Vortex86DX CPU and Debian Etch 4.0 r3 i386 Netinstall

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Vortex86DX CPU and Debian Etch 4.0 r3 i386 Netinstall

Postby hartmada » 2017-08-08 18:21

I'm attempting to install Debian Etch 4.0 r3 i386 Netinstall on a Diamond Systems PC/104 SBC with Vortex86DX CPU:

http://www.diamondsystems.com/products/helios

I prepared the USB stick by following these instructions:

https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/ch04s03.html.en

I tried the following ISOs:

https://cdimage.debian.org/mirror/cdimage/archive/4.0_r3/i386/iso-cd/
https://www.debian.org/releases/etch/debian-installer/etchnhalf

Upon boot, I received the following error message:

Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key


I therefore tried the second option of preparing my USB stick, "4.3.2. Manually copying files to the USB stick" by downloading an i386 boot.img and copying the debian ISO image to the drive. I downloaded and installed the following boot.img:

http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/stable/main/installer-i386/current/images/hd-media/

Upon boot, the Debian installation graphic appears. I select the "Graphic install" and shortly thereafter I receive the following error message:

This kernel requires an i586 CPU, but only detected an i486 CPU. Unable to boot - please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.


Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
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Re: Vortex86DX CPU and Debian Etch 4.0 r3 i386 Netinstall

Postby dasein » 2017-08-08 18:41

If the manufacturer is to be believed, they don't support their original "DX" chip under Linux, only the later DX2 and DX3 models.

See http://www.compactpc.com.tw/support.aspx?mode=3&id=63 for details.

While Googling this problem (something you should have done before posting), I found a couple of posts in various forums that claimed that a custom kernel might be available for this chip, but I didn't dig deeper for what I sincerely hope are obvious reasons.
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Re: Vortex86DX CPU and Debian Etch 4.0 r3 i386 Netinstall

Postby hartmada » 2017-08-08 21:36

Wow. Thanks, I guess.

I did search Google, and I did see that a custom kernel was necessary, but according to the link below, it should be installed ___after___ the main installation:

http://www.compactpc.com.tw/2014%20DMP%20Webiste/Linux%20Support%20List/debian4_installation_guide.pdf

The fact that I could not get an i386 installation started seemed like a serious red flag to me.
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Re: Vortex86DX CPU and Debian Etch 4.0 r3 i386 Netinstall

Postby dasein » 2017-08-08 22:15

hartmada wrote:The fact that I could not get an i386 installation started seemed like a serious red flag to me.

Yeah, how dare Debian not maintain an installer from 10 years ago. :roll:

The point that seems to be lost on you is that no one here is going to be able to replicate your problem, much less help you troubleshoot it. If you vendor doesn't even know which versions of their chip are supported, then how would you expect anyone else to?
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Re: Vortex86DX CPU and Debian Etch 4.0 r3 i386 Netinstall

Postby stevepusser » 2017-08-08 22:26

You might try Debian-based antiX Linux instead. The 32-bit ships with a 486-compatible kernel.
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Re: Vortex86DX CPU and Debian Etch 4.0 r3 i386 Netinstall

Postby sunrat » 2017-08-09 00:38

Did you read that installation guide? It says to boot from a CD, jump through a few hoops, ignore network error messages during install, then reboot and install a new kernel from usb key.
It does not say install from usb key.
But yeah, you will need to find an installer with 486 kernel. Antix is good and may even work without changing to the old linked kernel if you're lucky.
Or you could try https://www.debian.org/releases/etch/debian-installer/
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Re: Vortex86DX CPU and Debian Etch 4.0 r3 i386 Netinstall

Postby hartmada » 2017-08-09 01:15

dasein wrote:Yeah, how dare Debian not maintain an installer from 10 years ago. :roll:


With all due respect, the motivation for the original post was that I was doing something wrong. Clearly, I'll dig further into Google for a solution. I was just hoping that someone here with more technical knowledge might have already encountered this problem.
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