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Re: [vox-tech] a few pre-install questions
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Re: [vox-tech] a few pre-install questions

Quoting Ken Bloom (kabloom@ucdavis.edu):
> On Mon, Aug 23, 2004 at 09:29:16PM -0700, dylan wrote:
> > 1. the machine currently has a single SATA hard disk that i would
> > like to use for both winXP (yuck!) and linux.
> Use a 2.6 kernel for SATA.  Although I think some recent 2.4 kernels
> work too. The Debian Sarge installer release candidates
> (www.debian.org/debian-installer/) should work.

The picture's actually a bit more complex than that.  I try to track it
at "Serial ATA" on http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Hardware/ .  Here's an
example that, with luck, might even be relevant to the original poster.

When posters, these days, speak of having new machines with "SATA hard
disks", and say nothing about host adapters, more often than not it
means they have a motherboard with an Intel ICH5 / ICH5R / ICH6 / ICH6R
Serial ATA motherboard-embedded chipset.  For example, a lot of the
current-production Dells have these.  For simpicity, I'll refer to that
entire family as ICH5.

ICH5, an example of Intel's "PCI ISA IDE Xcelerator" (PIIX) chip design,
was a follow-on to the predecessor ICH4 parallel-ATA (PATA) chipset
series.  As such, it used pretty much exactly the same programming
interface.  Therefore, the Linux 2.4.x kernels' bog-standard ata
("drivers/ide") driver set's "piix" low-level driver kinda-sorta works
fine with ICH5.  The more recent the 2.4.x kernel (post-2.4.22), the
better piix works with it, because small tweaks were done to that driver
series to accomodate ICH5.

At the same time, Jeff Garzik's libata driver architecture was being
fleshed out and tested in the 2.6 kernel series.  The libata set is
distinctive in that it leverages the well-tested SCSI support code to
better support selected SATA chipset, and ICH5 was/is among those.  The
particular low-level libata driver required for ICH5 is ata_piix.

Sometimes, users of 2.4.x kernels went out of their way to gain access
to the libata set, because of its quality and performance, by applying a
(rather large) patch to backport libata.  Then, as of the recent 2.4.27
kernel release, the 2.4 kernel maintainer accepted libata for inclusion.

Therefore, hypothetically if your Linux distribution installer happened
to be based on a 2.4.27 kernel (unlikely at this date), then you would
have your choice of _two_ drivers for ICH5, piix from drivers/ide and
ata_piix from libata.  

You would (thus) not _necessarily_ need a 2.6 kernel, even if you are
determined to use piix rather than ata_piix.  

Anyhow, Dylan, what's your SATA chipset -- not the hard drive, but
rather the support chip at the far end of the cable?  If you don't know,
then the make and model of your motherboard (assuming you're not using a
host adapter card) should make it possible to find that information out.

Cheers,                   The cynics among us might say:   "We laugh, 
Rick Moen                 monkeyboys -- Linux IS the mainstream UNIX now!
rick@linuxmafia.com       MuaHaHaHa!" but that would be rude. -- Jim Dennis
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