Sunday, March 13, 2011

A long journey to ZevenOS 3.0

I had been using (at least what I thought was) ZevenOS 2.0 on my now rather ancient Asus EeePC 901. It worked well but I particularly liked it because being Ubuntu-in-Haiku-clothing, it gave me a good idea of how Haiku (now in Alpha) might look when it's released.
ZevenOS is discussed by the Haiku community in this recent thread.
A few days ago I opened it again after a bit of an absence and, finding that there were many updates, I let the update-manager do its thing.
However, despite many attempts, I couldn't get the updated version to boot and eventually I found, after mounting the zevenos / partition in Ubuntu, that zevenos's /boot contained no initrd or vmlinuz files. So, now what?
I probably could have found the versions of these files easily enough, but what else was missing?
So, I downloaded Zevenos-neptune and prepared a Live USB using the zevenos version of Unetbooting for Neptune (see USB Install Guide on this page)
Using this, I was able to install ZevenOS Neptune on the 3.76 GB drive of oy EeePC 901 and everything seemed to go well until I tried to boot, that is.
I had installed ZevenOS's Grub to /dev/sda1 only and NOT to the MBR. Then I mounted /dev/sda1 in Ubuntu and copied the ZevenOS stanza from ZevenOS's grub.cfg to /boot/grub/grub.cfg in Ubuntu.
But it still wouldn't boot which I eventually found was due to ZevenOS Neptune requiring a very minimum of 4.3 GB while my /dev/sda1 had only 3.76 GB available.
So, I whipped out my Parted Magic key and prepared a 6GB partition on the 16 GB drive of the EeePC 901. Now, it installed without problems and booted fine once I had copied across the relevant part of grub.cfg to the same file in Ubuntu.
But, ZevenOS Neptune is KDE based and doesn't look remotely like Haiku.
OK, I know there's a lot to be said about KDE but, honestly, I just don't like it and never have despite having tried it quite a number of times in various OSes.
Looks like what I needed was ZevenOS 3.0 which has the Haiku look that I wanted.
So, I downloaded the iso and used Unetbootin (Linux) 471 to burn it to a 2GB usb key. That went well, but the key refused to boot giving this error:

No init found: try passing init=bootarg

Then I tried again with a more up-to-date version of Unetbootin (502) and this time everything went fine and the key booted.
From the Live USB I could easily install ZevenOS 3.0 to a 5GB / partition and a 1GB /home.
Looks good but I need to play with it a lot more to get a good feels for how it performs.

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