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Having trouble kickstarting Red Hat Linux 9 over the network

Posted on 2003-11-13
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I am in the process of kickstarting Red Hat Linux 9 on a series of PCs.  I boot each PC with a boot disk and then insert a network driver disk when requested to perform installation over the network from our install server.  This works fine on almost all the machines, but a few have the following problem: the installation crashes with a fatal error at the point when either the ncurses package is being installed, the aspell package is being installed, or a dictionary package for aspell is being installed.  Could someone please suggest how to fix this?  Just today, I went through about 10 failed attempts to kickstart a single machine, so ANY suggestions are really appreciated.
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Question by:aleksandrzingorenko
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by:shivsa
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could u post the exact error possible.
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by:jlevie
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Since the install server works on most of the machines I'd suspect some sort of network problem on the systems that fail. It might be that the failing machines aren't correctly negotiating the link mode (one end in HDX, the other in FDX). Such a network link will mostly work, but it will usually fail on large transfers.

What NIC's are in the machines that fail? What Hub/Switch is being used?
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by:aleksandrzingorenko
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I don't remeber everything in the error box, but I do remeber that the title on top is "Error Installing Package" and the box contains the following words: "This could be due to media failure, lack of disk space, and/or hardware problems.  This is a fatal error and your installation will be aborted.  Please verify your media, then try your install again.  Press the OK button to reboot your system."

As for the NICs, the machines that fail have the same ones as the machines that work.  We use NETGEAR hubs and switches by Foundry Networks, if that is of any help.
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by:aleksandrzingorenko
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Oh, and another thing, how do I check that the link mode is correctly negotiated and fix it if it is currently incorrect?
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jlevie earned 125 total points
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The fix for a mis-negotiated link, if that's what this problem is, is to force one or both ends of the link to a sane mode. With managed switches this can usually be done on a per-port basis, but sometimes it is necessary yo set both the switch and the node's mode. I don't know how you'd force the link mode during kickstart or network install. With the OS running once cna use mii-diag or a card specific diag tool for the job.

I've had this problem when Jumpstarting Suns and solved it there by interposing a 10Mbps hub in between the Sun and the rest of the network for the install. Once the OS is up I can force the Sun's NIC to the correct mode and remove the hub.
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