Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Installing Mepis 7.0 on MacBook

OK, today I put Mepis 7.0on my Seagate 250GB usb HDD which is currently hooked up to the MacBook.
One thing I had forgotten about Mepis is that they seem to prefer to boot it WITHOUT the initrd kernel file. However, you are asked to choose if you want initrd or not during the installation. Nevertheless, initrd is claimed to be only for experts so that most people would shy away from it.
However, when I did try to boot to Mepis from the MacBook, I almost immediately got a kernel panic.
I figured the only thing that could be wrong was the lack of initrd (I've never booted to an OS on a usb HDD without initrd) so I re-installed Mepis and this time asked for initrd booting.
So then I included along with the vmlinuz equivalent in /boot/mepis/ on the Ubuntu partition on the Mac internal HDD and changed the /boot/grub/menu.lst to look like this:

title MEPIS at sdb7, kernel 2.6.22-1-mepis-smp
root (hd0,2)
kernel /boot/mepis/vmlinuz-2.6.22-1-mepis-smp root=/dev/sdb7 nomce quiet splash vga=791 resume=/dev/sdb1
initrd /boot/mepis/initrd.img-2.6.22-1-mepis-smp

This booted fine with no problems.
Its interesting that Mepis seem to want to simplify the boot process by specifying a "variable" vmlinuz which might me the "latest" or the "previous" kernel version. This is presumably to allow people to select one or the other which would then be automatically updated without them having to do anything.
Nevertheless, I chose the "older" method of using a specific vmlinuz together with a specific (and, of course, matching) initrd.img.

As usual, when I start with a new OS arrangement, I need time to overcome the inevitable problems with wireless, desktop effects and maybe sound and video.
I haven't gotten around to even looking at any of these on Mepis as I'm amazingly having a problem with wired Internet connection.
At first, the wired was there and I could browse without problems.
Then I messed around with MEPIS Network Assistant to try to set my static DNS requirements and to try to get wireless setup. However, almost immediately after doing this, I could no longer browse - just getting Remote server unreachable errors. Despite this, I can still ping. So this is very weird but I remember having a similar problem before on some other OS but can't remember any of the details. I think it may have been a kind of DNS problem.
Anyway, I've posted on the MepisLovers forum and some people are helping me. If I can't get this solved I'm going to re-install Mepis tomorrow.

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