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(?) Obscure LILO problem, 1-5 minute LILO delay upon bootup.

From Justin Piszcz

Answered By: John Karns, Heather Stern.


I am running Debian Sarge and previously migrated my root drive from a 8.4GB to a 40GB then to a 61.4GB now to a 250GB disk.

I always use tar to transfer one file system to the other and then chroot, edit lilo and fstab and then re-run lilo.

For the:

8.4GB -> 40GB 40GB -> 60GB

I never had any issue.

However, with the 60GB -> 250GB drive, I did everything the same and at the LILO prompt or "LIL" I should say, it sits there for about 1-5 minutes and then says Loading Linux... BIOS something for about another 60 seconds and THEN finally loads. Does anyone know what is up with this 5-6 minute delay to load Linux?

(!) [John] Did you check the system logs to see if the message appears there?

(?) All drives have been on the same promise controller, ATA/133, which has 48 bit addressing so there is no issue with the drive size being > 128GB.

(!) [John] You don't specify the model of the controller, nor anything about the kernel you're using: stock kernel? Custom compiled? If custom, is the ide controller driver statically linked, or being loaded as an (initrd) module? ... etc.

(?) The controller is a Promise 20269 ATA/133 controller, it is custom-compilied; statically linked into the kernel.

I believe it is a LILO problem as the LILO menu/etc has problems loading even before it touches the kernel.

(?) Also, the /boot is the first 128MB of the drive, then swap, then root.

(!) [John] I'm not sure about the present state of ide booting requirements, but it used to be that the important factor was the cylinder number, which is related to, but not the same as, the size (in MB) of the boot partition, depending on the data densityof the drive. With the older drives, the relation ship was linear, as in N sectors per cylinder. That is no longer the case however, with many / most / all of the more current generations of hdd's.

(?) I have also tried adding lba32 to lilo.conf && re-running lilo but this made no difference.

The weird part is it boots (after a 4-6min delay).. but it does boot. If there were a serious geometry/disk/issue one would think it would boot or fail, not have a delay and then work.

(!) [Heather] Given the sizes in question I'll place my bets on 48-bit IDE support being the culprit, though not on the exact mechanism of the misbehavior.

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Published in issue 112 of Linux Gazette March 2005

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