More jackalope than jaunty

We have some IBM x3650 servers at work with Adaptec 8k ServeRAID controller cards and SAS drives.

For the life of me I can’t get Jaunty to boot on the machines. It installs just fine, but the initial reboot fails to find the root device and drops me to an “ash” shell which doesn’t ever actually appear. The keyboard also doesn’t work.

It doesn’t matter what RAID array I have, whether I’m using LVM or a standard partitioning scheme with an msdos partition table.. it just doesn’t work.

I’ve added aacraid and several other modules to the initramfs, still no joy.

Add the fact that the machine takes 10 minutes to boot each time I want to test a small change and it’s one super frustrating situation.

Oh, and 8.04 LTS works just fine.

One bug which appears to be a grub issue that I don’t have, which hasn’t been touched since April. There’s another about being unable to find the root device that also hasn’t received any love.

If anyone has some suggestions (install Debian?), let me know. The reason I’m using Ubuntu is because we have a local mirror and Jaunty because it’s a virtual machine and KVM is the way I want to go.

Update: Ahh, problem resolved and it was my fault. See comments..

10 thoughts on “More jackalope than jaunty

  1. LJS

    Got here via p.l.o.a. I have a couple of machines with the same setup and they’re running Lenny no problems. I had problems with either 8.04 or 8.10 (wanting to use KVM like you) where the aacraid module would cause the kernel to oops after a little while. I forget the bug ID but it was confirmed and not going to be fixed for that version so I haven’t returned to see if Jaunty works.

  2. Chris Samuel

    Hi Chris,

    No real suggestions come to mind (except Debian – well you did ask!). Does 8.10 work on this hardware ?

    Wonder if it’s any happier if you install 8.10 then dist-upgrade to 9.04 – if it doesn’t you can at least try falling back to the 8.10 kernel to figure out if it is a kernel issue in 9.04. If the 8.10 kernel works then you could try the latest mainline kernel instead of the Ubuntu one (I run that on pretty much all my Ubuntu systems except my MythTV box).

    Best of luck!

  3. Chris Post author

    Thanks to you both for your suggestions. The oppsing you mention is very interesting, thanks for that. Google doesn’t seem to have a whole lot on the subject (my Google-fu isn’t the best).

    Haven’t tried 8.10 cause I’ve been sticking with 8.04 LTS on the servers.. but I can test that. Given that 8.10 is the one listed in those bug reports, I’m not hopeful ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think a dist-upgrade won’t work because it’s a kernel and/or initramfs thing, although I could boot the old 8.04 kernel (but then I won’t get the KVM kernel improvements).

    Was hoping someone might tell me that I’m an idiot and doing something wrong, but if there’s no easy fix then I can build my own kernel, or as you suggest use the upstream ones. I think there is a PPA for them now.

    Thanks again!


  4. Chris Post author

    OK, I am officially an idiot.

    As per Chris’ suggestion I installed 8.04 and dist-upgraded my way to Jaunty. Lo and behold the server boots just fine.

    I was right – the kernel modules just don’t exist for my RAID controller so the kernel can’t find my hard drive.

    However, it turns out that when I was installing Intrepid and Jaunty I was choosing “Install minimal virtual machine,” because I thought “yeah, that’s what I want – a minimal virtual server (it is the server disk after all!).”

    That’s not what I want.

    That does, in fact, refer to a _guest_ virtual server, not a _host_ virtual server.

    Hardy works because there’s no such install option.

    So, I was getting too fancy for my own good. Had I selected “Virtual server” during the package selection process it actually might have then installed the correct kernel and avoided the whole mess, but I didn’t because I like to do things myself.

    Thank you to you both for your suggestions, sorry to have wasted your time!

    Lesson learned. Now I’m going to go and hang my head in shame..


  5. Chris Samuel

    Nothing to be ashamed of, an easy mistake to make and useful to document for others who might get caught out! I guess it’s on the server disk as an option for people who are installing virtual servers from an ISO image.

  6. Pat

    Chris, just ran across your site in a search on a relatively unrelated topic (I’m pre-researching getting a virtualized kernel onto a kvm install on the first go around).

    Anyway, here’s my words of friendly advice– don’t install Jaunty to your work machines. It is the singularly least stable incarnation of Linux I have encountered in my many (many) years of dealing with it. It is so poorly tested and unstable that I’d be very afraid you’d be constantly explaining why this, this, and that doesn’t work.

    The 64-bit implementation is particularly bad. Bad, bad. Like Windows 3.1 bad.

    I’m chalking it up to not being an LTS release, but good god, not only does it lock up and crash with a wide-range of “special” cases (i.e., not the machine the developer tested it on), the snarkiness of the support is unprecedented. Again, I can only chalk that up to having released a turd and now dealing with thousands of irate users wondering what the hell a BIOS IOAPIC bug, memory collision in PCI BAR allocation, GART aperture, etc. even means, much less what to do about it.

    God forbid you have an Intel or ATI video card. Or Nvidia. God forbid you have video, period. There’s all kinds of regression (e.g., multi-card use is practically impossible now, audio’s often garfed, drivers aren’t cooked)

    That said, I’d think, for your situation, a nice standard Debian or OpenBSD or something would be a much safer bet. I hate that I’ve found myself saying “Windoze is so lame… hang on, I have to pull some code from git, apply a couple patches, and build a custom kernel so I can get my monitor on, but then I’ll show you… oh, NFS locked up again… hang on, gotta hard reboot… and then I’ll show you…”

    Good luck!

  7. Chris Post author

    Hey Pat,
    Thanks for the reply. I couldn’t agree more!

    We mostly use LTS on our servers here and the latest “stable” version on our desktops. For the most part things work and work well, but sometimes it just does strange things.. I find myself distancing Ubuntu from Linux.. “Oh, that’s just Ubuntu. A real Linux distro shouldn’t do that…”

    It is so poorly tested and unstable that Iโ€™d be very afraid youโ€™d be constantly explaining why this, this, and that doesnโ€™t work.

    Isn’t that just Ubuntu in general? ๐Ÿ™‚


    P.S. In this instance it was my own fault – I thought installing a “virtual machine” off the server CD would install a command line virtual server, but it actually installs a guest virtual machine. Not quite what I was after and hence why there were limited modules in the kernel.

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