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Date:      Thu, 15 Aug 2002 23:48:06 +0200
From:      "Daniel Eriksson" <>
To:        <freebsd-stable@FreeBSD.ORG>
Cc:        "'Jim Frost'" <>
Subject:   RE: FreeBSD 4.6 rl0 and xl0 watchdog timeout problems (and solution)
Message-ID:  <!~!>
In-Reply-To: <>

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[Sent to both Jim and the mailing list.]


Not that it in any way helps you, but FreeBSD is not the only OS
sensitive to IRQ sharing. Even Windows has its problems, like trying to
get a Soundblaster Live! card to share IRQ with the USB controller.
Depending on the motherboard and driver version it will either BSOD on
you or just lock up without even a blue screen.

As to your complaint about having to manually select every package: I
see this as a conservative design decision. There are a bunch of
packages that will install applications or scripts that weakens the
security of your box, so by not defaulting to install everything (even
making it difficult to select everything) like some Linux distros do,
you automatically get a safer, more secure system.

While I agree that the installer could be cuter and fluffier, I see
nothing in it that really ticks me off. It's easy to use, gets the work
done and I've seen Unix newbies go through it without any real problems.
I cannot comment on the X install, because I usually only install the
basics during the initial installation. I install X and most other
applications from ports as soon as I've done a full cvsup (to ensure I
get the latest version).

Good luck with your new server!


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-stable@FreeBSD.ORG 
> [mailto:owner-freebsd-stable@FreeBSD.ORG] On Behalf Of Jim Frost
> Sent: den 11 augusti 2002 23:45
> To: freebsd-stable@FreeBSD.ORG
> Subject: FreeBSD 4.6 rl0 and xl0 watchdog timeout problems 
> (and solution)
> I'm posting this mostly so that someone who runs into the same problem
> can perhaps find the message.
> Short version: Try a different slot.  For some reason BSD doesn't see
> interrupts in slots that share PCI interrupts.
> Long version:
> I recently bought a new PC to use as a server to replace an 
> aging Cobalt
> Qube2.  The Qube was a great little box ... or it was until the last
> security update which broke something in the kernel such that the box
> hangs regularly.  Sun's "support", even their paid "support", has a
> couple of workarounds that reduce the frequency but they are 
> clearly not
> interested in fixing it, and the whole reason I bought the box was so
> that I could manage it with point-and-click; I don't really feel like
> tracking down sources and building my own kernels anymore.
> Anyway, one of the reasons for using the Qube2 is that it's 
> not Windows
> and it's not Intel so almost nobody's attack scripts will work even if
> the machine has a hole I haven't patched yet on a service that the
> firewall and machine configuration exposes.
> Not wanting to spend the money on a newer Cobalt box given the crappy
> support I got with the one I have, I decided to give in and 
> run an Intel
> box again.  No way was I going to run Windows on an exposed 
> box, and I'd
> prefer not to run Red Hat (as I do on my laptop) because it's 
> the first
> target of the script kiddies.  BSD seemed like a good solution and one
> which I'm fairly familiar with from days past.  Besides, my pro-BSD
> buddies raved about how fast and stable it is.
> So I bought some fairly generic PC from a local supplier: an MSI board
> of some sort with a hunk o' RAM and disk, a 1.6GHz P4, and a DLink
> DFE-530TX+ ethercard.  Nothing special these days, but not 
> junk either,
> and way more capability than I really need on my home server 
> (hey, that
> Qube2 was working just fine until Sun broke it).  The local PC company
> couldn't guarantee the system would run FreeBSD but they burned it in
> with WinXP so at least I knew the parts worked, and the net tells me
> that all this stuff should work on BSD.  Besides, at this point the
> UNIXen have pretty much got the PC hardware figured out, right?
> I ordered up a FreeBSD 4.6 subscription from bsdmall and got to
> installing it.  First impression: That installer sucks ass.  I mean,
> sucks like the stuff we used to get from Sun in the 3.x days.  Sucks
> worse than SysVR3 did.  Sucks sucks sucks.  Never mind that the X11
> configuration hung and I had to give up on that and rerun the install
> and skip it (Red Hat has got that /nailed/ at this point), the thing
> that really pisses me off is that I just wanted it to install 
> everything
> on the disk.  What the hell, the disk space is cheap and I am not sure
> what I'm going to want.  So far as I can tell there's no way 
> to do that,
> so I had to check off like a thousand packages one at a time.  That
> SUCKS.  Primitive, irritating, and gawdawful easy to fix.  Wassup with
> that?
> Not an auspicious start, but I still managed to get the whole install
> done in about half the time of any Windows product I've 
> installed in the
> last seven or eight years, so it's not /that/ big a deal.  It 
> just looks
> way lame relative to any Linux release we've seen since like 1997.
> Anyway, I fired it up and got "rl0: watchdog timeout" errors.  Shit. 
> I've seen those before from waaaay back when SunOS was my favorite
> system, and it meant that the ethernet cable fell out.  The 
> man page for
> the rl driver says that that's probably what it is.  Problem is, the
> cabling checks out: it was showing good connection lights on 
> both ends. 
> Just to be sure I pulled known-good cabling from other stuff. 
>  Still no
> go.
> I thought maybe the thing was incorrectly sensing the media; 
> I still run
> 10baseT because it's here and it works and I don't see why I should
> spend money on a new hub.  ifconfig said it autoconfigured to
> 10baseT/UTP but just to be sure I forced the config.  Same problem.
> Ok, I've used the various UNIXen enough to know that they're often
> sensitive to card firmware versions; maybe the 530TX+ has new firmware
> that screwed it up.  So I picked up a 3c905 card and threw it 
> in.  Same
> problem.
> That didn't leave much.  At this point I figured it's an interrupt
> problem of some sort and started looking at the PCI 
> configuration in the
> BIOS.  I remember something about NT et al needing something or other
> disabled to work on new motherboards and figure that maybe 
> the PC vendor
> set that up, but I don't see anything out of the ordinary.
> But while I was in there I noticed that four slots share two interrupt
> configurations: Slots 1 and 3 share one, and slots 2 and 6 share
> another.  Hmm.  The ethercard is in slot 3, one of the shared slots.
> On a hunch I move the ethercard to slot 4 and reboot.  Voila, 
> works like
> a champ.
> I'd be interested in an explanation if someone has one, and if nobody
> does then I'd be willing to help track down some details to fix it so
> some other poor schmuck doesn't waste a lot of time tracking it down.
> So far this has been way more effort than it should have been and I
> haven't even gotten to configuring the services I need.  The 
> only reason
> I didn't just dump it in favor of RH7.3 was that my discs are at work
> right now.  But, now that it's working, I'm going to proceed and hope
> for the best.
> Hell, if nothing else it boots a lot faster than Linux.
> jim frost
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