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#1 2020-11-21 21:54:37

koothooloo
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2020-11-21
Posts: 6

Kernel Panic on pacstrap during install (Macbook Air 2012)

Hello folks,

After reading some encouraging posts on Hacker News, I decided to install Arch for the very first time and try it. It's not getting very far. I'm using the latest ISO to boot from USB.

I can start the wifi and mount a partition fine, but the moment I hit

pacstrap /mnt base linux linux-firmware

The beast starts to install packages and then rapidly kernel panics. I've tried this about 10 times so far. I've dug into the modules and considered trying to blacklist (or enable) some, such as using broadcom-wl, but I'm not getting anywhere. I'm enjoying - mostly - the very hands-on install getting down into the system, but this is a tad frustrating.

The output scrolls far too quickly, but I did capture it in slo-mo on my phone, but I think this final screen holds most of the details:

C5533-A9-C-763-E-4133-93-E5-F822738-E51-E7.jpg

If anyone has suggestions on where to look next, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

(P.S. The kernel panic also happens the moment I enter pacman -Syu)

Last edited by koothooloo (2020-11-21 22:04:00)

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#2 2020-11-21 22:06:43

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 24,679
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Re: Kernel Panic on pacstrap during install (Macbook Air 2012)

It appears to be in the brcm wifi driver.  Are you connecting wirelessly, and is your wireless hardware broadcom?

If yes to both, then a potential workaround would be to try last months iso (with a different kernel).


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#3 2020-11-21 22:10:03

koothooloo
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2020-11-21
Posts: 6

Re: Kernel Panic on pacstrap during install (Macbook Air 2012)

I am connecting wirelessly, and I believe that the hardware is Broadcom. Thanks for the suggestion - let me skip back a month.

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#4 2020-11-21 22:31:26

koothooloo
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2020-11-21
Posts: 6

Re: Kernel Panic on pacstrap during install (Macbook Air 2012)

Unfortunately, neither last month's nor the previous month's ISOs work. Same kernel panic. I will have to understand more thoroughly why some things are working and what actually happens during a pacstrap run to trigger the panic. If anyone has other suggestions they are most welcome.

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#5 2020-11-21 22:40:14

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 24,679
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Re: Kernel Panic on pacstrap during install (Macbook Air 2012)

I suspect you'd get the panic on any download or network activity.  The pacstrap command would generally be the first time in the installation process that anything would go over the network.  Given that the issue is happening on older kernels, I first suspected a hardware problem as a wider spread issue would have cropped up by now ... but perhaps it has:
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=260237

Unfortunately that other thread has not gone in productive directions, but the backtrace looks the same.  Perhaps it is specific to a particular broadcom chip.

Can you post the output of the following:

lspci -vnn -d 14e4:

Once we know the chip id, we can do a better search for related problems, perhaps get an upstream bug report, and determine whether using another driver (e.g., wl) would be a viable workaround.

Last edited by Trilby (2020-11-21 22:45:40)


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#6 2020-11-21 23:19:36

koothooloo
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2020-11-21
Posts: 6

Re: Kernel Panic on pacstrap during install (Macbook Air 2012)

Thanks for the assistance. I managed to use the network without triggering a panic by simply installing

pacstrap /mnt broadcom-wl

Thinking I might change the drivers from the brcmsmac.

I've already used that lspci command smile The output it gives me is

02:00.0 Network Controller [0280]: Broadcom BCM43224 802.11a/b/g/n [14e4:4353] (rev 01)
-snip-
Kernel driver in use: bcma-pci-bridge
Kernel modules: bcma, wl

I was going to try and blacklist the bcma module next. Useful idea?

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#7 2020-11-21 23:33:21

koothooloo
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2020-11-21
Posts: 6

Re: Kernel Panic on pacstrap during install (Macbook Air 2012)

Ok, so something unusual has happened. After

pacstrap /mnt broadcom-wl

worked, I fiddled with blacklisting bcma and trying to remove it, which I couldn't - it was in use - so I tried

pacstrap /mnt linux
pacstrap /mnt linux-firmware

And no kernel panic so far. I'll take the win so far and see if the installation gets any further.

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#8 2020-11-21 23:45:38

Trilby
Inspector Parrot
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 24,679
Website

Re: Kernel Panic on pacstrap during install (Macbook Air 2012)

How are you blacklisting?  are you modifying the kernel parameters at boot up?  No other means of blacklisting is relevant once you are booted.  The problematic module is actually brcmsmac - I don't remember the order of module dependencies among them, but you'd need to remove the entire interdependent set including brcmsmac.  This would likely include bcma and a couple others.

The good news is that chip is at least listed as supported by both/either brcmsmac and b43 (as well as wl, but I avoid wl when practical).  If you wanted to use b43, you'd need to remove/blacklist all the brcmsmac related modules, and install b43-firmware which is available in the AUR (I don't know if it's on the iso or not).

So if I were in your place, I'd stategize on two fronts: 1) how to get through the install, and 2) what to do on the newly installed system.  For 1, if you can tolerate the peicemeal apporach you described above, have at it.  If that does keep up, I'd suggest removing all the brcmsmac related modules then loading wl (read the broadcom page of the wiki for details) and use that to get through the installation. For 2, I'd suggest setting up b43 as that may be a better long-term solution than wl.


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#9 2020-11-22 00:37:17

koothooloo
Member
From: London, UK
Registered: 2020-11-21
Posts: 6

Re: Kernel Panic on pacstrap during install (Macbook Air 2012)

I was blacklisting by simply adding the line in a conf file in the modprobe directory. Not sure that doing much, as you say.

Happy with the piecemeal approach, but the kernel panic came back at another point, although I think my /mnt partition is bootable, just have to figure out how to get a bootloader working. There is an old bootloader from the previous ubuntu install that I canned, but it now simply boots into grub and does nothing. My Mac OS partition is still fine, but I am starting to think that this needs a complete zap of the entire SSD and start from scratch. At this point, I might stop due to the back-and-forth and find an alternative laptop to buy for this specifically.

I'll look into removing all the brcmsmac modules but I'm not sure I'm on a productive track right now - it is late in the UK, however, so I'll defer any decision-making to the morning and come back fresh. Thanks for all your help, it's greatly appreciated.

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