How should Pentium M users install Precise?

Asked by Erick Brunzell on 2012-02-08

I'd previously asked, "Will non-pae kernel be available in Precise?", and the answer was not definitive enough.

https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/187093

I think this is more appropriate and more exact. As far as I can tell upgrades from Oneiric will still be 'non-pae' but it seems that those who need 'non-pae' are out of luck when it comes to a fresh install.

Is this correct? Is this intended?

I can see that only the pae kernel is available on the live image and I need to know what to tell folks at the forums.

Nathan Heafner (nathan1465-5) said : #1

"The Ubuntu Technical Board weighed the pros and cons of non-PAE support and came to a decision. The board has decided they will support the non-PAE kernel option until the Ubuntu 12.10 release, so there will still be support in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The default i386 kernel in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS will become the PAE-enabled kernel, but the non-PAE flavor will be available. "

does this help?
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTAyNzM

Erick Brunzell (lbsolost) said : #4

Thanks Nathan, that bug 897786 link answers my question. Specifically comment #9. Many thanks.

BubbaJ (azstuenthome) said : #5

Erick, I'm one of those Pentium M - IBM Thinkpad T42 users you are referring to. I've tried downloading and building a live USB of the 12.04 daily build. The image doesn't boot for me because of the lack of PAE support on my cpu. I've read all of the Tech Board minutes on the topic. I've read and participated in many of the posts on Ubuntu Forums on the topic (http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=11670395&postcount=74). So far, I'm still as confused as when I started.

The tech board minutes from the December meeting state that non-PAE support will continue to 12.10. But there is no clear communication on how to go about installing 12.04 on a non-PAE system. I guess I'm just missing something. What does "support" mean? I interpreted it as there will be an image that will be available to install with a non-PAE kernel. Does "support" mean that you have to build your own image using a mini.iso netboot, or does "support" mean use some other tools to integrate a non-PAE kernel into a PAE iso?

Obviously from the many posts on the subject, I'm not the only one that is confused. Just think about how many people are out there that don't take the time to post issues or concerns on forums that are also confused.

Erick Brunzell (lbsolost) said : #6

@ BubbaJ,

Here's what I know ...... errm, more accurately "what I think I know" ....... so far:

(1) Upgrades from Oneiric w/non-pae to Precise remain non-pae, so those performing upgrades should be OK.

(2) Using the non-pae mini.iso should work:

http://www.us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/installer-i386/current/images/netboot/non-pae/

Now, I'd think both of those procedures will be problematic for those without fairly fast ethernet. Additionally I need to do some testing on my own with the mini.iso, for example I'm unsure about the need for "--no-install-recommends" when installing the various desktop environments.

(3) I'm currently waiting for a definitive answer from the Lubuntu devs as to whether or not they'll rebuild their iso's with the non-pae kernel. It would seem somewhat sensible for Lubuntu and Xubuntu to do so since their target audience is older, less powerful hardware.

So ultimately I need some time to get some additional answers, and to perform some testing. I will be responding to both of these forum threads as I learn more:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1919647

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1870442

Please be patient, my target date for having a definitive answer is March 1st (the proposed release date for Precise Beta 1).

BubbaJ (azstuenthome) said : #7

I guess my interpretation of support for non-PAE in Ubuntu 12.04 did not don't consider having to move from Ubuntu 11.10 to Lubuntu 12.04. The Thinkpad T42 that I have Ubuntu 11.04 currently installed works perfectly well as our primary family computer. My not so tech savvy family would not like it very much if I install Lubuntu with completely different applications, interface, etc. Changing the wallpaper can cause confusion, I can't image changing the entire look and feel of the OS to Lubuntu.

I've always heard that the cleanest way to move from one Ubuntu version to the next is to do a fresh install. That's what I've done from 10.10 to 11.04 to 11.10. Since 12.04 will be the last OS I install on the Thinkpad before it is retired, I'd prefer a straight forward approach of a non-PAE version of the 12.04 CD image to install. Just my thoughts.

Erick Brunzell (lbsolost) said : #8

Please see my forum thread:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=11661116&postcount=1

No need to get involved in the conversation there unless you desire to do so, but note that I said:

You'll notice that I specifically highlighted "Switch precise over to PAE kernel by default on i386; we retain the option to revert if it causes too much fallout", therefore it is going to be extremely imperative that those with effected hardware file new bug reports!

I've also learned that Lubuntu has no intention of rebuilding with the non-pae kernel:

https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/lubuntu-users/2012-February/000367.html

I probably won't bother looking into Xubuntu because my time is just too limited. I will continue to test the non-pae mini.iso (which currently fails to find a kernel module) and the upgrade path.

I've already stated my personal opinion here:

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/897786/comments/16

"Given the need for "fast" ethernet combined with other complications the statement that non-pae will be supported throughout the Precise life cycle may need to be amended to "if you're willing to jump through a lot of hoops you'll still be able to install on hardware that does NOT support pae."

Since you'll likely not be able to file a bug using ubuntu-bug from the failed installation I'd recommend copy-n-pasting this link into the browser address bar using the effected hardware:

    http://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+filebug?no-redirect

Note: I'm just using the package name "linux" and I think that's correct, but I could be wrong!

I generally find it much easier to communicate at the forums due to personal visual problems :^)

BubbaJ (azstuenthome) said : #9

OK, per your suggestion, I created a bug report (#930447). This is the first time I've ever created a bug report, so I hope it is correct.

Erick Brunzell (lbsolost) said : #10

I subscribed to that bug. I think you did fine.

Have you tried opening a terminal and running:

apport-collect 930447

I'm in hopes that will collect your hardware info and add it to the bug report.

I'll add some comments to that report.

Bhaskar Roy (roypbc) said : #11

Hi Eric,

How can I collect info, as I would also like to report the same. I have a few EPIA-800, EPIA M-1500 boards, earlier I had jaunty and hardy installed on these boxes. For last few months I didn't use them and when tried to upgrade the day before first, then tried do-release-upgrade both failed.

So I d/l the daily i386 12.04 build today to do a fresh install, but they fail with the following:

This Kernel requires the following features not present on the CPU: PAE CX8 and CMOV.

on oe of the boxes I'm already putting in sqeeze as I needed something quick.

Thanks
-B

Erick Brunzell (lbsolost) said : #12

@ Bhaskar Roy,

In order to correctly answer your question I need to know if you're running Ubuntu server or an Ubuntu DE (including derivatives like Xubuntu, Kubuntu, etc). Basically distribution upgrades from Jaunty would be difficult or nearly impossible at this point, and even dist-upgrading Hardy could be difficult unless it's a server edition ......... and I know nothing about setting up a server.

Regardless you mention installing Squeeze so I'd think the best comparable Ubuntu right now would be Lucid which just had a point release:

https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-announce/2012-February/000155.html

That should still install on non-pae systems just fine, and I'll be testing the upgrade path to Precise to be sure a non-pae install remains non-pae, but Precise is not stable enough ATM to use out-of-box.

I have no idea what the "CX8" and "CMOV" means, sorry.

#12 > I have no idea what the "CX8" and "CMOV" means, sorry.

http://blog.incase.de/index.php/cpu-feature-flags-and-their-meanings/ has some brief explanations, which were adapted from http://boincfaq.mundayweb.com/index.php?language=1&view=176:

CX8: CMPXCHG8B Instruction. Compare and exchange 8 bytes. Also known as f00f (pronounced "foof"), an abbreviation of f0 0f c7 c8, is the hexadecimal encoding of an instruction that exhibits a design flaw in the majority of Intel Pentium, Pentium MMX, and Pentium OverDrive processors.

CMOV: Conditional Move/Compare Instruction

Shahar Or (mightyiam) said : #14

A friend of mine has an IBM Thinkpad T42 and I was quite surprised to find out that it can't run quantal because there's no non-pae kernel.