Primarily for Debian developer use:
These are observations on installing Debian on the HP 715/64
platform. Most items noted here will likely be fixed in future
versions of the debian-installer and not be a problem.
The atftpd package is incompatible with the PDC bootp client,
resulting in timeouts and errors. I tried both with default
options and with --retry-timeout 15 --notimeout with the same
results. The vanilla tftpd package works fine. At the time
I tested tftpd-hpa was broken due to GID problems for which
there was an open bug report, so it was not tried.
The plaform used was a 715/64 with 32M of RAM, so the installer
was running in low-memory mode. At first I was using installer image
20040801. Then I was told that even though this image is what
is under testing's "current" symlink that it was junk and I should
use the newest, so I got that from here, filesize 12081152, link dated 15-Sep-2004 01:17.
This had all the same problems. I'm told people using a CD ISO
between the versions I tried didn't have any major issues, so the
problem is likely specific to the network boot image.
Results and comments
During the first install attempt I intentionally forgot to create a palo
partition because I was interested in seeing how this was handled
by the installer. Overall, the solution chosen was good -- it
warns about not having a palo partition when the user finishes
and lets them reenter parted. However, the installer is quite
slow and some prior warning to help them get it right the
first time through would probably improve the user experience.
Here are some suggestions for that and other minor items:
- Some sort of warning should be printed on the main parted window
that you need to read instructions on palo. This would decrease
the chance of a rework of partitions being needed.
- I didn't check if instructions for palo were available in the
help menu items, but if not they need to be there.
- The second time through with the newer image, there was no
mount point option on the palo partition. If it is brought back,
the palo partition's mount point should either default to
none or /boot. The default which the installer offered was /home.
- I don't know if it even matters whether it is set or not, but
the "bootable flag" default on a newly created palo partition
should probably be set to "on" just so people don't feel obliged to
- On the first install, the palo partition offers no choice
for filesystem type, and defaults to ext3. This causes a format
failure for small partitions (mine was 88M) probably due to the journal
not fitting. So if formatting the palo partition returns in a
future release, ext3 should be changed to ext2 automatically on small
partitions, and offering a choice on larger partitions might be good too.
(I went back in and changed the mount point to "none" before
- On the main screen a palo partition's type and use fields are blank.
It should say something like "palo/ext3" and "/boot" (or "palo", "none"
as the case is with the newer image).
- Once I worked through some other issues, palo failed to run and
I had to do so by hand.
- The kernel 2-4-27-32-smp wedges on this platform. The last message
is that md: was initialized.
- Two packages, gcc-3.0-base and libstdc++3 would not download at all.
They were not listed in the sarge Packages file and no attempt to
actually download them was made, though the error message said
"can't download". Placing the .debs into the apt cache by hand
did not work. Eventually I found that deleting these packages from
the hppa section of the architecture switch in scripts/sarge allowed
the install to continue. My best guess is that palo used to need these,
but no longer does (it did run successfully, albeit by hand.)
- After the system booted, I noticed one package that was selected
for installation that probably does not need to be on this arch: bin86.
General (non-HP) comments
- In general, the primary installer developers should all try their
product out on a slow system with low memory, so they can gain an
appreciation of just how slow it can be and consider that in the
- When installing the base system, several downloads failed. Unlike
the di components, no simple "retry" option was presented. Each time
this happened it was necessary to back out and restart the install,
which although this allowed the install to continue from where it left
of download-wise, took a very long time as packages were rechecked
- It would be nice if an apt-cacher could be specified. This could
be done in the same dialogue box as proxy selection. Apt-cacher
could also be used for installer components, but might need to be
taught how. (Note to self: nominate apt-cacher as one of the most useful
peices of truly awful perl code. Along with mrtg and cricket.)
- In the latest image, in lowmem mode at least, loading the ssh
client and sshd remote console module fails due to a missing libutil1.