At 21:27:53 on Wednesday Wednesday 07 January 2009, Felix Miata
On 2009/01/07 19:40 (GMT+0200) Stan Goodman composed:
I posted the earlier phases of this adventure
here about a month ago,
and have since "progressed", but always with similar results in the
It quickly became clear that the DVD drive had failed in the middle
of the installation, and I replaced it. Using the Installation DVD, I
ran the installation-media verification routine, and found that it
was defective (I have checked the iso file's MD5 code before I burned
it), so I burned another and verified it successfully. I then
installed v11.1 from this valid DVD.
Installation and configuration proceeded normally, but instead of
rebooting to present me with a finished system, it stalled with a
dark screen and unblinking cursor in the upper-left corner. A five
minute wait convinced me that it was going nowhere.
On many systems that blinking cursor is the result of missing boot code
in the MBR, or the lack of a startable/active primary partition that
has a properly installed boot loader. Better systems instead of that
nothingness will provide a message to the effect that nothing bootable
Any idea how much happens before you reach the blinking cursor? Can you
tell from disk activity that it does things for a while before halting?
Possibly there's a problem related to your video chip.
> (Two previous installations with the unverified DVD got further than
> this, in one case bringing up a finished system which I was able to
> use for the rest of the evening, but which failed to boot the
> following morning.)
> In order to try diagnose the reason for all this, I installed Windows
> XP, using the entire 20GB HD. This installed faultlessly, and ran
> perfectly, even after two shutdowns and reboots. I interpret this as
> meaning that I do not have a hardware problem.
I have found time to try to investigate the problem further, starting from
the assumption that it lies in the video driver. I first tried to install
v11.0, in the hope that the slightly older release would support the
driver; it doesn't, and the result is as before.
I next tried to boot to the Fail-Safe system. This brings up a desktop
(the first I have seen). It has an introductory screen that has a Close
button. Unfortunately, the mouse cursor is not responsive, nor is the
keyboard, so this is only a modest advance.
But booting to the Rescue choice on the installation disk brought me to a
level-3 boot, so now I know how to examine the system in text mode. What
I want to do now is to find exactly what the video card is, so I can look
into (hopefully) more modern driver releases that might even (dare I
hope) enable me to boot a desktop. It is my understanding that
information on the hardware and drivers is located in file xorg.conf. So
I changed <cd /> and then did <find -name "xorg.conf">, which only
me back to the Rescue prompt. (Substituting "xorg.*" does the same
At this stage, I am asking for advice on how I can identify the video
system. After I look into later driver releases, I may be back to ask
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