Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

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Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:55 am

What would be the best way to prep a Linux system for switching hardware?

Right now my system is:
Gigabyte GeForce 6100/405 mobo, GeForce 6200LE vid-card, X2-3800 proc., 4GB DDR2-800 memory, 160GB SATA HDD

I am switching over to:
Gigabyte 780G mobo, HD3650 vid-card, X2-4450e proc., all else remains the same.

Thanks.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:08 am

The only thing you should have to worry about is the video card. Are you using your distribution's video drivers, or did you download them directly from Nvidia? When you shut down the computer for the last time, uninstall the video drivers. When you move your stuff to the new one, it'll probably come up in VESA video if it comes up at all in X. At this point you'll need to install the ATI drivers. Reboot and with any luck everything will be working OK.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:14 am

May also be a problem with the initrd not loading the drivers to see the hard drive and get access to the root partition, it depends on the distro and whether they put everything in the initrd or just the stuff that's needed. The old system will be running sata_nv as the module to access the hard drive, not sure what a 780G uses. You may need to rebuild your initrd and force it to include the appropriate SATA drivers for the new board before shutting down on the old board.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:26 am

bthylafh wrote:The only thing you should have to worry about is the video card. Are you using your distribution's video drivers, or did you download them directly from Nvidia? When you shut down the computer for the last time, uninstall the video drivers. When you move your stuff to the new one, it'll probably come up in VESA video if it comes up at all in X. At this point you'll need to install the ATI drivers. Reboot and with any luck everything will be working OK.


I am using the binary nvidia drivers. I suspect that when I tell the system to stop using the drivers, it should be removed from the xorg file?

Then I have to check what it's using for the sata driver. According to notfred's post, I will have to go through the initrd file and replace what may be broken the next time I start up?

I am using Ubuntu 8.04. I installed nothing myself in terms of drivers. I actually let synaptic do everything for me. The only thing I setup myself to-date is the VirtualBox.

I guess I should do a little googling to find out what the 780g chipset would us as a sata driver.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:25 am

As you are using Ubuntu 8.04 you should be OK on the initrd, the Ubuntu initrd contains all the drivers. It's just some other distros that don't (Debian and RHEL are the ones that I have run in to).
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:44 am

notfred wrote:As you are using Ubuntu 8.04 you should be OK on the initrd, the Ubuntu initrd contains all the drivers. It's just some other distros that don't (Debian and RHEL are the ones that I have run in to).

Debian also uses initramfs-tools by default, so it should have the same behavior as Ubuntu. It's only if you replace initramfs-tools with yaird when it does the "necessary/detected hardware only" style initrd. Red Hat systems are the only ones I've used that do that kind of initrd by default.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:04 pm

You might also find that the network adaptor names get messed up... eg if you only had one network card on the old mobo and one on the new mobo then after the move your network adaptor changes from eth0 to eth1 (which might give you trouble if /etc/network/interfaces doesn't have a setup for eth1)

Dunno if Ubuntu will do that but debian etch will.

anyhow it pretty easy to fix if it does happen.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:48 pm

cheesyking wrote:You might also find that the network adaptor names get messed up... eg if you only had one network card on the old mobo and one on the new mobo then after the move your network adaptor changes from eth0 to eth1 (which might give you trouble if /etc/network/interfaces doesn't have a setup for eth1)

Dunno if Ubuntu will do that but debian etch will.

anyhow it pretty easy to fix if it does happen.


That's persistent device naming. I do not believe Ubuntu does that. Gentoo drove me nuts with it, but I can disable it.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:06 pm

Forge wrote:That's persistent device naming. I do not believe Ubuntu does that. Gentoo drove me nuts with it, but I can disable it.

It does. It used to use /etc/iftab in older Ubuntu versions, but now it uses Debian's udev-based persistent naming for network devices.

You'll see entries like this in /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules:
SUBSYSTEM=="net", DRIVERS=="?*", ATTRS{address}=="00:30:48:92:9f:68", NAME="eth0"

(On an older set of Debian udev rules it'd be z25_persistent-net.rules).
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:34 pm

bitvector wrote:Debian also uses initramfs-tools by default, so it should have the same behavior as Ubuntu. It's only if you replace initramfs-tools with yaird when it does the "necessary/detected hardware only" style initrd.
Not sure how I ended up with my Debian system using yaird rather than initramfs-tools, I suspect I installed some package or other that pulled in yaird as a dependency, or maybe they used to run yaird as a default several versions ago as this was a few years ago.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:23 pm

I decided to put the HD3650 in my windows machine since the nvidia drivers are driving me insane. If I put the 7600GS in the Linux machine to replace the 6200LE, I should not have a real issue with the xorg file should I?
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:30 pm

No, it'll work fine.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:49 pm

Then wish me "good hardware replacing". I'll be doing the vidcard in my windows machine first, then the mobo and vidcard in my Linux machine.

If all goes well, I'll be posting back here in about an hour.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:23 pm

Done!!!

It went VERY smoothly actually. very pleased!!!


:evil: now back to my dual monitor attempts :evil:
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:41 pm

Yep, my experience with changing hardware platforms with an existing Linux install has always been smoother than Windows. No idea why. I'd expect it to be the other way around.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:43 pm

Microsoft has a financial interest in making it hard for you to dupe your installation between computers, viz. stopping piracy. Linux developers don't care about that.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:27 pm

titan wrote:Yep, my experience with changing hardware platforms with an existing Linux install has always been smoother than Windows. No idea why. I'd expect it to be the other way around.

Yes, other than the already mentioned Redhat/Fedora initrd issue, hardware swaps on Linux systems have always gone very smoothly for me as well. It surprised me too, the first couple of times. It doesn't surprise me any more. :wink:

The bundled drivers on modern distros seem to be very good at dealing with most desktop (and laptop!) hardware, as long as the hardware is not too bleeding edge.
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Re: Prepping Linux system for hardware replacement?

Postposted on Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:14 pm

just brew it! wrote:
titan wrote:Yep, my experience with changing hardware platforms with an existing Linux install has always been smoother than Windows. No idea why. I'd expect it to be the other way around.

Yes, other than the already mentioned Redhat/Fedora initrd issue, hardware swaps on Linux systems have always gone very smoothly for me as well. It surprised me too, the first couple of times. It doesn't surprise me any more. :wink:

The bundled drivers on modern distros seem to be very good at dealing with most desktop (and laptop!) hardware, as long as the hardware is not too bleeding edge.


Just as supporting info to the point: My current Gentoo install on my Q9450 is the exact same installation I did on my Athlon64 way back when. It has now lived on two different generations of Athlon64 (754 and 940) later three or four generations of Opteron, then back to 939 for more A64, then over to LGA775 for some Prescott action, then back to 939, then back to Opterons, then over to Core2, then my quad, now my new quad.

At no point did it ever give me any grief. I can't begin to count the number of Windows installs I've done in the same period of time.

Somewhat tangentially, I'm really starting to believe that MS designs Windows to cause it's own bit rot. If you look over the big picture, you'll see that the things that cause an install to become flaky are things home users do, not things corporate guys do; upgrade/sidegrade hardware, install/remove large number of programs. It's not evidence, but it would make a lot of sense. MS keeps you re-imaging Windows regularly so that you eventually just get a new machine, since it's not a lot more jarring. The hardware makers win, and none of the supporting companies give a rat's crap about your data. This way *YOU* re-image and wipe before they are even asked to look at it. Also, as noted, being fragile to simple hardware swaps makes Windows resistant to simple backup/restore style piracy.
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