Perry Hutchison wrote:
Recommend you get a [bigger|second] disk if you can though,
or housecleaning will be a constant chore.

I got it more or less working, although not completely set up, and
then that 10GB disk died:  click -- kerthunk -- click -- kerthunk
continuously, even after cycling power, even with only the power
connected :(

After replacing it with a 160GB Hitachi, and reinstalling Windoze,
Linux, and FreeBSD (in that order, as before), I seem to be back at
square one -- FreeBSD won't boot -- but the details are different.
Partition Commander now has:

  Ptn    size   ----- type -----  1st sector  # of sectors
  P0     250M   FAT32      0x0B          63        514017
  P1       7M   Linux ext2 0x83      514080         16065
  P2   41.99G   Unix       0xA5      530145      88068330
  P3   85.75G   Extended   0x0F    88598475     179831610
   L0   43.75G   FAT32      0x0B    88598538      91763217
   L1     400M   Linux swap 0x82   180361818        819252
   L2   41.60G   Linux ext2 0x83   181181133      87248952

Sysinstall had not commented about the geometry with the 10GB disk,
but it did this time; and as suggested I let it do what it wanted.
The Dell BIOS will not tell me what it thinks the geometry is -- it
just says the drive is EIDE -- so I have no direct way of verifying
sysinstall's geometry; however the first BIOS partition is a
working FAT32 and per the instructions that "should" be enough for
sysinstall to have gotten it right.  (The second BIOS partition is
a Linux /boot, which also works.)

The install appeared to succeed, and the FreeBSD boot manager does
successfully boot Windoze and Linux, but all attempts to boot FreeBSD
from the hard disk fail.

The following was transcribed by hand, so there might be some typos;
and I've added some notes to the right of the lsdev output.  I've
also confirmed, using the loader's "ls", that there is no visible
file named 'kernel' in the root directory, nor anywhere under /boot,
/rescue, or /sbin.  Where is it supposed to come from, and how do
I get it where it needs to be without reinstalling the whole thing
*yet again*?


F1   DOS
F2   Linux
F3   FreeBSD

Default: F3

BTX loader 1.00  BTX version is 1.01
Consoles: internal video/keyboard
BIOS drive A: is disk0
BIOS drive C: is disk1
BIOS 640kB/195584kB available memory
acpi: bad RSDP checksum (210)

FreeBSD/i386 bootstrap loader, Revision 1.1
([EMAIL PROTECTED], Sun May  7 03:20:03 UTC 2006)
Loading /boot/defaults/loader.conf
Unable to load a kernel!
can't load 'kernel'

Type '?' for a list of commands, 'help' for more detailed help.
OK lsdev
cd devices:
disk devices:
    disk0: BIOS drive A:
    disk1: BIOS drive C:
      disk1s1: FAT32              # C:
      disk1s2: ext2fs             # Linux /boot
        disk1s3a: FFS             # FreeBSD /
        disk1s3b: swap
        disk1s3d: FFS             # FreeBSD /var
        disk1s3e: FFS             # FreeBSD /tmp
        disk1s3f: FFS             # FreeBSD /usr
      disk1s4: Unknown fs: 0xf    # contains FAT32 D:, Linux swap and /
pxe devicde:

Well, you're at least as far as having the disk sliced up in a workable way, or the bootstrap wouldn't start at all. This jumps out as not only being bad, but happening right before meltdown.

acpi: bad RSDP checksum (210)

Have you got the latest Dell BIOS for this hardware? If not you may be SOL if they don't support this hardware any more. I expect the GX1 is well past Dell's official EOL, but they may still have the files downloadable on their support site.

It might not help anyway. The alternative to making an old ACPI implementation work right is to try to work around its shortcomings by trying to boot around the problem or reconfigure the underlying system to eliminate the root cause of the conflict.

Searching for "bad RSDP checksum" turns up that this is a recurring issue on older Dells, along with wildly disparate pokes at causes and solutions including:

toggling ACPI support on/off in the BIOS
workarounds for funky RAID cards
replacing the video card with a different model

Ain't low level hardware troubleshooting grand? I expect there are also boot loader command line options you can try to coax the system to start with hardware "as is" but I've never had to resort to that; the Handbook or others on the list are going to be more helpful than I can on that point.

Greg Barniskis, Computer Systems Integrator
South Central Library System (SCLS)
Library Interchange Network (LINK)
<gregb at>, (608) 266-6348
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