Purpose: I have been a fan of Debian Linux operating system since last 3 years. The purpose of this post is to continuously list issues that I was able to resolve either by asking the Open Source community or by researching on the Internet or just by playing around with the problem. I hope that this post will help many people to solve similar/same issues and thus will save their valuable time.

Issue #1 – Splashy not working; Splashy Error Messages during boot
Date: 02/25/2008

Package: Splashy (Version 0.3.8-1)

OS version: Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (codename etch)

Kernel: 2.6.24 (Debian Source)

Error Messages:
Splashy Error: Connection refused
Splashy ERROR: Couldn’t splashy_start_splashy(). Error -2
Splashy ERROR: Couldn’t splashy_start_splashy(). Error -3
Splashy ERROR: Couldn’t splashy_start_splashy(). Error -7
Cannot create /dev/fb0 or No such device

Also see this posting in which I posted my query to the splashy mailing list.

Rename /etc/rcS.d/S03udev to /etc/rcS.d/S03audev.

Command to be given:
debian# mv /etc/rcS.d/S03udev /etc/rcS.d/S03audev
You can test whether splashy is working properly or not by giving the following command:
debian# splashy test
The above solution was suggested by Mike Kelland who happens to be on the same splashy mailing list as I am.

Also some of you might be wondering how to install splashy on Debian stable (Etch) since Splashy is only available in Lenny and Sid repository as of this writing. Please see my post on how to install splashy on Debian Stable.

Ok, you must be wondering why this issue occurs in the first place, right? Why don’t the developers fix this issue?

Here is mystery:
The way splashy is supposed to work is that it should start from initramfs (which superseded initrd) in the 2.6 kernel series. What is the difference between initrd and initramfs? I think that deserves a separate post/entry (may be for some later time, eh?). Any how, if you use initramfs to boot your kernel then you should not get any error messages. Debian system by default likes to use am initramfs during boot, but many people do not prefer to use an initramfs during the boot and thus built all the support for IDE controller and File systems into the Kernel itself (instead of modules), just like the way I like it. This is how you make your boot process free from using initramfs.

So in short if you don’t see an “initrd” entry into your /boot/grub/menu.lst, for example:
title Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.18-4-686
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-4-686 root=/dev/hda1 ro

instead of
title Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.18-4-686
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-4-686 root=/dev/hda1 ro
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.18-4-686

it means that you are not using initramfs and you should follow the tip mentioned in the resolution section above.

Note: It is important to know that while the menu.lst file still says “initrd”, it actually means “initramfs”. For some reasons it is still being called by this name even when they switched to newer much improved “initramfs” in 2.6 Kernel. This thing kept me confused for a long time until someone just mentioned in one of my query.

In conclusion, if you don’t use initramfs/initrd during your boot process, then udev and splashy interferes with each other and you have to make sure that splashy is being called after udev script in the /etc/rcS.d directory. The only disadvantage is that you might end up seeing some text messages before splashy actually loads itself.

Also, I had a discussion with one of the splashy developer/maintainer regarding this issue which might give you further insight.

Issue #2 – Ethernet card does no get IP address

Coming soon…

Update: Here is the link.

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