[nSLUG] Recommended method to install Debian on software RAID?

George N. White III gwhite at cerberus.cwmannwn.nowhere
Mon Oct 13 11:08:01 ADT 2003

On Mon, 13 Oct 2003, Donald Teed wrote:

> I spent the last few days giving gentoo a whirl.  After three
> seemingly random kernel panics, I'm not impressed.
> I have a bare gentoo operating system on dual PII
> with RAID 1 and 5, but along the way I've encountered
> 3 kernel panics while building stuff (emerge).
> The first occurred with the kernel on the the Gentoo
> Live CD.

Random crashes are usually hardware problems (especially for systems that
aren't on a network).  Hurricane Juan was stressful for computers as well
as people, and there have been many voltage transients since the power
came back.  Certainly we have had a cluster of hardware problems at work
(my SGI workstation has been having intermittent ethernet link failures).

I once had a PC that was crashing randomly.  I ran all sorts of
diagnostics without any faults detected, but just happened to notice some
dark areas on the reverse side of the ethernet card -- pulled it out and
discovered some fried components.  The system was rock solid after the
card was replaced.  Now I tend to start with a careful visual inspection
before I run diagnostics.  In addition to components that have suffered
heat stress, look for bulging electrolytic capacitors and signs of
corrosion on connectors and leads.

In my college days I worked as an electronics tech on weekends.  The boss
was struggling to solve intermittent spurious oscillations in a Motorola
turntable with a preamp that belonged to a very important customer.  As it
happens, the previous summer my ham club had converted a bunch of Motorola
motorcycle police radios for amateur band.  These radios were famous for
spuriouis oscillations caused by bad bypass capacitors which could be
recognized by the green ring around the base of the leads.  As a results,
1000's of them were traded in and crushed with bulldozers, but a few
managed to escape and made great 2-meter sets at prices affordable to
high-school students.  My boss told me about his problem and it took me
only seconds to spot the telltale green ring.  I told him to replace the
capacitor and my reputation was made.

George N. White III  <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>

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