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#1 2008-04-04 03:32:39

SilverBear
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From: Great Lakes region, N.America
Registered: 2008-04-02
Posts: 6
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Can I change sdx naming before installation?

Hello, everyone!
Today is my first experience with Arch. I like what I've read about "The Arch Way" and I want to give it a try. I've been running other Linux distros for about 3 years, and Linux only with no MicroSoft  for about 2 years.

My first attempt at installation from the new 2008.03-1 FTP ISO was not successful, and I intend to try again tomorrow with the Core ISO. But I have something I'd like to fix before I try an install again --if it is possible.

I have a mixed SATA and IDE system. My Asus motherboard likes to boot from SATA first, and the BIOS seems to see the drives as having this order:
SATA #1
SATA #2
SATA #3
SATA #4
IDE 0,0
IDE 0,1
IDE 1,0
IDE 1,1

I currently have 4 HDDs and one DVD-R/W set up like this:
SATA #1 sda   HDD
SATA #2 sdb   HDD
SATA #3 sdc   HDD
IDE 0,0   scd0 DVD-R/W
IDE 0,1   sdd   HDD

This is the way my other current Debian-based Linux distros work.
But the Arch installer wants to call IDE 0,1 sda and  make SATA #1 sdb, SATA #2 sdc and SATA #3 sdd.

It doesn't make sense to me to have a data-only HDD as sda while my BIOS boot disk is getting named sdb. Is there a way to change this way of naming the drives before I set up my mount-points in tomorrow's installation attempt?

If anyone could give me an idea if what I want to do is possible --and how to do it-- I would be grateful.

Thanks,
SilverBear

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#2 2008-04-04 09:22:21

ninian
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From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2008-02-24
Posts: 696
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Re: Can I change sdx naming before installation?

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#3 2008-04-04 14:26:57

SilverBear
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From: Great Lakes region, N.America
Registered: 2008-04-02
Posts: 6
Website

Re: Can I change sdx naming before installation?

ninian wrote:

Thanks for the quick reply, Ninian.
But, no. . . it's not a GRUB problem that I'm having. 
I want to tweak how the Arch Installer sees HDDs before mountpoints are even set in a new installation. Something --some script?-- in the installer is choosing to put drives on IDE channels ahead of drives on SATA channels in the disk naming process. It's not getting that preference from the BIOS. 

In examining the burned installation CDs for both FTP and Core, I don't see an install script, so I thought I'd ask if anyone knew if there was a way to tweak this automatic setting preference for IDE.

SilverBear

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#4 2008-04-04 15:01:34

ninian
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From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2008-02-24
Posts: 696
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Re: Can I change sdx naming before installation?

I might be incredibly naive here, but does the drive labelling actually matter, as long as you can access the appropriate drives and partitions from the install disk? Similarly, for installing GRUB.

Quite a few times I have cloned a working Arch partition to another drive or another machine, and with minimal editing of /boot/grub/menu.lst and /etc/fstab have always got the cloned system to boot.

But I've never used SATA drives, and I know even less about libata etc!  wink

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#5 2008-04-04 15:41:36

SilverBear
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From: Great Lakes region, N.America
Registered: 2008-04-02
Posts: 6
Website

Re: Can I change sdx naming before installation?

ninian wrote:

I might be incredibly naive here, but does the drive labelling actually matter, as long as you can access the appropriate drives and partitions from the install disk? Similarly, for installing GRUB.
Quite a few times I have cloned a working Arch partition to another drive or another machine, and with minimal editing of /boot/grub/menu.lst and /etc/fstab have always got the cloned system to boot.
But I've never used SATA drives, and I know even less about libata etc!  wink

Well, yes, it could matter.  I'm a bit of a distro junkie.
If I have one boot partition on SATA #1 for all my OS's, and they all think that HDD is sda, but Arch thinks it's sdb. . . I see a number of potential problems.  I certainly can't allow Arch to put a bootloader there or nothing else would boot from that menu.
If I had a machine that was only going to run Arch, or maybe one other OS, then I wouldn't care at this stage, I'd just work around it by tweaking GRUB and adjusting the symlinks in my /home directories to my data partitions.

Personally I think the people developing the linux kernel who decided to make everything pretend to be scsi --when it clearly is not that way on a hardware and bios level-- are idiots for imposing this scheme before the existing hardware/firmware is ready for it.

If I can't adjust the Arch installer to recognize the correct drive order, I can install it without a bootloader, I guess, and I can boot it by editing the menu of an externally-based bootloader. I don't want to put /boot/grub on the Arch root partition because I want to use JFS. I've read that JFS is not happy being used by bootloaders.  Exactly why that is, is over my head! 

I'll give it another day to try to figure it out --or accept any other opinions as to whether it's possible to configure Arch's view of my HDDs.

Thanks again for your help!
smile

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#6 2008-04-04 18:05:52

jbromley
Member
From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2007-02-04
Posts: 268

Re: Can I change sdx naming before installation?

SilverBear wrote:

If I have one boot partition on SATA #1 for all my OS's, and they all think that HDD is sda, but Arch thinks it's sdb. . . I see a number of potential problems.  I certainly can't allow Arch to put a bootloader there or nothing else would boot from that menu.

Why not? Boot loaders don't use any OS drivers to access disk, they use the BIOS. Notice that a GRUB config never mentions /dev/sdX except to tell the booting kernel where its root is. The booting kernel uses that parameter in conjunction with its fstab to associate the correct mount point. In GRUB, (hdX,Y) will always be the same partition, it doesn't care about the OS's designations for the drive.

SilverBear wrote:

If I had a machine that was only going to run Arch, or maybe one other OS, then I wouldn't care at this stage, I'd just work around it by tweaking GRUB and adjusting the symlinks in my /home directories to my data partitions.

Why would you have to tweak symlinks? Just make Arch's fstab different. Arch won't care that it's /home is /dev/sda1 while in some other distro it's /dev/hda1 or whatever. The other distros won't care either. If you ever run *BSD next to linux you'll see that each OS's drive designations don't really matter. Do I care if in FreeBSD my root is /dev/ad0s1a while in Linux its sda8? (I don't, it just doesn't matter.)

The only problem I really see is getting confused about where you're working and what partitions are named what. This is a valid point. Having said all of the above, the only thing I can think of is that it might have to do with the order of hooks in your initcpio. Perhaps you have the ide hook before the sata and scsi hooks so IDE drives get labelled first. If this is the case perhaps try reordering the hooks in mkinitcpio.conf and then regenerating the initcpio.

Regards,
j

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#7 2008-04-04 20:16:37

SilverBear
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From: Great Lakes region, N.America
Registered: 2008-04-02
Posts: 6
Website

Re: Can I change sdx naming before installation?

Hi, JBromley.

You know, I think that you are correct for the most part.  Plus --since it is irrelevant to the boot scheme, I can just unplug the IDE slave HDD and get it out of the picture until after I install Arch. Then I can [probably] get my obsessive desire for a cross-OS sdx naming scheme granted.  I can worry about what to do with that data disk when/if it becomes necessary. It's all long-term storage/backup stuff, so I can get by without it on a daily basis.

Thanx or the whack upside the head!  roll Maybe I ought to go get to work instead of whining. . .

SilverBear

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#8 2008-04-05 04:48:19

SilverBear
Member
From: Great Lakes region, N.America
Registered: 2008-04-02
Posts: 6
Website

Re: Can I change sdx naming before installation?

Update:
I pulled the plug on the IDE slave HDD, and the SATAs all lined up as they should for my successful install of the Core on the "real" sda.  I updated pacman and created a user account, and that's as far as I got yesterday.  Friday night here was the season premiere of "Battlestar Galactica" on the SciFi Channel. . . what can I say? big_smile

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