Damn Small Linux (DSL) Forums

Damn Small Linux => HD Install => Topic started by: 3guesses on July 23, 2014, 11:39:07 AM

Title: "Loading sata_vsc.o..."
Post by: 3guesses on July 23, 2014, 11:39:07 AM

I'm technically proficient but not overly experienced with Linux (for years now I have tended to install Slackware as part of a multiboot set-up on all my machines, but don't boot into it that often) and am very new to DSL.  I have set up a USB memory stick with multiple installation/live CD options using WinSetupFromUSB (which I heartily recommend) which seems to work fine for running DSL as a live CD.  However, I am having trouble installing it to the HDD on both my MSI laptop and Shuttle PC.

When I boot DSL from memory stick without any options it boots fine, but when I run "fdisk -l" in a terminal window it doesn't show the machine's HDD - on the Shuttle PC it shows nothing, and on the laptop it only shows the memory stick.

When I boot DSL from the memory stick using the "dsl sata" option, the boot process hangs very early on with the message "Loading sata_vsc.o..."

Both machines have SATA HDDs, and both are set to IDE emulation in the BIOS since I also have Windows 2000 and Windows XP installations on them (and I haven't looked into creating Windows installation CDs which incorporate the necessary SATA drivers).

Can anyone help with either the "fdisk -l" problem or the "Loading sata_vsc.o..." problem?

Thanks very much,


Title: Re: "Loading sata_vsc.o..."
Post by: 3guesses on July 24, 2014, 01:12:02 PM
OK, I have done a bit more testing.  My MSI laptop's BIOS gives the following SATA options when configuring the Southbridge:

  • Native IDE
  • RAID
  • AHCI
  • Legacy IDE
  • Other Storage

When I set it to "Legacy IDE" then "sudo fdisk -l" does show the hard drive - as /dev/hdb (the USB memory stick is /dev/sda), but it can't be found for any other setting.  Additionally, booting using "dsl sata" hangs with the "Loading sata_vsc.o..." message no mattr which setting I use - shouldn't it work for at least one of them???

So, I have 2 questions:

(1) If I use the "Legacy IDE" setting and install it to my HDD (logical partitition /dev/hdb9), will it then boot from the HDD install (a) once I remove the USB memory stick (so the HDD partition will presumably become /dev/hda9), and (b) if I change the BIOS setting to something else?

(2) I already have GRUB2 installed from Xubuntu installed on /dev/hdb6 (sda6 usually) - will the frugal install of DSL screw up the existing GRUB2 set-up?

Thanks very much,


Title: Re: "Loading sata_vsc.o..."
Post by: CNK on August 02, 2014, 03:39:17 AM
In case you're still checking this topic, here are some anwsers:

I'm not sure of the exact age of the DSL SATA drivers, but they would be from 2008 at the latest, and probably much earlier. As is the usual line with DSL, the OS is designed to run on older hardware with the trade-off being that it doesn't readilly support many new systems. Its current, lets call it intermittent, development doesn't help this at all either.

Basically, the SATA drivers probably don't play well with your more modern motherboard BIOS because they were likely designed some time before it existed.

I did once install DSL on a machine which wouldn't recognise a SATA HDD until "IDE Emulation" was turned off in the BIOS (that's to say it didn't recognise it pretending to be an IDE drive). So there are all sorts of strange things that can go on.

If you install to hdb9, it should boot from hdb9 as long as GRUB is set up with the "kernel" path in the /boot/grub/menu.lst file pointing to /dev/hdb9. In theory the installation script should do this automatically, but it's the first thing to check if booting fails.

If you change the BIOS settings to use the HDD as a SATA device, the partition address will become /dev/sd?9 and the "kernel" line in menu.lst will need to be changed for DSL to boot.

I can't remember if it's impossible, but it would take some work to get DSL to boot from GRUB2 directly. When I needed to do this in the past, I was lazy and set up the GRUB in DSL (v. 0.91) on the DSL partition, then chainloaded it from GRUB2 like one would a Windows installation.

Actually now that I think of it, I did that the other way around and chainloaded GRUB2, but that was because DSL was installed first and I wanted to keep some menu options for booting it (the menu was disabled for GRUB2 so that one isn't even aware of the multi-step process).

I remember the HDD installation script asks you if you want to install a boot loader (in your case I would anwser "no" and do it manually to hdb9). I expect the frugal one does the same.

Title: Re: "Loading sata_vsc.o..."
Post by: 3guesses on August 03, 2014, 06:54:23 PM
Thanks CNK, and yes, I am still monitoring this thread - I was just starting to give up hope of getting any response  :)

I appreciate that DSL is designed principally for running on older hardware, but at the expense of running on anything less than 6 years old?  SATA is hardly a niche technology...

What I'm looking for is a nice small, efficient Linux distribution with a GUI but without loads of bells and whistles that will therefore boot and run really quickly on fairly modern hardware.  I thought DSL would be a good candidate.  If not, could you suggest some good alternatives?



Title: Re: "Loading sata_vsc.o..."
Post by: CNK on August 03, 2014, 10:47:27 PM
I believe the problem with supporting recent hardware along with old examples from the 90s is that the modern Linux kernel has been stripped of much of the hardware support for the older systems. Additionally, its total size has grown.

The result is that in order to maintain a small size and good support for old hardware, DSL enevitably ends up getting left behind the pack as Linux marches forwards. As time goes on, fewer new developments in Linux software are able to be passed on to DSL - most apparent with the limited Firefox version.

However DSL-N was designed to counter these problems by presenting an alternative version of DSL that continued the same philisophy, but submitted to the need for newer software (particularly a newer version of the kernel, 2.6.x instead of 2.4.x). The problem is that this has seen a longer time without development than DSL, so in some ways DSL is still newer and both are still very far away from the current generation of Linux distributions.

SATA wise, DSL usually works, but the old drivers mean that you have to rely on BIOS designers playing by the same rules that they did a few years ago. I've actually never had a problem with DSL and SATA, but I usually use PCs that are a few years old anyway.

So practically speaking, I'd first start with DSL-N and see if it has the same problem (I've often found it to behave very differently in terms of hardware detection, for better or for worse). If that doesn't work, or you don't like DSL-N's older software and/or design, you can try these picks from my Live CD stack:

  • Puppy Linux - An actively developed distro for old hardware using a much newer kernel. Lots of versions and spin-offs, many of which can use mainstream package repos.
  • Puppy Linux Pulp - A little known spin-off that's also now rather dated development-wise (last I checked), but seems to have an ultra-light approach more like DSL.
  • Tiny Core - Done by Robert, who left DSL development some time ago. Uses a different approach by coming with minimal software as standard and requiring the manual addition of the particular software packages you desire
    . Uses its own package system like DSL though, so choice can be a bit limited if you don't want to compile.
  • Slitaz - I don't know too much about this one (except I used one PC for which this was the only Linux distro which would boot from CD), another low resource usage distro. Wide language support.
  • Knoppix - DSL is based on an early version of this. It runs quite light and pretty (often very) fast on PCs from the last ten years or so. It's what I install if I want a Linux that can run newer software (it can use Debian packages). Note that it's really meant just to be run from CD (though HDD installation usually goes alright).

Well there you go, hope it helps. Sorry it's such a long post.

Title: Re: "Loading sata_vsc.o..."
Post by: 3guesses on August 09, 2014, 12:14:48 PM
OK, thanks, I have tried the latest release of Puppy Linux and it didn't want to play.  I will have a go with DSL-N (although it appears to be 8 years old: dsl-n-01RC4.iso 2006-Aug-24 13:42:41) and Tiny Core and see how I get on.


Title: Re: "Loading sata_vsc.o..."
Post by: CNK on August 09, 2014, 10:02:53 PM
Thought I'd brought out my CD pile for this purpose once before, looks like I did a similar list in this post (http://damnsmalllinux.org/forums/index.php?topic=838.msg1441#msg1441).

The ones I missed this time around are Plop Linux and TinyMe Linux. Both are on the fringe of Linux distro development, but I remember Plop is meant to be built from the ground up, so it could work where a lot of others don't (or the other way around).

Anyhow, good luck and do report back your results.

Title: Re: "Loading sata_vsc.o..."
Post by: fatmac on September 30, 2014, 12:40:01 PM
Should anyone be looking for recommendations, my suggestions are :-

Slitaz (cooking) - http://www.slitaz.org/en/get/
AntiX 13.1 base - http://sourceforge.net/projects/antix-linux/files/Final/antiX-13.1/

(AntiX is my regular distro, but SliTaz intrigues me, so I keep it in reserve. :))

Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines