My hard disk started showing signs of slow and painful death, so after I backed up all my data I confirmed with smartctl that yes, it’s dying:

smartctl -t long /dev/sda smartctl -a /dev/sda

This looked like a good opportunity to try something new, at least Kubuntu instead of Ubuntu. So I went for the much celebrated Fedora 11.

The live CD

My half-broken hard disk was still in the computer when I started the Live CD and Fedora scored some plus point for showing a warning about the disk, and a very cool GUI for the smartctl self tests. Next I replaced the hard disk with two new ones, and started the Live CD again and wanted to use the fancy GUI for smartctl. I looked through the menus, the Gnome applets but couldn’t find it. Wonder where it is, it’s a shame to hide this superb tool in a dusty corner. So I did the smartctl the old way. (By now I know where it is: Applications / System Tools / Palimpsest Disk Utility.) Then I had some MAJOR problems with the disk partitioner. I have two disks of the same size and I used to have them in a software RAID1, but that’s not what I intended for this time. The installer’s partitioner oddly showed me only one disk, and with an odd name. It looked like some kind of mirroring setup, so I checked /proc/mdstat and lvs but I couldn’t find anything. For hours I didn’t know what hit me, when finally I figured out it’s dmraid.


I was very disappointed by this dmraid thing. Why does the installer try to be so damn smart and do something I don’t want without asking me? And then why is it so damn hard to turn it off? I passed nodmraid kernel param to the installer as suggested by google sensei, but no dice. Finally I managed to turn the bloody thing off with:

  1. Restore both partition tables
  2. Start the installer, and if you’re lucky it will ask you to reinitialize the partitions, go for it and exit the installer
  3. Run dmraid -an and dmraid -x, or something like that, I don’t remember exactly
  4. Just to be safe, I created my partitions in cfdisk before going back to the installer.

Finally the installer showed the disks as they really were and I could get on with the installation.

After installation

So far so good. I liked that upon first start-up the system offered to setup ntp synchronization. It’s also nice that the nfs client tools work well out of the box, in some systems I often need to tweak /etc/init.d scripts to get nfs partitions automatically mounted at boot. And I could setup my RAID1 partitions just fine in my good old-fashioned mdadm way.

blog comments powered by Disqus