Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

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Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby Frostsnow » 2020-07-25 18:44

I am trying to install Debian GNU/Linux on an old, 32-bit i386 system for a neighbor. After partitioning the disk, the installer will completely freeze up as it begins to install packages to the disk. There is a bit of variance in when the installer freezes, but it is usually very quick, within 5 to 15 seconds, at most 30 seconds. After some digging I learned to view the log at virtual terminal 4, which showed that the kernel was actually panicing; unfortunately, the stack trace shows only information about the idle thread and the useful information is pushed off screen, after which the system becomes entirely unresponsive.

I have thus far tried:
1) Running 'memtest' on the system (all tests passed)
2) Viewing the logs over the web. This doesn't help because I can't get to the logs after the kernel panic
3) Booting with 'noapci nolapci'
4) Booting with 'nosmp'
5) Partially running 'badblocks' on the system (it ran for 10 minutes and didn't throw an error, after which I was content that the disk wasn't entirely broken). I'd like to use 'smartctl' but it doesn't appear to come with the installation CD.
6) Using the XFCE image rather than the net installation image
7) Booting with 'irqpoll' (instantly breaks)
8) Booting with 'mitigations=off'.

I'm stumped. Any ideas what I could try as a workaround or how I can get the full log & kernel panic message?

EDIT: Computer is labelled "AMD Athlon XP-M (LV) 1600+". Laptop manufacturer appears to be "Averatec".
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby sunrat » 2020-07-26 02:37

Answering this partly because my first PC build was an Athlon XP 2000+. I gave it away 10 years ago.
Most likely your problem is Debian dropped support for 32-bit processors except for i686 about 4 years ago. Oldoldstable "Jessie" is the last Debian that will work on i386. Many packages and kernels will still have "i386" in their name but still need minimum i686.

https://news.softpedia.com/news/debian- ... 3832.shtml

Interesting pastime to get it working but it won't be very useful. Processor doesn't support SSE2 so no modern browser will work. You may have to choose an old version of whatever distro which will be insecure on the internet.

I'm not sure if AntiX supports i386 still; antiX-16 was based on Jessie but has just reached end-of-life. You can run it live without installing. It even can run from USB in a system that doesn't support it. Make identical USB and CD installers, boot from the CD and select "Run from USB".

Lotsa luck!
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby stevepusser » 2020-07-26 03:09

I'm pretty sure that antiX still has a version with a 486 type kernel which should work on that. How much RAM does that machine have? If only 512 MB, XFCE may be able to run in it, but not a lot else, so antiX could be the best best.

Those old Averatecs may also use SIS UniChrome video chipsets that don't really have much current support, but antiX may still be providing an accelerated (2D only) driver for it, I remember it had it in older releases.
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-26 03:35

+1 Couldn't hurt trying some Debian based, esp those meant for older systems, antiX or Bunsenlabs gnu/Linux, that last isn't only meant for old hardware, it'd be good on plenty of stuff. Though spec poor hardware would be an obvious place that distro would shine. Both include nonfree out-of-box too.

Something else which popped into head(out to keyboard), if it's really low on memory. Remember people used to preformat the disk drive and setup a swap partition on it. Use something like gparted live or from a nix installer w live session that includes it. Trick goes as follows, setting up a swap beforehand is supposed to allow a nix installer to use it (the swap)during install, thus install on pc's with too lil memory for it to work otherwise. Something to try, such a system could benefit from a non-standard kernel, no smp or pae perhaps. That's just really briefly eyeing over the specs for it, it's a single core proc?

Am too lazy to confirm but would be shocked if it doesn't support i686 (or made to be, bios update?)anyway, dunno as again entirely too lazy to run that much info on the proc down. From contents of your post it's clear you/Op are no slouch or layman when it comes to tech. With or without help betting you'll get it done. :)

PS, dammit ... Notice you specifically say i386 in thread title!!! Arghhhh, dammit, now I'm going to end up looking this crap up!!! Are you sure it's restricted to that? This chip was made in 1952 or what!?!!

Ps2, yep as thought, miscommunication, people often misuse i386 to describe 32bit software vs arch. Says it came out in 2011, it supports i686, zero doubt.

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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby sunrat » 2020-07-26 04:42

Deb-fan wrote:Says it came out in 2011, it supports i686, zero doubt.


Was released in 2001. You should read the thread before posting. I said I gave my Athlon-XP system away 10 years ago, it was ancient then.
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-26 04:48

EDIT: Computer is labelled "AMD Athlon XP-M (LV) 1600+". Laptop manufacturer appears to be "Averatec".

That's from the Op, link is about the chip they're having issues with and says it's from 2011. Wasn't aware this is supposed to have become a help thread for you or any of your former hardware. Oops ... :P

PS, interesting and funny, so further.

My Stretch install is multiarch, supports both 32 and 64 bit. When I run "dpkg --print-architecture" output says native Os is i386 which it is, began life as a 32bit install, I added the amd64 arch on to it. But the 32b software it runs (and my systems proc) are not restricted to i386, even the almost 11yr old dualcore in this laptop supports i686.

More also from live nix session Op run "lscpu" in terminal, wouldn't be surprised if it lists 64-bit under op-modes, meaning it's capable of running 64bit. My proc can, I just prefer using 32b still, though also have a 64b Buster OS installed on another partition of the laptop.
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby sunrat » 2020-07-26 05:56

Deb-fan wrote:That's from the Op, link is about the chip they're having issues with and says it's from 2011. Wasn't aware this is supposed to have become a help thread for you or any of your former hardware. Oops ... :P


Link is wrong. I was wrong too, mistaking the Athlon-XP Palomino which was released in 2001. OP's chip is probably the Thoroughbred series and the LV version was released in 2003. Still i386, not i686.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_A ... _(Socket_A)
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby LE_746F6D617A7A69 » 2020-07-26 09:38

sunrat wrote:Still i386, not i686.
It's the K8 Athlon XP-M - and so it's at least i586 compatible - but I would say that it's also compatible with i686, because this ISA was introduced with PentiumPro, and the K8's were compatible with P4 (also i686)

From what I can remember, Athlon64 Newcastle was i686-compatible (I had one) - and this is the same K8 family.
It would be nice to see the content of /proc/cpuinfo

Anyway, that PC from OP is a dinosaur -> there can be many reasons for kernel panic.
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-26 10:10

^ Hey! My laptop is ancient and it told me, to tell you that it resents that remark! :) Would be nice to hear from the OP though.
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby p.H » 2020-07-26 10:18

Looks like clarifications are needed for everyone who wrote in this thread.

Frostsnow wrote:Booting with 'noapci nolapci

These kernel parameters do not exist.
A "nolapic" kernel parameter exists to disable the local APIC.
"noacpi" exists as a libata module parameter (libata.noacpi=1) to disable the use of ACPI in ATA disk suspend/resume.
"noacpi" also exists as a pci kernel parameter value (pci=noacpi) to disable the use of ACPI for IRQ routing.
To completely disable the use of ACPI, the kernel parameter is "acpi=off". Warning : this has drawbacks.

Frostsnow wrote:2) Viewing the logs over the web.

What do you mean by "over le web" ?

LE_746F6D617A7A69 wrote:It's the K8 Athlon XP-M

I do not see any "AMD Athlon XP-M (LV) 1600+" in the K8-based XP-M line in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_Athlon_XP_microprocessors. Starts at 2800+.

In Debian, "i386" is the architecture codename for x86 32-bit. It does not mean an i386 processor.
686 is compatible with any x86 processor from Pentium Pro and above, including the Athlon XP family.

I just tested the base installation in text mode of Debian 10.4 on a Athlon XP 2400+, and it worked. I just had some trouble booting the installer, as the BIOS would fail to boot from a USB device (rather common with BIOS of that age), so I had to boot the installer from an internal disk.

The Athlon XP family was released during the 2000-2005 era. By 2011, AMD had switched to the amd64 architecture for a long time.

Debian dropped support for real i386 processors since Sarge (3.1) or Etch (4.0), long before Jessie (8). Jessie required at least a 586 processor (Pentium, AMD K5).

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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-26 12:01

Really want to hear from the OP by this point!

Being gnu/Linux it's sorta more than a tad versatile. Are ways to customize or modify the installer or any given iso, are also ways to bypass need for an installer or iso and directly transfer a customized gnu/nix install onto a systems hdd. Ie: I could take my Stretch or Buster installs, rsync them on to a DVD or USB drive, fiddle with some files to fit the intended target system (partition UUID's/fstab, grub.cfg file etc) and install it that way. Op might need a different kernel on that PC or not. Smp on a single core system clearly isn't a benefit, pae on a PC with 512mbs ram too etc etc.

Someone could no doubt build such a customized install in a dang virtual machine and transfer it on to other pc's. Haven't tried that last one but see zero reason it wouldn't work. :)
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby p.H » 2020-07-26 12:29

Deb-fan wrote:pae on a PC with 512mb

Enabling PAE would still be useful to enable the NX/XD bit for data execution prevention. But 32-bit Athlon do not have the NX/XD bit.
Anyway, the i386 Debian installer kernel does not have PAE enabled, in order to support CPUs without PAE support.
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-26 12:41

^ No worries, though wasn't aware of that. Really was only trying to outline & convey a useful concept there above. Tell the truth, finding myself aggravated over this thread. Per usual nothing like concise information being provided and why i386 was pinned in the title, when unless it's an absolutely ancient PC is misleading and meaningless. Though I chose to participate, so can only blame myself for any irritation here. Shrugs ...

Op's join date is like 2011 and he/they have 3 posts? Ah forget it. If they ever respond would be nice to hear which proc is even involved for certain.
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby arid » 2020-07-26 18:19

Oh my!

Here we are again.

What's the problem?

Code: Select all
guy@gpsman:~$ dpkg --print-architecture
i386
guy@gpsman:~$ inxi -F
System:
  Host: gpsman Kernel: 5.7.0-rc5-686 i686 bits: 32 Desktop: Xfce 4.14.2
  Distro: Debian GNU/Linux bullseye/sid
Machine:
  Type: Laptop System: Gateway product: Gateway M320 and 4500 Series
  v: 53.01.01 serial: <superuser/root required>
  Mobo: Gateway model: 3520GZ v: KBC K53.28.
  serial: <superuser/root required> BIOS: Phoenix v: W320.F05
  date: 10/08/2004
Battery:
  ID-1: BAT0 charge: 9.0 Wh condition: 15.5/48.8 Wh (32%)
CPU:
  Topology: Single Core model: Intel Pentium M bits: 32 type: MCP
  L2 cache: 2048 KiB
  Speed: 1600 MHz max: 1600 MHz Core speed (MHz): 1: 1600
Graphics:
  Device-1: Intel 82852/855GM Integrated Graphics driver: i915 v: kernel
  Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.20.8 driver: intel
  unloaded: fbdev,modesetting,vesa resolution: 1280x768~60Hz
  Message: Unable to show advanced data. Required tool glxinfo missing.
Audio:
  Device-1: Intel 82801DB/DBL/DBM AC97 Audio driver: snd_intel8x0
  Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.7.0-rc5-686
Network:
  Device-1: Broadcom and subsidiaries BCM4401 100Base-T driver: b44
  Device-2: Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG [Calexico2] Network driver: ipw2200
  IF: wlp2s9 state: up mac: 00:0e:35:7e:36:c1
  IF-ID-1: eth0 state: down mac: 00:03:25:17:0b:a9
Drives:
  Local Storage: total: 55.89 GiB used: 5.05 GiB (9.0%)
  ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Hitachi model: IC25N060ATMR04-0 size: 55.89 GiB
Partition:
  ID-1: / size: 24.01 GiB used: 4.74 GiB (19.7%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
  ID-2: /home size: 28.71 GiB used: 296.8 MiB (1.0%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda2
Swap:
  ID-1: swap-1 type: partition size: 2.00 GiB used: 28.8 MiB (1.4%)
  dev: /dev/sda3
Sensors:
  Missing: Required tool sensors not installed. Check --recommends
Info:
  Processes: 118 Uptime: 21m Memory: 462.2 MiB used: 266.6 MiB (57.7%)
  Shell: bash inxi: 3.1.03
guy@gpsman:~$


Doesn't really care what kernel I use.

I won't even hide my secret info.

I won't even add my usual disclaimer. :mrgreen:
There's no drama in my sid......
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Re: Kernel panic when installing on old, 32-bit i386 system

Postby Frostsnow » 2020-07-26 22:12

Wow, this thread got busy fast. Thanks all for the help so far. I'll try and answer all of your questions below. Please let me know if I miss anything.

Deb-fan wrote:That's just really briefly eyeing over the specs for it, it's a single core proc?

Yes, the processor is single-core.

Deb-fan wrote:PS, dammit ... Notice you specifically say i386 in thread title!!! Arghhhh, dammit, now I'm going to end up looking this crap up!!! Are you sure it's restricted to that? This chip was made in 1952 or what!?!!

I must apologize, but I might be slightly mistaken here. I got into computers after 2011 and am iffy on the precise distinctions between various 32-bit x86 processors.

p.H wrote:These kernel parameters do not exist.
A "nolapic" kernel parameter exists to disable the local APIC.
"noacpi" exists as a libata module parameter (libata.noacpi=1) to disable the use of ACPI in ATA disk suspend/resume.
"noacpi" also exists as a pci kernel parameter value (pci=noacpi) to disable the use of ACPI for IRQ routing.
To completely disable the use of ACPI, the kernel parameter is "acpi=off". Warning : this has drawbacks.

From the net installer, there's a "Help" option which leads to a page which mentions that these parameters may be useful to prevent random crashes.

p.H wrote:What do you mean by "over le web" ?

There's an option to have the installer run a Web server in order to provide machines remote access to the installation logs.

Deb-fan wrote:Op's join date is like 2011 and he/they have 3 posts? Ah forget it. If they ever respond would be nice to hear which proc is even involved for certain.

Ye of little faith ;)!

I'm going to be working on answers to the following items for now:
1) Is the 32-bit processor i386 or something older? I'm not entirely sure how to furnish this information. I know about 'uname -a' and 'cat /proc/cpuinfo'. Is that enough information? I did take a quick glance at it last night and noticed that it did *not* have SSE2.
2) How much RAM does the system have? I think it actually has over a gig, probably because someone added it.
3) Try Debian Jessie
4) Look at AntiX

I'll be working on this for the next couple of hours or so.
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