Release notes should warn against installing Ubuntu on old machines

Michael R. Head burner at suppressingfire.org
Wed Mar 7 05:27:23 UTC 2007


On Wed, 2007-03-07 at 16:09 +1100, David Dean wrote:
> two cents for free..
> 
> From memory the "old" way to deal with this was to create a tiny slice
> at the start of the disk, and install boot there - whether the user
> requests it or not. There is (almost) no down-side to this in the
> modern era, and personally, if ubuntu wants 10mb at the start of my
> 200gb drive I can cope with that added complexity.

This was the so called "/boot" partition. Useful for working around
hardware deficiencies.

Works great until you 2 or 3 2.6 kernels installed (which is entirely
possible if you get a kernel security update or two). That 10MB will
quickly be overcome and cause bizarre package installation failures,
possibly during routine security updates. OK, so instead of 10MB, we
pick 100MB. This is still dangerously close to the size of my /boot,
which is 37MB at the moment, so we bump it by another factor of 10 and
now we're looking at 1GB of space to work around a hardware defect --
acceptable by today's standards, but on the hardware where this is a
problem, this may be a significant part of the user's available space.
And if this is done on an install that doesn't need it, it's still a lot
of disk space wasted.

> I'm certain this was being done a decade ago with linux (been away for
> a while!).
> 
> Cheers,
> David
> 
> On 3/7/07, Jan Claeys <lists at janc.be> wrote:
> > On di, 2007-03-06 at 22:12 +0000, Sitsofe Wheeler wrote:
> > > Ubuntu can have serious problem when installed on machines whose
> > > BIOSes cannot read files past the 1023rd cylinder.
> >
> > My system was bought in early 2000 and so probably has a BIOS from 1999,
> > but it boots just fine from this disk:
> >
> >         $ LANGUAGE=en sudo fdisk -l /dev/hda
> >
> >         Disk /dev/hda: 203.9 GB, 203928109056 bytes
> >         255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 24792 cylinders
> >         Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
> >
> > So it's really no problem to install & boot Ubuntu on such an "old"
> > machine...
> >
> >
> > The problem might occur with dual boot systems though, or when you don't
> > have /boot in a place near the "front" of the disk?  In that case, we
> > probably should warn or stop users when they try to install in some
> > place that won't work.
> >
> >
> > --
> > Jan Claeys
> >
> >
> > --
> > Ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list
> > Ubuntu-devel-discuss at lists.ubuntu.com
> > Modify settings or unsubscribe at: https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-devel-discuss
> >
> 
> 
> -- 
> David Dean
> +61 402 55 6068
> dave.dean at gmail.com
> 
-- 
Michael R. Head <burner at suppressingfire.org>
http://www.suppressingfire.org/~burner/
http://suppressingfire.livejournal.com
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