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Re: NEWBIE: 2.7 install goes fine - then first boot crashes with page fault


Thank you for your valuable response. I AM going to investigate the memory
situation more deeply. I had just installed 2 newer 4MB Kingston KTC-4200
modules on the OEM expansion board and I can move things around while still
retaining 9MB of RAM for the OS.

I put a few additional comments in your reply below...thanks again!


_                                                |\/|\
_ OpenBSD for security, MacOS for productivity,  |/-|/
_            Windows for solitare                |\ |

On Tue, Oct 16, 2001 7:20 PM, Nick Holland
<mailto:nick_(_at_)_holland-consulting_(_dot_)_net> wrote:
> Smells to me like a memory problem.
> The age of the machine reinforces my suspicions.  
> The good news is it may not (probably not, even) be the memory itself
> that is bad, but rather the sockets or contacts -- and those are not
> so likely bad as just dirty.  That machine is thirteen or fourteen
> years old, lots of dust and dirt in 'em.
> Try cleaning the contacts on everything you can see and get to.  Check
> out some of the freely available intensive memory checkers.  Pull the
> system down to 8 or 9M RAM, experimenting with combinations of
> modules, see if you can get it to boot (it WILL take an eternity, but
> as you have the drive loaded, it should work).

Great ideas...I'm going to give them a whirl!

> Also...um, I'm not really wild about the idea of a 9G drive on a 386
> with 13M RAM.  I think I would partition the thing down to something
> like 300M, at least to start with.  The amount of swapping that thing
> might have to do in the event of a fsck after an unhappy shutdown
> might be considerable.
> Even if the machine worked perfectly, you will find it frustratingly
> slow.

New to unix, I'm not sure how my limited memory will eventually affect the
performance. But I have partitioned the drive. After much experimentation
and learning disklabel/fdisk/bios etc...etc...I've come up with the

512MB - unused
512MB - /
512MB - /swap
  1GB - /usr
  1GB - /tmp
  2GB - /var
2.8GB - /home

I couldn't pass up this 9GB hard drive. $15 USED from Computer Geeks
(compgeeks.com). Full height, to replace the OEM 130MB full height MFM HD
in the Compaq (LED, black face plate and all!). Add that to the $15 Adaptec
SCSI/Floppy controller, when  everything worked on the first try...I was in
Geek Heaven for few days...let me tell you!

> The price of low-end pentium class computers has crashed lately.  If
> your goal is to have an educational machine, I would REALLY recommend
> getting a new system.  For what you have invested in your 386/20, I've
> seen completely operational Pentium class computers.  Don't junk this
> thing, it would be cool to get it running, and maybe even working as a
> home firewall/NAT, but a frustrating place to learn modern Unix.  Not
> that I wouldn't want to try building a kernel on such a machine..or
> even doing a 'startx', just for laughs.

Price is a only minor object, $20 here/$50 there. The real the goal:
education...a cool Unix machine from the 80's...and a
programmable/adaptable/secure firewall/NAT that can run nmap :-). 

My next step will be upgrading the motherboard & powersupply. I have my eye
on this big 90Mhz Pentium tower (at work) that is going to be phased out
(read: free). It looks like it might fit inside the Compaq's box fairly
easily while retaining all the cosmetic parts (floppies/hard

I really love how this Compaq machine looks, the only "PC" computer from
the past that would look cooler running Unix would be an Original IBM PC/XT
(5150) or one of those Kaypro luggables with the mini screens. (Future

> Thanks for including relevant information, btw.
> Nick.
> (a few comments imbedded within...)

Thanks again for your response!