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Debian installer fails when ext3-formatting root partition

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  • Phil Endecott
    Dear All, I am attempting to install Debian using the latest debian installer. It gets as far as running the partitioner, and as far as I can see it does write
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 21, 2006
      Dear All,

      I am attempting to install Debian using the latest debian installer.
      It gets as far as running the partitioner, and as far as I can see it
      does write the partition table. It then starts to format the root
      partition (90% of a 1G flash drive) but gives up after a couple of
      seconds, closing the ssh connection.

      Any ideas anyone?

      I may try plugging the drive into my PC and running mkfs.ext3 from
      there. Or I could try to get my serial cable working and see if there
      is an error message. I'll post an update if I solve it, but I thought
      I'd ask now in case anyone can immediately deduce what has gone wrong.

      Cheers,

      Phil.
    • Phil Endecott
      ... The serial port didn t help; it was happily showing the continue via SSH dialog. But logging in again, choosing start shell and then running dmesg
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 21, 2006
        Phil Endecott wrote:
        > Dear All,
        >
        > I am attempting to install Debian using the latest debian installer.
        > It gets as far as running the partitioner, and as far as I can see it
        > does write the partition table. It then starts to format the root
        > partition (90% of a 1G flash drive) but gives up after a couple of
        > seconds, closing the ssh connection.

        The serial port didn't help; it was happily showing the "continue via
        SSH" dialog. But logging in again, choosing "start shell" and then
        running dmesg showed:

        Out of Memory: Kill process 4069 (sshd) score 72 and children.
        Out of memory: Killed process 4091 (sshd).

        which would explain the sudden disconnection.

        I have the same amount of RAM as (almost) everyone else. I chose only
        the installer modules that are suggested on the web page. Why does it
        work for other people but not for me?

        Cheers,

        Phil.
      • Phil Endecott
        ... The serial port didn t provide an answer; it was still showing the continue via SSH dialog. But sshing in again, choosing start shell and then running
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 21, 2006
          Phil Endecott wrote:
          > Dear All,
          >
          > I am attempting to install Debian using the latest debian installer.
          > It gets as far as running the partitioner, and as far as I can see it
          > does write the partition table. It then starts to format the root
          > partition (90% of a 1G flash drive) but gives up after a couple of
          > seconds, closing the ssh connection.

          The serial port didn't provide an answer; it was still showing the
          "continue via SSH" dialog. But sshing in again, choosing "start shell"
          and then running dmesg showed:

          Out of Memory: Kill process 4069 (sshd) score 72 and children.
          Out of memory: Killed process 4091 (sshd).

          which would explain the sudden disconnection.

          I have the same amount of RAM as (almost) everyone else. I chose only
          the 5 installer modules that are suggested on the web page. Why does it
          work for other people but not for me?

          Anyway, I formatted the drive from my PC, and it has now got as far as
          "Installing the base system". I'll let you know how it gets on.

          Cheers,

          Phil.
        • Martin Michlmayr
          ... Many problems have seen this problem with a 1 GB stick. It s because in this case the installer creates a swap partition that is too small. I ve just
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 21, 2006
            * Phil Endecott <spam_from_nslu2_linux@...> [2006-11-21 13:09]:
            > Out of Memory: Kill process 4069 (sshd) score 72 and children.
            > Out of memory: Killed process 4091 (sshd).
            > which would explain the sudden disconnection.
            >
            > I have the same amount of RAM as (almost) everyone else. I chose only
            > the installer modules that are suggested on the web page. Why does it
            > work for other people but not for me?

            Many problems have seen this problem with a 1 GB stick. It's because
            in this case the installer creates a swap partition that is too small.

            I've just added the following to my web page:

            If you have a USB stick with only 1 GB the current version of the
            installer will by default create a swap partition that is too small
            and your system will run out of memory during the installation and
            fail (the symption of this is that your SSH connection will be
            closed). On such systems, you therefore have to manually partition
            your hard drive instead of using the guided partition option. Make
            sure that you have at least a swap partition with at least 128 MB.

            I'll try to fix this for the next version of the installer (rc2).
            --
            Martin Michlmayr
            http://www.cyrius.com/
          • robbutlerast
            ... Using a 2 Gb usb flash drive I ve tried with a swap partition of 130mb and the rest used for the main partition - same thing happens - stops midway through
            Message 5 of 7 , Dec 3, 2006
              --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, Martin Michlmayr <tbm@...> wrote:
              > Many problems have seen this problem with a 1 GB stick. It's because
              > in this case the installer creates a swap partition that is too small.
              >
              > I've just added the following to my web page:
              >

              Using a 2 Gb usb flash drive I've tried with a swap partition of 130mb
              and the rest used for the main partition - same thing happens - stops
              midway through partitioning. Hangs when you relog into ssh 50% through
              the "starting up the partitioner" screen.

              I've used the same settings for each partition that the auto
              partitioner uses - apart from I've changed the actual size of each
              partition. I end up wiping the partitions in windows and starting
              again.

              Is there an easy way to get debian installed on my 2gb flash drive, or
              am I better off trying a different firmware?

              Any thoughts appreciated.
            • Phil Endecott
              ... 128 MBytes of swap worked for me on my second installation. Maybe you are doing something else differently? Did you load only the five listed installer
              Message 6 of 7 , Dec 4, 2006
                >> Many problems have seen this problem with a 1 GB stick. It's because
                >> in this case the installer creates a swap partition that is too small.
                >
                > Using a 2 Gb usb flash drive I've tried with a swap partition of 130mb
                > and the rest used for the main partition - same thing happens - stops
                > midway through partitioning. Hangs when you relog into ssh 50% through
                > the "starting up the partitioner" screen.

                128 MBytes of swap worked for me on my second installation. Maybe you
                are doing something else differently? Did you load only the five
                listed installer modules?

                A serial cable can be very helpful in tracking down this sort of
                problem, as kernel messages like "out of memory" are sent there.

                Your quickest solution may be to partition and format the drive on a
                Linux PC.

                If I have time I may have a look at the mke3fs code and see if I can
                work out why it needs so much memory. It feels like a memory leak to me.


                Phil.
              • robbutlerast
                ... to me. ... As previous posters have said it seems to be the formatting that trips things up. The partitions are visible in windows - so I could take it to
                Message 7 of 7 , Dec 4, 2006
                  > Your quickest solution may be to partition and format the drive on a
                  > Linux PC.
                  >
                  > If I have time I may have a look at the mke3fs code and see if I can
                  > work out why it needs so much memory. It feels like a memory leak
                  to me.
                  >
                  >
                  > Phil.
                  >

                  As previous posters have said it seems to be the formatting that trips
                  things up. The partitions are visible in windows - so I could take it
                  to work and format it on my linux box I guess if all else fails.
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