March 19, 2004 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Linux/BSD geeks, I need your help. I've got 60Gb of unused HDD space on one of my drives, and I want to install a variant of Linux/BSD on it (I need to upskill, and I want to start developing applications for X11). But I've got a problem: My drives are on an IDE RAID controller which none of the distros I've tried recognise.

That should be recognise, sorry.

I've got a Gigabyte motherboard, with an ITE8212 RAID chipset, with two 80GB drives connected to it in "JBOD" configuration. Windows recognises them as two independent hard drives. (I did it this way because I have two optical drives, and an internal zip drive which needed the two IDE channels.)

I've found drivers (both compiled and source) for the chipset for a few Linux distros (I'm leaning towards Mandrake, but I'm distribution-agnostic, so if a BSD will solve the problem, I'll use that), but I can't figure out how to incorporate them into the install procedure. It is at this point where I should mention that I don't have a floppy drive.

Short of re-arranging the internals of my system (which will be my last option), is there any way of doing this?
posted by cheaily to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Distribution aside, is there even a BSD or Linux driver for the disk controller? You don't mention what kind it is, so unfortunately I can't answer.

Oh darn, you just did!

I ask because if there is a driver out there, but it's just not being used by the installer boot kernels, it might be possible to have someone build a custom kernel to get the installer up and running, at least in the Linux case. I'd imagine BSD would let you do the same, though I wouldn't be the right person to ask how.

What distributions did you try? Knoppix autodetects damn near everything, and I've heard (though I can't verify -- RPM distributions give me hives) the Mandrake installer is pretty good with hardware detection, too.

Just about every good Linux distro installer should let you load additional modules during the setup process, which is exactly what you want to do here. Stick the .o file for the module on media that you can mount during install, and as the installer comes up, it should either prompt you for additional modules or allow you to pop over to a shell where you can insmod the driver.
posted by majick at 5:22 PM on March 19, 2004

majick outlined the basic solution for you, but this particular driver does not appear to be distributed along with the Linux kernel. After a bit of googling, I tracked down some drivers here, precompiled for Mandrake 9.0 or Red Hat 7.3.

If you want to use the driver on other distributions, you would probably need to track down some source code and compile it yourself. Haven't found a link to source yet, although I saw some references to it...
posted by Galvatron at 8:09 PM on March 19, 2004

majick and galvatron: thanks for you help guys! I finally found a HOWTO, now all I need to find is a spare floppy drive (or a way of getting the mandrake installer to recognise my dvd-rom drive and mounting it, copying the drivers from there.)

posted by cheaily at 8:24 PM on March 19, 2004

Sorry, somehow I skipped your third paragraph. I see you already figured this part out.
posted by Galvatron at 8:27 PM on March 19, 2004

A USB flash drive could work well, if you've got one.
posted by Galvatron at 8:29 PM on March 19, 2004

As would that zip drive; put the driver on there, flip over to the shell during install and mount it, do your insmod, and that ought to get you started. Don't drive yourself nuts looking for a floppy drive -- those things are good for flashing BIOSes and that's about it.
posted by majick at 9:36 PM on March 19, 2004

majck: any idea what my zip drive would show up as under /dev ? a cursory search on google doesn't bring much up.
posted by cheaily at 1:08 AM on March 20, 2004

The zip drive would be one of the following, depending on where on the IDE chain you put it, in Linux:


From there you select the partition you want (usually 3, IIRC, for zip disks). ie: /dev/hda3

It could also be a SCSI device. In that case:


HTH! And, yes, Linux rarely supports hardware raid (although there are exceptions). The fact is that for all but mirrored RAID, software solutions are generally faster.
posted by shepd at 5:05 AM on March 20, 2004

/dev/hda = Primary channel, master device
/dev/hdb = Primary slave
/dev/hdc = Secondary master
/dev/hdd = Secondary slave

...and so on. The number afterward is the partition.

So if the zip drive is secondary slave, it would be /dev/hdd3

If it's a SCSI drive, it's a whole different story, but you've indicated it isn't.
posted by majick at 5:34 AM on March 20, 2004

The output of 'dmesg' provides a log that may be useful for figuring out how the various devices are being detected and registered.
posted by Galvatron at 6:35 AM on March 20, 2004

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