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Ultra 66 IDE Controller

I am attempting to install Linux. I have a Promise Technology Ultra 66 IDE Controller for my hard drive. Unfortunately, the current Linux kernel does not support this controller. There is a patch available for this controller. How do I apply the patch if I cannot install Linux in the first place?

Thanks
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gmonkey
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gmonkey
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freesourceCommented:
Good question, I've seen this asked many times, and I have offered many times to help by building a custom kernel which could be put on a disk or loaded with loadlin.   Since there are already great Linux on floppy disk systems ->

http://www.c0p.org/floppy.html

... the customized kernel will mount one of these systems like LOAF ->

http://loaf.ecks.org/

which could be used to access the cdrom, and use tools on the cdrom to do a base installation.

I want to make this generic solution succeed because this would allow other people using all types of distribution installations to be able to install on a UDMA66 system.  Alternatively, the installation cdrom could be accessed in the normal way depending on the distribution, but this would involve some customization.

If you want to take me up on this, and are willing to invest some time by being a tester; this would be the present solution until UDMA66 support comes out on the next-something distribution.
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freesourceCommented:
I wanted to point out, if you are really intent on doing the patching or compiling a newer >= 2.3.3 kernel there are a few solutions, including loop linux which is a distribution you can run off a DOS/WIN95/98 partition.  This looks promising because it is a rather current version of Linux.

http://www.tux.org/pub/people/kent-robotti/index.html

Running Linux off a loop device is cool!
After you compile the new kernel you than could access the installation disk and go through the various steps needed to install.  You'd want to read a good HOWTO like the Installation-HOWTO which goes through all the steps.  You can find HOWTOs at http://www.linuxdoc.org.

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sandymacjrCommented:
I haven't tested because I run an all SCSI system but I think you can turn on the newer IDE modes in many BIOS's.

If this works this would be way easier than using a 3rd party boot disk. Once you get a kernel that supports the Ultra 66 mode don't forget to switch back to the faster speeds.
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freesourceCommented:
From what I understand UDMA66 Hard Drives are backwards compatible with the earlier DMA protocols, so you could remove your controller, and run the hard drive directly from your motherboards with Linux in that fashion, too.  But, there  is no fun in doing that :)
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gmonkeyAuthor Commented:
Three comments.

First of all, thanks for all of the help. It looks like there are several options that I can try.

I have downloaded and run LOAF. I am a little stuck about what to do next. Actually, I have a bit of reading to do. freesource, if you want someone to test a generic solution, I would be more than happy.

I may have to go the route of bypassing Ultra66. When I open my box, will it be obvious where to plug the hard drive directly into the motherboard?

I do not know how to turn on the newer IDE modes in the BIOS? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Scored average due to my ignorance.
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sandymacjrCommented:
I don't think I deserver points for that answer until it has worked for you. but the bios should mention transfer modes for each ide controler.
In my bois I think it would be called PIO or UDMA. try setting those to the lowest settings.

good luck
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freesourceCommented:
Great, I am working with someone right now who wants to try out the alternative kernel approach.  I see this question over and over again.  I think providing a generic approach so people could have access to a newer kernel and a step-by-step installation solution would be very valuable in any situation where support for various hardware isn't in the existing distribution.  So I'll keep you up to date as things progress so you can be a test subject.

Your motherboard manual should provide information where the controller slot is.  Sometimes slots are marked, sometimes you just have to look at the way things are situated.  You can probably get a good manual for your motherboard from the motherboard's online site if you don't already have one.  Manuals usually have information about setting up the BIOS as well.
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