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Author Topic: Trying (and very much failing) to install Debian Hurd on real hardware  (Read 228 times)

methylatedspirit

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I read this in a different thread:
Hardware support in Mint is amazing compared to Hurd.

The madlad in me read that as: "Install Hurd on real hardware, entirely for the hell of it". Since it's getting to be a bit too long for the original thread anyway, I've decided to start a new thread.

The plan is to install a Hurd-based distro on real hardware. I've decided on Debian Hurd, mostly because it seems to at least support a GUI out of the box. Since I enjoy not destroying my precious Windows 10 install, I'll go the unconventional route of installing to another USB stick. I only happen to have 16 GB sticks around, so I'll be a bit constrained.

I don't have a capture card, so you'll be seeing pictures taken with my phone. Some pictures were taken out of order, since I completely forgot about documenting the experience at first. Certain bits of experimentation with the BIOS settings removed, because I think it would've been too dull.

Spoiler: System Specs (click to show/hide)

Using the 20210219-23:25 nightly build
(It's new hardware, I figured that I'd get better results on nightly builds.)

Let's see, Debian Hurd only works on i386 (x86, non-64-bit) systems. How about I try with my current settings anyway?



No. Disabling Secure Boot does the same. Legacy boot?



Yes! Enter. I'm at GRUB. Every time I get to GRUB in this build, the computer beeps twice at me.



I'll select graphical install, because I'm a total noob. And...



Blank screen. I'll be seeing this thing a lot of times. To save on bandwidth (and because I don't know which blank screen belongs to which), I'll replace all future instances of a blank screen with a 1536x864 #000000 black image. What if I enable the Intel iGPU, since the only good Nvidia drivers are proprietary?



Again? What about pseudo-graphical mode?



No. Text mode?



Okay, there's something. I'll just power through and select the defaults, hitting Enter at every prompt until I encounter a problem. Here's the first, and pretty much fatal problem:



How does an installer not see the damn thing it booted off off? Uh, sure, load drivers from removable media. (I had another Debian Hurd USB plugged in while taking the next photo, hoping that it would work there, but no, whatever drivers it wants, it sure as hell can't see)



This is pretty much a fatal error. I suppose it doesn't have the drivers to even read off its own USB, so it just stops there. If I answered no to loading drivers, I get this:



In either case, if you continue, you'll see:


(Yes, the timeline's getting a bit fudged. Blame me.)

I suppose the only thing I could do at this point is to abort installation.



It can't even shut down right, it seems, or I'm just really impatient. It was just stuck here, and eventually, I just put it out of its misery and shut it down manually.



That was a bust.

Using the stable 20190705 image

I booted back into Windows (and reverted my BIOS settings) I used Rufus to burn another Debian Hurd USB, but this time using the stable 20190705 build. Maybe this one's actually gonna work. I went back to BIOS and changed the settings back to legacy boot and iGPU enabled.



At least it's seeing it. "Enter" as usual.



Holy crap, that is some tiny text! I'll just go into "Debian GNU/Hurd", just because.



I'm pretty sure "start ext2fs: ext2fs: device hd0s2: No such device or address" is low-level-speak for "I can't find the USB drive that I need to begin installing Debian!". It just hangs here, since it's exactly as if I pulled out the USB stick out in GRUB. It was plugged in the whole time, mind you.

I dunno, try again and go to advanced options?



Recovery mode? Maybe it loads fallback drivers or something.



I'm recycling images, but believe me, it's the same exact text in both instances. It just crashes when trying to find the USB install media.

Conclusion

Ziusudra, you're right. GNU Hurd's hardware support sucks. It doesn't even support the USB driver that's needed to read the install data in the first place. If anyone has any ideas of other Hurd-based distros that would work, let me know.
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MrRoboto75

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Re: Trying (and very much failing) to install Debian Hurd on real hardware
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2021, 11:13:02 pm »

I like your funny words magic person.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2021, 11:17:15 pm by MrRoboto75 »
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wierd

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Re: Trying (and very much failing) to install Debian Hurd on real hardware
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2021, 11:42:44 pm »

It is not detecting your USB device as a valid boot device.

Looks like it is probing for some truly ancient hardware too.  Really? Iomega Zip, PPA version!?  What is this, 2000?

As far as I can tell, it is ONLY detecting your sata drive and its partitions. It cannot find an EXT2/3 partition, and thus cannot boot. 
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methylatedspirit

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Re: Trying (and very much failing) to install Debian Hurd on real hardware
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2021, 12:14:55 am »

Are you telling me that Hurd doesn't have support for FAT32 USB devices? Why, FAT32, even if the driver's reverse-engineered, is too non-free for GNU? Presumably, what you're suggesting is to write the boot USB in DD image mode, so whatever filesystem it uses, it's supported. Or are you telling me to boot into Linux (or WSL, but screw that) to directly write to the USB with dd?
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wierd

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Re: Trying (and very much failing) to install Debian Hurd on real hardware
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2021, 12:52:13 am »

No, I mean, it is not even probing for USB, from what I can see.

The only devices it finds AT ALL, are on your SATA chain.
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methylatedspirit

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Re: Trying (and very much failing) to install Debian Hurd on real hardware
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2021, 01:11:11 am »

It literally can't see any USB devices at all? I'm hoping that it's a chipset-related issue, not a "Hurd's too dumb to look for USB when booting from USB"-issue. I did enable USB support in legacy boot mode. Is there a way to get it to write logs?
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Ziusudra

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Re: Trying (and very much failing) to install Debian Hurd on real hardware
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2021, 02:19:27 am »

Yeah, as far as know, Hurd doesn't have USB support. The fact that you can boot it from USB is thanks to the BIOS.
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wierd

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Re: Trying (and very much failing) to install Debian Hurd on real hardware
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2021, 02:29:24 am »

The typical way linux OS boots (GRUB is kinda-sorta expecting this method);

The boot loader is loaded using the BIOS's INT13 routines, and then pulls the kernel image and the initial ramdisk into memory using the same mechanism.  Control is then passed to the kernel image, which opens the initial ramdisk, and begins booting from RAM.

Ordinarily, the initial ramdisk image will contain drivers that are able to work with the actual hardware in the system, and for this reason, the INT13 routines are completely ignored. (The memory that they utilize is usually either blacklisted, if ROM, or mapped out with the MMU and remapped for other purposes. DOS software interrupt handlers have no use to a linux-like kernel.)

In this case, the initial ramdisk does not contain drivers for dealing with the UHCI/OHCI/EHCI devices, (USB 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0 respectively) and so cannot initialize the hardware for the root hub, let alone find any disk drives attached.  It simply does not know how to deal with them.

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methylatedspirit

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Re: Trying (and very much failing) to install Debian Hurd on real hardware
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2021, 02:33:37 am »

Yeah, as far as know, Hurd doesn't have USB support. The fact that you can boot it from USB is thanks to the BIOS.

Jesus. I checked, and yeah, it don't have USB support at all, apart from incidental mouse and keyboard support due to BIOS emulation.

Quote from: https://www.gnu.org/software/hurd/microkernel/mach/gnumach/hardware_compatibility_list.html
USB 1.1/2.0

USB is not supported at this time.

However, USB-type keyboards and mice may (and have been reported to) work nevertheless, given that the hardware / BIOS is doing emulation to the supported legacy interfaces.

No wonder GNU recommends Linux-libre-based distros. I'd do that, but it'd be really boring; you'd just be watching me install a distro of Linux, but this time, the kernel's free. It's just the Linux kernel, but minus proprietary software. Nothing fun to be done there.

I dunno... Gentoo? LFS? That'd be fun, if only because I'd be suffering through it as I figure things out on the fly.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 02:39:13 am by methylatedspirit »
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