hi!
i am facing this problem for a long time... my Sony DVD writer ( DVD RW AW-G170A, 1.71) is the cause of an exception at boot. The system tries to reconfigure it again and again.. and wastes nearly 5 minutes on it...
i tried this option:
hal-disable-pooling --device /dev/cdrom

it confirmed that pooling disabled....

Now the problem is out of 10 boots 7 times the following happens and on a stray boot.. it goes to boot without a hitch!
anyone has any advise please?

<5>SCSI subsystem initialized
<7>libata version 3.00 loaded.
<6>ACPI: PCI Interrupt 0000:00:14.1[A] -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 16
<6>scsi0 : pata_atiixp
<6>scsi1 : pata_atiixp
<6>ata1: PATA max UDMA/100 cmd 0x1f0 ctl 0x3f6 bmdma 0xf400 irq 14
<6>ata2: PATA max UDMA/100 cmd 0x170 ctl 0x376 bmdma 0xf408 irq 15
<6>ata1.00: ATA-6: ST380011A, 8.01, max UDMA/100
<6>ata1.00: 156301488 sectors, multi 1: LBA48
<6>ata1.00: configured for UDMA/100
<6>ata2.00: ATAPI: SONY DVD RW AW-G170A, 1.71, max UDMA/66
<4>ata2.00: Drive reports diagnostics failure. This may indicate a drive
<4>ata2.00: fault or invalid emulation. Contact drive vendor for information.
<4>ata2.00: limited to UDMA/33 due to 40-wire cable
<6>ata2.00: configured for UDMA/33
<5>scsi 0:0:0:0: Direct-Access ATA ST380011A 8.01 PQ: 0 ANSI: 5
<3>ata2.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x2 frozen
<3>ata2.00: cmd a0/00:00:00:24:00/00:00:00:00:00/a0 tag 0 pio 36 in
<4> cdb 12 00 00 00 24 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
<4> res 40/00:00:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/00 Emask 0x4 (timeout)
<3>ata2.00: status: { DRDY }
<6>ata2: soft resetting link
<4>ata2.00: qc timeout (cmd 0xa1)
<4>ata2.00: failed to IDENTIFY (I/O error, err_mask=0x4)
<3>ata2.00: revalidation failed (errno=-5)
<4>ata2: failed to recover some devices, retrying in 5 secs
<4>ata2: port is slow to respond, please be patient (Status 0xd8)
<4>ata2: device not ready (errno=-16), forcing hardreset
<6>ata2: soft resetting link
<4>ata2.00: qc timeout (cmd 0xa1)
<4>ata2.00: failed to IDENTIFY (I/O error, err_mask=0x4)
<3>ata2.00: revalidation failed (errno=-5)
<4>ata2: failed to recover some devices, retrying in 5 secs
<4>ata2: port is slow to respond, please be patient (Status 0xd8)
<4>ata2: device not ready (errno=-16), forcing hardreset
<6>ata2: soft resetting link
<6>ata2.00: configured for UDMA/33
<6>ata2: EH complete