More install issues with laptop

06 Nov

On Monday, I had more install issues while configuring my laptop (Compaq F730us) with dual boot. Most of my install issues with OpenSolaris during last week are fc-cache service issue (which dumps core during boot process) and GLX module loading failures by the XServer (which defaults to command line login.) But Monday’s issues are with CentOS 5.0.

The install happens fine, but during the reboot, I never got the login screen displayed. The screen simply blanked after the initial (post grub) screen showed successful start of all the services. I have to manually turn off the laptop and reboot it again to get the same result.

I suspected install issues and reinstalled CentOS 5.0 a few times, first on the specific partition and then on the entire harddisk, wiping out the resized Vista partition and the OpenSolaris partition. The results during the boot process are the same. That’s how my Monday ended.
It’s tough to sleep beyond 4.00am when you have an open issue. So I woke up early today (Tuesday) and started retrospecting both OpenSolaris and CentOS installations. The common factor is the blank screen. With OpenSolaris, the blank screen happened after a few reboots, but once it happened, it happened almost all the time. In fact, once the blank screen happens, I had to manually switch off the laptop (blindly, without knowing the state at which the reboot process is) and that resulted in few other (digressing) issues.

With CentOS, the issue is more certain during all reboots. When it is about to display the login screen, the screen goes blank.

So it is time for some googling and within 30 minutes, I could find some grub options that made the CentOS install to work. Remove “quiet” option and add the options “noapic irqpoll irqdebug” to the grub boot option. BTW, these are blind hits based on responses in some Ubuntu/Linux forums and I haven’t yet figured out how these options are handled by grub and/or kernel.

Now that I could fix the CentOS issue, time to restore the laptop to its most desired state: Multiboot with Vista, OpenSolaris and CentOS (if possible.) So I started the Vista recovery process for the entire disk. Once that is done, I would use GParted to repartition and am going to check OpenSolaris with few boot options.

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