This is a long one! We have 6 computers in our family. They are all fairly old computers with Athlon/Athlon XP on some sort of VIA chipset from various mobo manufacturers and 750MB of PC133 memory. They are all dual-boot Win98SE (primary master) and WinXP (primary slave) on two seperate HDDs on PCI add-in IDE controllers. I'm installing Ubuntu (8.10) on all of them as a third OS. I've completed two of these so far by putting Linux on a third HDD as secondary master. The first one was trouble-free starting as 7.10, upgrading to 8.04 LTS; installing 8.04 from scratch and upgrading to 8.10beta; and finally installing 8.10 final release from scratch. All of these operations went trouble-free. The second one was a little more difficult. I never used 7.10. I started at 8.04 from live CD and installed. The install failed a few times just at the point where it configures HAL, but finally it worked. Then I installed all the latest 8.04 updates and they failed the same way when it configured HAL, but finally I got them to install. Then I tried to upgrad to 8.10 using the alt CD but it failed with some broken package (a desktop theme of some sort), and so I installed 8.10 beta fresh from live CD and then got the latest updates online. It is finally stable. I think the main problem with that one was that ACPI was past the cut-off date and the install had to use ACPI force. Great, two down and 4 to go!
So now I'm working on the third computer. DFI mobo with VIA KT133A chipset, 750MB of PC133 memory, but only 2 HDDs on PCI add-in IDE controller. Primary master is 80GB HDD with Win98SE on first primary FAT32 partition (sda1) and an extended partition with 4 logical FAT32 partitions (sda5,6,7,8 ). The second 250GB HDD (primary slave on IDE controller) is as follows: sdb1 is FAT32 and has WinXP; then there was undefined space; then there is an extended partition with 4 logical FAT32 partitions (sdb5,6,7,8 ). In the unallocated space I created an ext3 primary partition which is called sdb3, and a 1GB swap partition. So I don't know whatever happened to sdb2. If anyone is curious I could run gparted to see. So I've done like in both the other installs, I've installed grub into the boot sector and not in the MPR. Then I used a piece of software called BOOTPART to copy the 512 byte record from the LINUX boot sector to the C drive and use the Win NTLDR as the primary boot loader. Works just fine. So here are my travails in setting up this 3rd computer!!!!
Just as in the 2nd computer, 8.04LTS live CD has a hard time booting and if it does the install often fails during HAL setup. And getting the updates from online and installing them has a couple of failed packages and it also fails during HAL setup. But I was able to boot the install and use dpkg -- configure -a (as superuser) to finish the interrupted package. But!! The 8.10 alt cd doesn't work at all. I use terminal sh /cdrom/cdromupgrade and it won't even start running. And it doesn't even give the auto upgrade window. So I tried upgrading online and it fails when configuring HAL. So I try the 8.10 final release live CD and it won't even boot. All I see is the orange progress line and it stops dead at about 10% of the way across. So I'm stuck at 8.04 with all the current updates applied. It's a lot of work to try to get this thing up to date and now that I've got it this far I'm afraid to do any more updates or upgrades.
Anyone have any ideas why it can be so hard? Sometimes the CDs work and sometimes they don't. I checked the CDs when I burnt them and they are OK. I checked them from the Ubuntu menu when I'm booting from the CD and they are OK. Also I checked the MD5SUM hash and it's good. How do I keep a log of what's happenning so I can investigate and post it? On alt CD I get an option to rescue failed installs, but I don't know how to use it. Also I don't know how to use the recovery mode boot option. Sometimes the old kernel will boot, but ff the install fails too badly I get a syn-up error and the panic message (and flashing num lock lights) and so all I know how to do is re-try the install. Why so many problems?????