10.2 installable/bootable, 10.3, 11.0 not...

I have 20 1U Rackable™ systems that are dual Xeon 2.4GHz with Tyan S2720 motherboards and TEAC CD-224E and 40GB seagate barracuda drives.

When I first got them, I attempted to install 10.3. This failed at the initial grub install screen. The list of options comes up (Boot from Harddrive, Installation, etc… but without the function key menu along the bottom of the screen). However, the system will not accept keyboard input and after about 3-4 minutes a popup shows up with the title “I/O Error” and body text “Error reading boot cd”. This is before I have had a chance to even select any of the menu items. After this point, the system is frozen (I cannot select the reboot button that comes up with the error) and there are noticable glitches in the video output, as if grub has errored out hard.

I’d normally chalk this up to a bad cd, however, the behavior was reproduced exactly with an 11.0 install cd and I have tried it on 4 other of these systems I have with identical results.

I can install using a 10.2 CD set with no I/O errors and the systems have run stably for 2 months without any sign of errors.

Again, this is not just one of the 1U Rackable systems I have, with multiple copies of known working 10.3/11.0 install CDs (both full CD1 for 10.3 and MINI/Net install for 10.3) this behavior occurs.

I have also been able to boot an Ubuntu 7.10 install disk on one of these.

For now, I’m able to make good use of these systems by installing 10.2, but I’d much rather be using 10.3 and at least have some hope of moving on to 11.1.

I’m contemplating creating an install CD using the version of grub used for the 10.2 install, but, I was hoping someone out there would recognize this problem and help me find the specific cause.


Following up on my own post,

I have now confirmed similar behavior with the 11.1 KDE CD on these systems. I’ve also confirmed that I can boot an ubuntu 8.10 live CD with no problems (so, it appears to be something to do something that changed in GRUB between 10.2 and 10.3 suse).

The difference being:

ISOLINUX boots, the initial 11.1 splash image shows up (with CD and opensuse chameleon) then sits there for a few minutes, and eventually a little text based window pops up with what appears to be an x86 CPU register map):

|   :            |   :           |
|   :            |   :           |
|   :            |   :           |
|   :            |   :           |
|   0:       0. 0|   :           |
|   1:       0. 0|   :           |
|   2:       0. 0| 0: ffffffff. 5|
|   3:  c00000. 1| 1:     2317.15|
| err   0                        |
| ip 22ce:          10.7         |

And again, there is some corruption looking junk in the splash page ones the above shows up with the system frozen hard.


I found a newer bios for the S2720 Tyan boards and installed it. This seems to have fixed the problem as now I can boot any 10.3, 11.0 and 11.1 disk. WOO!

The BIOS I ended up installing version 1.03 :

As these 1U servers do not have floppy drives, I ended up using this CD boot utilities disk ($10, I’m sure there are probably free ones out there…):
Ultimate Boot CD