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Our experts answer your technical questions.

I have tried unsuccessfully to install Linux 6.1. Here's what happens:

I put in the CD and the boot disk. The Linux program decompresses all the “running/sbin/loader”. Then it waits a few minutes and says:

"install exited abnormally -- received signal 7"
sending termination signals.

I have asked everyone I know what “signal 7” means, but to no avail.

—Michael C. Fields,

Signal 7 is “bus error”, as reported by /usr/include/asm/signal.h (included by /usr/include/signal.h, the first place to look). This is most likely a hardware problem on your box, similar to the “signal 11” (segmentation fault) problem. Please refer to the sig11 FAQ at —Alessandro Rubini,

You fail to mention which distribution you are trying to install, but luckily, my crystal ball is telling me that it would be Red Hat, or a derivative thereof. Signal 7 is SIGBUS, which means that there are some hardware/driver issues. I'd try a newer version of Red Hat or a different distribution in case a different kernel helps on your machine. —Marc Merlin,

parport (Parallel Port)

I have been asked by my company to write some code to write to and read from a special printer. As an example, if I shove the string “^[I” out the parallel port, I should be able to read back in “TP96”. However, I am as new as they come. I have been looking at all the parport documentation, but I don't understand. Is parport already part of the kernel? Do I #include parport in my own program? How do I put all the pieces together to get this one seemingly simple task accomplished?

—Michael J. Conroy,

Two web sites may help you. The first contains general parallel port programming information: The second contains information on I/O port programming under Linux: —Chad Robinson,

If you want to know more about parport, take a look at the file Documentation/parport.txt in the kernel sources hierarchy. For your personal use, you should use low-level inb/outb functions (try man outb). There is an excellent (of course :-)) article by Alessandro Rubini in LJ #47 about using parallel port. —Pierre Ficheux,

Yes, it's a compile time option.

moremagic:~# cat /proc/parport/0/hardware
base:   0x378
irq:    none
dma:    none
moremagic:~# cat /proc/parport/0/autoprobe
MODEL:Unknown device;
MANUFACTURER:Unknown vendor;

I've never done parallel port programming, but you can write to /dev/lp0 (or lp1, lp2...) and you may be able to read back from it. One thing you can do for more information is look at the source code from lpd. —Marc Merlin,


Can Linux be installed on an Athlon platform? —Mark MacWilliam,

Because the Athlon processor has the same instruction set (with enhancements) as the x86 processor series, Linux should run on it without problems. —Chad Robinson,

Yes. The 2.2.14 kernel (or better) recognizes the Athlon, and 2.3.x (soon to be 2.4) has optimized support for the Athlon. —Marc Merlin,

I am typing this reply using my brand-new 700MHz Athlon system (running Linux, of course!). So not only can Linux be installed on an Athlon, I can add that it runs like a dream. —Scott Maxwell,

Trying to Install OpenLinux

I am having problems installing Caldera OpenLinux 2.3 on a PC Pentium III 450, with a SIS 620 video card and operating under Windows 98. I succeeded in making the partition on the disk for where to install OpenLinux, but when trying to install it, first it appears on the screen where the recognition of the hardware of the machine is made, and then the screen becomes frozen after showing vertical gray lines. I don't know what the problem could be. Would you help me?

—Susana Diaz,

The SiS 620 chipset is supported by the SVGA server, but for whatever reason, it will not run in 16-color VGA mode (which is what OpenLinux's graphic installer uses). What you'll need to do is use the character-mode installation, then run either lizardx, XF86Setup or xf86config after the installation is done to configure the X Window System. The disk images for the character-mode installation are found in the /col/launch/lisa/floppy directory. Use RAWRITE (in DOS/Windows) or dd (in UNIX/Linux) to transfer the install.144 image to a formatted 1.44MB diskette. Use the new diskette to launch the installation. —Erik Ratcliffe,

Many on-line help resources are available on the SSC web pages. Sunsite mirror sites, FAQs and HOWTOs can all be found at



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Re: hangup after running sbin/loader in 6.2 install

Anonymous's picture

I'm trying to get RedHat 6.2 running on an old Pentium 1. The frustrating thing is that I did get it running (with an improperly configured X) and then in my stupidity, I tried to reinstall it to fix X. (I didn't know about XConfig86). Now the install won't work. I think I have some sort of partition/formatting problem with my hard disk. Any suggestions?