Running into Trouble

Almost everyone runs into some kind of snag or hang-up when attempting to install Linux the first time. Most of the time, the problem is caused by a simple misunderstanding. Sometimes, however, it can be something more serious, such as an oversight by one of the developers or a bug.

This section will describe some of the most common installation problems and how to solve them. It also describes unexpected error messages that can pop up during installations that appear to be successful.

In general, the proper boot sequence is:

  1. After booting from the LILO prompt, the system must load the kernel image from floppy. This may take several seconds; you know things are going well if the floppy drive light is still on.

  2. While the kernel boots, SCSI devices must be probed for. If you have no SCSI devices installed, the system will “hang” for up to 15 seconds while the SCSI probe continues; this usually occurs after the line:

    lp_init: lp1 exists (0), using polling driver

    appears on your screen.

  3. After the kernel is finished booting, control is transferred to the system bootup files on the floppy. Finally, you will be presented with a login prompt, or be dropped into an installation program. If you are presented with a login prompt such as:

    Linux login:

    you should then log in (usually as root or install — this varies with each distribution). After you enter the username, the system may pause for 20 seconds or more while the installation program or shell is being loaded from ...

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