Which distro for best compatibility with new hardware
I'm currently installing Linux for a server that I built myself but I consistently run into problems installing each distribution. My specs are:
Intel C2D E6750
Intel DQ35JO motherboard
4 x 1 GB Kingston DDR2-667 RAM
3 x 500 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 Hard Drives
I don't think the rest (chassis, PSU, etc) matter so I've left them out here. I intend to use the server as a web and file server so I'm configuring it with software RAID 5.
The thing is, no matter what distro I try to install, I run into some problems that render the system impossible to run.
When I tried CentOS 5, I ran into problems getting the ethernet working because evidently there are no built-in drivers for the new Intel PRO/1000 ethernet devices on my motherboard, but in order to compile the necessary drivers I had to first install the kernel source. However, I couldn't do that no matter how hard I tried, because the RPM couldn't automatically extract itself and when I did it manually to the src/linux folder I recieved an error message compiling the drivers saying I had to compile the kernel source, which I couldn't because random errors terminated the process. Using yum was out of the question because I didn't have internet access, though that was the suggested solution in almost every page I looked at. And I didn't even mention the plethora of problems I encountered during the actual install, where I had to perpetually toggle ACPI and Generic IDE drivers on and off to get it working and responsive.
Next, I tried using openSUSE 10.3, which managed to identify the ethernet device and get network access after some coaxing with acpi=off and video mode set to VESA to get the installer working. However, when I rebooted the system, GRUB hung while displaying the words "GRUB" at the top of the screen. After 10 minutes, the "GRUB" was still the only thing on the screen and nothing was running, not even the GRUB config menu. I used the Repair Boot Mode to access the system, but I couldn't access any of the filesystem from that and I had no idea how to get GRUB running again. There was also no option that I could see during the installation to allow me to install lilo, so there was no alternative.
Finally, I tried Ubuntu 6.06 LTS LiveCD, the only version of Ubuntu I could find, but that wouldn't even get past the "mounting filesystems" step, and we're not even talking about mounting the hard drives yet.
For each of these, I have tried numerous options, such as the aforementioned acpi=off, pci=nommconf, irqpoll, all-generic-ide boot options, but the most that did was to allow the kernel to start. CentOS also has the weird problem of requiring acpi=off for the installer to work but requiring acpi to be enabled for the keyboard and mouse to work once the system was installed. I have tried both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of CentOS, the 64-bit version of openSUSE, and the 32-bit version of Ubuntu. I've also tried various BIOS options such as AHCI, Legacy IDE and Native SATA without success. The only thing I can think of trying now is to use Ubuntu 7.10 x64 Server Edition instead to see if the more recent version is better.
In short, what should have been a simple Linux install became hell for me as none of the Linux distros played nice with my hardware. CentOS used the RHEL code base, so Fedora and RHEL itself probably won't work, and openSUSE uses the Novell SUSE code base while Ubuntu is based on Debian. That's every single Linux distro as good as attempted and failed.
Truth to be told, I'm almost losing faith in the ability of Linux to reliably support new-generation hardware, and as much as it pains me to say this, Windows does a better job in this aspect almost all the time. If the 7-year-old Windows XP can detect every single piece of hardware on my server, I don't see why the newest release of Linux can't. As I said, XP can detect all my hardware so everything is definitely working.
However, I am still willing to give Linux a few more shots, so I would really appreciate it if everyone can come up with a few suggestions on how I might get past my installation woes, how I can run Linux on the newest hardware, and if there are any Linux distros out there fully compatible with new setups like the one I have over here. From what I heard, SUSE is good in this area but evidently not good enough, because it installed alright but didn't boot.
Once again, I would really appreciate some help with this and if you're still with me here on this after this rather long-winded rant, thanks!
FC8 Installation - Stage 1 : Day 1
I successfully install FC8 w/o modify in Intel DQ35JO with following condition
1. Onboard Display enabled
2. Onboard Sound card enabled
3. Onboard Intel Gigabit NIC enabled
4. Native Interface with SATA AHCI
My Hardware Configuration
1. USB Thumb Drive 1G as boot device
2. WD 400 GB RE2 SATA HDD x4 : Linux RAID5 implemented not Intel RAID
3. DDRII 667 1 GB RAM x4
FC8 Hardware Profile (After install before up2date) :)
Components Not Working yet even detected :???:
1. Sound card
Log Message Need to clarify :confused:
1. ata1: D2H reg with I during NCQ, this message .... again
OK. The FC8 is now running up2date of 75 packages. So to be continue tomorrow. Seems most hardware can be detected & used. That's why let you know immediately. I think is a good news. :-D