An Asterisky Proposition
March 9, 2010 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Why won't Asterisk (or Linux) install on my computer?

I'm trying to install Asterisk on a computer and have hit a brick wall.

I put in an AsteriskNow CD, hit enter at the welcome screen to tell it to start installing, and a few seconds later it stops and gives me an "unable to handle kernel paging request" or a "kernel NULL pointer dereference" error.

Computer stats:
Dell Dimension
Pentium 4, 1.8 Ghz
1 gig RAM
Two 40g hard drives
CDR and DVD drives
Windows XP installed

This seems well within the specification for the software.

I've tried noprobe and the other options suggested on the loading pages with no luck (although they cause slightly different error messages).

I have confirmed the md5 checksum on the AsteriskNow ISO and disc is right (and re-burned the discs several times at low speeds just to be sure).

I get the same error trying to install Trixbox and PBX in a Flash (two alternatives to AsteriskNOW) as well as simply installing CentOS Linux itself. A Knoppix live CD runs fine. I haven't tried installing any other distros.

I've tested both CD drives and they seem to work fine.

Checkdisk in XP isn't showing any errors on the drives.

Here's a photo of the error.

What should I try next?
posted by Vectorcon Systems to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Kernel panic huh? Bummer. I recommend hardware diagnostics (esp. RAM) at this point.

Also if Knoppix works, you can always look for an Asterisk HOWTO for Knoppix users, or you can see if you can still find "Knopsterisk," which is a version of Knoppix devoted to Asterisk.
posted by circular at 11:24 AM on March 9, 2010

I've had problems with Linux on certain Dell machines before. You might see if they've released a BIOS update for your particular model, there's a chance it might solve something like this.
posted by Diplodocus at 11:32 AM on March 9, 2010

It's likely that the kernel on the AsteriskNow disc simply has a boot-crasher bug that is not present in the kernel on the Knoppix CD.

[looks at photo of the error]

Hmm, try working around it by booting with "noapic"?
posted by scatter gather at 11:46 AM on March 9, 2010

The fact that CentOS is failing is worrisome. From my own experimentation with Asterisk last year, that should be stable.
Check out another distro, preferably a popular one. If that's crashing, there's no question it's something in your hardware. Most likely it is anyways.
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:00 PM on March 9, 2010

Quickest thing to do: if you have 2 sticks of RAM, take one out, boot. If you get an error, try the other stick.
posted by exhilaration at 2:34 PM on March 9, 2010

I have a laptop i can't install linux on because it runs too hot. I basically underclock it by running it in battery preservation mode to keep windows going but if I don't it overheats and shuts down.

When I try and install linux it overheats during the install and shuts down or the install program itself refuses to run because it detects the system overheating.

Also you don't mention your other hardware particularly your network hardware.
posted by srboisvert at 2:56 PM on March 9, 2010

Did you try to diasable ACPI at bootup? acpi=off as a command line argument should do it. Here are some more things to try (noapic looks interesting, too).
posted by mmkhd at 3:43 PM on March 9, 2010

I have had to boot Dell machines with pci=nomsi to get to them to work, though I would start with 'pci=noacpi noapic' based on your picture.

You said you got slightly different error messages when you changed some things, so seeing those might be useful (though you don't have to take pictures -- usually copying what 'EIP is at' is enough). Also, posting/googling the model number of the Dell machine may help.
posted by paulus andronicus at 5:21 PM on March 9, 2010

Dell machines have weird proprietary BIOSes that often do Bad Things that don't matter to Windows. There almost certainly will be some combination of kernel options that gets you by.
posted by flabdablet at 12:19 AM on March 10, 2010

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