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Our experts answer your technical questions.
Configuring PPP

When I installed PPP for Internet connection, I changed some properties by using the linuxconf command in Linux configuration. Now whenever I start Linux, it gives me an error like:

starting system
loggers:ypbind[187]:clnt_create for server fasiled starting
NFS Services:rpc.mountd rpc.nfsd YPBINDPROC_DOMAIN: Domain not bound.

Please help me to solve this problem. —Kalpesh Vakharia,

You haven't hurt your PPP configuration; you've just activated a tool (Yellow Pages or yp) that you haven't fully configured. The error is harmless, but you can remove it by commenting out any entries that point to yp in your boot scripts. —Chad Robinson,

Your message shows that you enabled yellow pages, but that you have no server to talk to. Run chkconfig --del ypbind and you should be fine. —Marc Merlin,

Crash After Booting

My system just crashed and left me with the following message:

checking root filesystems parallelizing fsck version 1.04 (16 may 96)
[/sbin/fsck.ext2] fsck.ext2 -a /dev/sda1 /dev/sda1 contains a file
system with errors check forced Block 4294967295 of inode 131128 >
Blocks (1208304) /dev/sda1: UNEXPECTED INCONSISTENCY; Run fsck manually
an error occurred during the file system check. Dropping you to a shell;
the system will reboot when you leave the shell (repair filesystem) #

The system is completely stalled at the moment. What should I do from here? Another person was using the computer when it crashed. What did they do to get it in such a situation? —Nathan Cutter,

Like most modern operating systems, Linux uses write caching. Turning the computer off (it's hard to get it to crash without an actual hardware problem) without properly shutting it down can cause data errors on your hard drive. To solve this problem, you should do exactly what it says: run fsck manually on your hard drive. You should do this from a boot disk. The boot disks that you used to install Linux are usually fine for this purpose. Simply run fsck /dev/sda1 (the partition that is showing the errors). The program will prompt you to fix each error in exactly the same way that—Chad Robinson,

No, it is not stalled, it just isn't yet booted. You must run fsck by hand (e2fsck /dev/sda1) and reply to questions. Most likely, you'll just answer yes to any questions, so you might even add the -y switch to e2fsck, although this is considered unsafe. When you are done, exit from the shell (exit) and the system will reboot. Since not every file system repair can be performed automatically in a fail-safe way, human intervention can be required when bad errors are detected. I can't tell what caused the problem, but I dare say the most likely reason is some hardware failure (the disk itself or a RAM chip), as fsck found an all-one word (0xffffffff, or 4294967295) where real data was expected. —Alessandro Rubini,

Kernel Won't Upgrade

I am trying to upgrade the kernel from 2.2.7 to 2.2.12. I have downloaded the kernel and it compiles fine. I installed the zImage and files where required. However, when I try to boot up again, the kernel version is still 2.2.7. Subsequently, the system tries to load the 2.2.7 modules and not the 2.2.12 modules I require. —Michael Hoegen,

Copying the image files to the correct disk locations isn't enough. In fact, your system may stop booting shortly. You need to tell your boot loader that you've done this. Linux isn't running yet when your system needs to find that file, so to work around that problem, your boot loader records its physical disk location, and copying one file over another always changes this location. If you are using LILO as your boot loader, you can simply type lilo at your shell prompt (as root) to force it to see this file. If you are using another boot loader, consult that program's documentation. —Chad Robinson,

I don't think you reran /sbin/lilo after copying the kernel, and most likely you didn't even copy the kernel to the right place. If you truly overwrote the kernel and only forgot to run lilo, your system will stop booting very soon (I won't dig into the technical details here; please check LILO documentation and my article about booting in the June 1997 LJ). When upgrading the kernel on a working box, you should always keep a copy of the previous (working) kernel, to recover the computer in case the new kernel image doesn't work for you. To do that, you should add another “image=” stanza to /etc/lilo.conf and rerun lilo. If your lilo.conf is not well-commented, you'll need to refer to proper documentation (such as man lilo.conf). —Alessandro Rubini,