Array CD 3, "HEAD" (and, probably, Array CD 4) hal issues

Shot (Piotr Szotkowski) shot at
Sat Feb 5 04:34:01 CST 2005


// Below, by "Hoary HEAD" I mean the state of at
// the upgrade times; this of course differs from Array CD 3's Hoary.

I've been making my first real Ubuntu testing these days and every
single time I have the same problem when installing Hoary's hal package.
I'll follow-up this evening with an email full of notes, I'd just like
to describe the hal problem, as it is the biggest headache.

First, when installing Warty and upgrading it to Hoary on my
girlfriend's computer mid-January (a 300 MHz-ish Celeron),
I noticed something brings it to a crawl and I have to reset
it (hard) mid-upgrade; afterwards everything went ok.

Since Thursday I'm having fun with my newly obtained Celeron
333 MHz on an Intel i440LX motherboard, and I'm seeing the same
thing. I tried installing Warty expert and upgrading it to Hoary
HEAD, Warty custom-expert and upgrading it to Hoary HEAD before
installing ubuntu-base, and now I'm testing Array CD 3, both in
expert and server-expert modes, both upgraded to Hoary HEAD and
not (i.e., installation just from the CD's package base).

After around twelve reinstalls (last one done packet-by-packet) I've
tracked down that the problem is with the hal package. Every time
I install it, when the installation gets to the "Restarting system
message bus" stage, the system slows to a crawl. It's really quite
amazing, first I thought it just hanged hard, but no - if I gave it
a lot of time (fifteen minutes?) it finishes the package install and
gets back to aptitude, then repaints the aptitude window for another
five minutes, lets me exit aptitude (another five minutes...), and
a `sudo reboot` takes about twenty-five minutes, but actually works.
After the reboot everything seems ok.

The problem looks the same both with Hoary's HEAD and Array CD 3's hals.
I stripped the computer to the bare minimum (Celeron 333 MHz, Intel
i440LX motherboard, S3 Virge graphic card, ST34311A 4.3 MiB Seagate
hard disk and 128 MiB of RAM), in the last try I've even copied the
packages to /var/cache/apt/archives by hand and disconnected the CD-ROM.

Hopefully, I'll be able to give Array CD 4 a try today or tomorrow; I'll
write an extensive report (I have two pages of notes already) then, but
as the problem with hal is in Hoary's HEAD as well I doubt it'll go away
in Array CD 4, so I'm reporting it already.

Ah, one more thing: upgrading the hal package from Array CD 3 to
the HEAD version brings the problem back as well - i.e., everything
slows to a crawl, but out-waiting the system makes it behave properly
after a reboot.

And one more. I have an ISA PnP network card inside, which seems to work
~okay after selecting the ne driver (which means the installed added it
to /etc/modules). I'm not sure what happened after I took the card out
for the minimal hal upgrade, but it the module got loaded anyway, then
maybe this is the culprit.

Please let me know if there's anything I could do to
track the problem further with the Array CD 4 install.

Array CD 3's hal is 0.4.4-0ubuntu1, HEAD's is at the moment
0.4.7-1ubuntu1, but I'm not sure whether that's the version(s)
I tested during the last two days.

-- Shot
          The wise man does not tell a person with a gun to go check
          his filesystems for consistency.    -- Anthony DeBoer, asr
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