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SLES10SP1 installation will not reconnect to network installation source

This document (7000043) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.

Environment

Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1

Broadcom 5708 Network Adapter running the bnx2 driver

Situation

When doing an initial boot from an installation CD with the command line parameters:

install=http:///install/sles10sp1_64/CD1
autoyast=http:///install/ hostip=x.x.x.x/24 netdevice=eth0
netwait=30

or

install=http:///install/sles10sp1_64/CD1
autoyast=http:///install/ hostip=x.x.x.x/24 netdevice=eth0
netwait=30 netsetup=-dhcp

and then going through the installation screens and select the software modules etc. proceeding to the file copy. At the end of the file copy, the server reboots, and boots off the hard drive for the first time.

At the point where the server is coming up, the system tries to reestablish it's connection to the installation source, and it gives an error that the installation source could not be reached, and you get an option to Retry or Abort.

If you wait for 20-30 seconds and select "Retry" the system connects to the installation source, and everything continues the installation as if the problem hadn't occurred.

If you are trying to use Autoyast to do the installation, this causes you to have to manually intervene.

The same problem occurs in the i386 kernel as well.

The problem occurs independent of hardware platform (we saw this on HP, Dell, and Fujitsu hardware).

Resolution

The fix is two-fold in nature, patching two different issues:

1. The kernel would timeout waiting for the network driver to initialize (netwait option for linuxrc).
2. The installation source would not be found in a timely manner and timeout.

To address the first issue, a newer linuxrc file was included in the initrd to allow the netwait boot parameter to be persistent across the installation boot process. It would also write the 'netwait' value from the linuxrc command-line option to a 'ConnectionWait' parameter within the /etc/install.inf file.

To address the second issue, yast2-network was updated to read the 'ConnectionWait' parameter of the /etc/install.inf file then use that value as a wait state during network initialization.

The patches are available if you call Novell Technical Support, or if you have access to SLES10SP2, you can get the yast2-installation file, and use the following steps to create an installation disk with the fix linuxrc fix:

To patch the SP1 cd, follow these steps:

1. Download the an iso image for both SLES 10 SP1 and SP2.

2. Open the iso files with the utility of your choice to extract the initrd file.
- For the x86_64 iso, initrd is located in the ~/boot/x86_64/loader directory.
- For the i386 iso, it will be in the ~/boot/i386/loader directory.
(NOTE: I used an open source utility called isomaster to do this because it keeps the boot sector intact).

3. Unpack both initrd files (the steps are from TID 3909888) into temporary directories.

In these operating system versions, the initrd is a compressed cpio archive.

To unpack for modification:

# cp initrd /tmp
# cd /tmp
# mv initrd initrd.orig
# gzip -dc initrd.orig>initrd.img
# mkdir initrd-work
# cd initrd-work
# cpio -i < /tmp/initrd.img

The directory /tmp/initrd-work will now contain the initrd files and directories.

4. Copy the 'init' file from the SP2 initrd structure to the SP1 initrd structure.

5. Repack the SP1 initrd (again, the steps are from TID 3909888).

# cd /tmp/initrd-work
# find . | cpio -H newc -o> /tmp/newinitrd.img
# cd /tmp
# gzip -c newinitrd.img> /tmp/initrd

The file initrd can now be copied to the installation media.

6. Insert the new initrd into the SP1 iso, replacing the original one, using the utility of your choice (again, I used isomaster).


Once you have the new installation CD, you will need to create an addon repository to install the yast2-network patch during the installation (See TID 3065146)

Disclaimer

This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for NetIQ/Novell/SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7000043
  • Creation Date:11-APR-08
  • Modified Date:27-APR-12
    • SUSESUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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