[ILUG-BOM] Redhat Linux 8.0 and problems therein

Dr. Atul Garg atulrg@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Mon Oct 21 11:44:10 IST 2002

At the outset I would like to tell you that I am a novice in Linux and
don't know much.
I have always treated Linux as an experimental OS to fool around with,
because it is not very user friendly and the main problem of MS software
is that they are very expensive. But here in Bombay, India that problem
gets solved due to blatant software piracy which helps users like me use
the amazingly high priced software at down to earth prices.
Anyway before I started fooling around with Redhat Linux 8.0, I had no
idea what "making" meant and how it had to be done. I am not a programmer!!.
I installed Redhat Linux 8.0 from the CDs and it got stuck at the
installation screen itself. I have the following hardware :-
Compaq Presario 7000A4
PIII 933 MHz 256 MB RAM
Riva TNT II with 32 MB RAM
Hda with 30 GB Win2k ntfs
Hdb with 10 GB > Hdb1 Linux main > hdb5 Linux swap > hdb6 msdos
USB keyboard Compaq internet keyboard
PS/2 mouse and some Firewire hardware for Digital camera (I think).
DVD drive and internal modem (Conexant HCF)

The Installation failed to get my USB keyboard and it kept waiting for
an input. No failsafe mechanisms !!
Luckily I had an old simple keyboard which came in handy, and helped us
install the damn software.
Then after booting it again I realised it recognised my USB keyboard
down to the vendor etc but could not use it for some stupid reason.It
gave the following error about a zillion times during kernel startup >>
usb_control/bulk_msg: timeout
Also it recognised my modem but again could not find it by software
detect from pppd.
So I went about searching the net high and low to get a solution, but to
no avail.
Thanks to Mr.Michael Fischer ,Professor of Computer Science @Yale who
had a similar problem with his HP USB keyboard and as per his
suggestion, I got the new kernel source for 2.4.19 (bloody 30MB download
over a dialup) and then also the patch file to 2.4.20-pre10. It worked!!!

<< I had to learn how to patch the kernel source, and also how to make
the damn kernel itself. Painful experience I must say..>>

To the new kernel, I added NTFS support. (Redhat has something against
NTFS support, it doesn't compile it into the kernel by default). And
reduced the size by removing unnecessary hardware support from 1.1 MB to
780 KB. WoW !! I worked out a way in which USB keyboard was used in HID
Boot Protocol method.
Simply edit your /etc/modules.conf to read
alias usb-controller usbkbd         ........instead of
alias usb-controller usb-uhci.
This loaded the usbkbd.o file (u have to "make" it through the .config
file inside the kernel making factory by activating CONFIG_USB_KBD=m).
It worked perfectly and doesn't give any more errors regarding timeouts..

I then went on to download the
hcfpcimodem-0.98mbsibeta02090200-1.i386.rpm binary RPM for my Conexant
HCF internal modem from mbsi.com. Thanks Mark Boucher for the great
software !!
After installation it asks you to run a script called hcfpciconfig which
not only configures your modem but also figures out if you are using a
kernel which it will have to compile a modem driver for !! Great.. And
it did just that for my kernel 2.4.20-pre10custom version. And
automatically configured it too..

So now I have the keyboard, NTFS support and modem working perfectly.
Long way for Redhat to go before they can compare to the likes of Apple
and Microsoft.
I wonder why anybody would even remotely think of comparing Linux at
this stage to MS products or even MacOS?? I'd say  it would take another
5-7 years before they can catch up to what other OSes are today.

Thanks everybody for all the amazing help provided online today and in
the past which helps novices like me to get our systems working.. thanks
a lot..
Hope this file will get other people like me out of their misery.
Dr. Atul Garg.
atulrg <at> rediffmail.com

PS:- More about making a kernel.
You need to have the kernel source installed. It goes to the folder
/usr/src/linux-2.4.19 etc.
If you want to patch >> download patch and extract it to /usr/src
folder. Use
patch -p0 < patch file name.
Then use the graphical utility "make xconfig" is the command, or simply
go to control center > system tools > kernel config.
Alter the source path to whatever your version of kernel is. If you want
to use the old .config file for safety sake, pull it out of the default
kernel source (e.g.: Redhat 8.0 CD has kernel 2.4.18-14.
/usr/src/linux-2.4.18-14/.config is the file) or you may find it at
Always save the original file to some safe place because you always tend
to "make" mistakes(pun intended here). Alter the file, for your system
and add whatever you want, delete hardware support etc.
Now use the following commands to MAKE the kernel in the directory
make symlinks dep >> computes dependencies.
make clean >> Housekeeping operation
make bzImage >> makes the kernel
make modules >> Module factory at work
make modules_install >> relocating modules to work perfectly
make install >> relocating your kernel files to work..

File to read
file:///mnt/cdrom/RH-DOCS/rhl-cg-en-8.0/s1-custom-kernel.html or so.

Search engine keywords :-
REDHAT LINUX 8.0, Psyche 8.0, kernel 2.4.18-14, 2.4.19, patching kernel
source, making a kernel, keyboard USB, Compaq internet keyboard,
usbkbd.o, HID Boot protocol, Conexant HCF and HSF internal modems.

More information about the Linuxers mailing list