can do
    it, fine!

    Note that if you start writing new partitions aligned to a new c/h/s
    scheme, you'll get really weird and alarming printouts from fdisk no
    matter which scheme you thereafter go for. You should write all
    partitions using one c/h/s scheme, in order that the start and ends of
    each partition are in the "normal" places for that scheme.
     

    No, there isn't and you don't care. Even if fdisk accepts it, nobody
    will care, since nobody looks at what fdisk thinks. Nobody cares what
    the bios thinks either. Is that clear?

    Peter
    P.T. Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning

    On Thu, 04 Dec 2003 11:42:42 -0500, tolonen <mit.edu.invalid> wrote:

    <snip>
     
     

    I really don't know. Peter Breuer is quite a bit more advanced than I am,
    so listen to him carefully.

    But if playing with the number of heads is a bad idea, cylinders is next,
    isn't it? Just make sure you give lilo the information too, and re-run
    it.

    I'll be hanging around learning and helping if I have a good idea.

    Good luck.

    AC

    Alan Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning



    P.T. Breuer wrote:
     

    thanks for your help. I partitioned the drive with CHS = 38770, 32, 63
    and fdisk recognized the drive as 40Gb. dmesg still reports the drive
    as CHS = 77545, 16, 63. however, if this is not a problem then i am all
    set. thanks!

    tolonen Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning

    tolonen <mit.edu.invalid> wrote: 
    >
    > thanks for your help. I partitioned the drive with CHS = 38770, 32, 63
    > and fdisk recognized the drive as 40Gb.[/ref]

    Fdisk really does not "recognize". It simply reports what the kernel
    recorded for the drive. Whether it can do the sums of c*h*s*512
    correctly or not is another question, and is usually of interest to
    nobody outside of it! I'm surprised that 76K cylinders causes it a
    problem, but I believe you.

    Partitioning has no effect on what either fdisk or the kernel "see",
    therefore! I feel like I am wasting my breath! Haven't I explained this
    three times now?
     

    It simply shows you what the kernel got from the disk. And fdisk shows
    you that too!
     

    It is a problem. If you partitioned the drive with different c/h/s
    than the kernel knows for it, then the partitions are in abnormal
    places for that kernel c/h/s, ie. fdisk's c/h/s. So they will cause
    fdisk to complain about it.

    Of course, that's not a problem to anyone. But generally people
    like to reduce complexities, not add to them! If you are dead set
    on using 38770/32/63, why not tell the kernel about it, so that the
    rest of the system all "sees" the disk the same way! Boot with
    hda=38770,32,63 or whatever.

    And you could make yourself a real non-cosmetic problem out of the
    mismatch too, if you tried hard (by setting lilo to use c/h/s
    bios calls). So all in all I would suggest that you introduce
    consistency into your setup by using hda=38770,32,63 for the kernel.

    Peter

    P.T. Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning

    On Mon, 08 Dec 2003 12:15:18 -0500, tolonen <mit.edu.invalid> wrote: 
    >
    > thanks for your help. I partitioned the drive with CHS = 38770, 32, 63
    > and fdisk recognized the drive as 40Gb. dmesg still reports the drive
    > as CHS = 77545, 16, 63. however, if this is not a problem then i am all
    > set. thanks!
    >[/ref]

    Way to go!

    AC

    Alan Guest

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  19. #19

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning


    "Alan Connor" <yyy> wrote in message
    news:L%dBb.4795$news.pas.earthlink.net...
     

    Except that he gets a significant percentage of the details wrong (see the
    remark here about "the numbers don't matter") and snarks off at the newbies
    saying "you're too stupid to learn, stop bothering my god-ulosity by
    posting". None of this is good.
     

    Set the heads/sectors to 255/63, which helps keep the number of cylinders to
    its absolute minumum and is an extremely common way of doing it. This also
    gives you 1024*255*63*512 = about 8 Gig in the first partition before you
    have to even think of worrying about having a separate /boot directory, even
    if your OS or hardware are so old and cantankerous they worry about the 1023
    cylinder limit. Also, you can get away with the fdisk for partitions with
    *fewer* than 2^16 cylinders. That can easily leave, say, 20 Gig as your OS
    partition and the entire rest of the array for your data.

    Or, if you have multiple such systems and it's the data you care about, put
    the OS itself on a different disk, RAID5 the data, use boot media or the OS
    image to cfdisk the large RAID5 array, and image and re-install new spare OS
    drives as needed if that drive fails. I've used that trick myself: in a
    DHCP-based network environment with lots of pretty identical setups, it's
    pretty easy.

    Most disk controllers will effectively hide the heads/sectors silliness from
    your day-to-day use and you'll never notice it. It's only when you get into
    eeeking the last optimized bit of speed out of, say, a video streaming
    system that you start playing cute games with starting the next file at the
    correct block so the head gets to it at the right time, etc. Such stunts are
    useful for optimizing hardware tests (which is why it's often called
    "cheating"), but don't have that much real world use: most data is either
    too randomly distributed or in long files that can be optimized onto a
    single stretch of disk-readable blocks.


    Nico Guest

  20. #20

    Default Re: Help!: debian partitioning

    On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 00:17:28 -0500, Nico Kadel-Garcia <net> wrote: 
    >
    > Except that he gets a significant percentage of the details wrong (see the
    > remark here about "the numbers don't matter") and snarks off at the newbies
    > saying "you're too stupid to learn, stop bothering my god-ulosity by
    > posting". None of this is good.
    >[/ref]

    Hell, I killfiled the ages ago. But he still pretty much knows his stuff.
     
    >
    > Set the heads/sectors to 255/63, which helps keep the number of cylinders to
    > its absolute minumum and is an extremely common way of doing it. This also
    > gives you 1024*255*63*512 = about 8 Gig in the first partition before you
    > have to even think of worrying about having a separate /boot directory, even
    > if your OS or hardware are so old and cantankerous they worry about the 1023
    > cylinder limit. Also, you can get away with the fdisk for partitions with
    > *fewer* than 2^16 cylinders. That can easily leave, say, 20 Gig as your OS[/ref]

    What does 2^16 mean? I see that around but haven't a clue.

    2 to the 16th power? A way of doing superscripts in ascii?

     

    Cool. Thanks Nico. Great contribution to the Archives.

    AC
     
    Alan Guest

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