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Installing Debian on P5QL motherboard

Debian Etch currently does not (and presumably never will) install on an ASUS P5QL Pro motherboard, and presumably related boards. I have succeeded in getting an AMD64 install in the following way (warning; kludge to follow):

  1. Spend ages tweaking an AMD64 chroot install on a partition using your existing AMD64 machine. I did this since I didn't yet have the board and wanted something to do.
  2. Fail to boot the system using this.
  3. Turn on AHCI disk access in the BIOS.
  4. Obtain an Ubuntu 7.04 i386 Alternative DVD (apparently the graphical one broke with my card).
  5. dpkg --force-architecture --install the deb for the latest (2.6.27-5 at time or writing) AMD64 kernel
  6. Use grub to boot your chroot with the initrd and kernel above, with init=/bin/sh as a boot option.
  7. From the prompt, chroot into your new system, and install the kernel packages (actually, if you weren't as stupid as me, you might have done this first).
  8. Boot properly into this new system, copy the config-whatever file to the source for the newest kernel from, and make-kpkg, install the deb, etc. (the Ubuntu one needed a mewer libc6 than in Lenny)

Of course, most of this wasn't required in hindsight. Key points, though:

  • You need 2.6.27 (maybe 26) for the atl1e driver for your network card. My suggestion is to use a chroot system like I did, but do it properly first time. Note that the driver supplied on-CD compiled fine under Ubuntu, so if you can get your system installed by other means, you may be OK.
  • You need to set AHCI disk access in the BIOS, or nothing works (more specifically, generic.all_generic_ide was the only way to get things recognised, and I got random hangs while transferring data; I may have needed irqpoll, too...).

Sound card is hda-intel and works fine, contrary to linux-tested's opinion. They admittedly were probably using older kernels and different distributions.

PATA support is pretty dodgy; my CDROM drive seems to think it's got no media in often when I mount it (but I've successfully mounted it a few times under Ubuntu at least, to install packages); ejecting works fine. Eventually gave up and just bought a SATA CDROM, ridding myself of IDE forever.

Following the advice from Alf Høgemark and using modprobe w83627ehf force_id=0x8860 resulted in working sensors.

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If you only need 2.6.26, the using the Debian Lenny installer (yes, it supports installing Etch) would have been far less fail.

I've heard differing views on this - the one I was using as a basis was the one suggesting using a 27-rc. It's a bit too late to try the Lenny installer now, I'm afraid (I used Etch as I'd already got it downloaded initially on netinst; then just kept using Etch for some reason. I was only using the install CDs as bootstraps anyway.)

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