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August 18, 2009


Install and Boot Ubuntu from a Compact Flash card

by Joe Kuan

ubuntulogoI have been trying to install Ubuntu 8.04 LTS on a Compact Flash card and boot from it. At first, I thought the whole exercise would be straightforward. The hardware I use is a Jetway Mini-ITX J7F2 board connected with a daughter board AD3RTLAN-G which provides 3 extra Gigabits ethernet ports. The chassis is a LinITX M200 with a 20 x 2 USB LCD front panel, 2 x USB ports and a CF reader which connects to the IDE bus and a pico power supply. Here is a photo of it.
Jetway motherboard inside

Since the CF reader is operated as a normal IDE drive, I would expect the whole installation & boot the same. The CF card I use is a Lexar Professional 4GB 133x Speed.

First, the BIOS recognises the CF card. The whole Ubuntu 8.04 LTS installation using an external USB DVD drive goes well until Ubuntu trying to detect installable media for partitioning. Interestingly, I got a spare Canon 8MB CF card which came with my old digital camera and tried it with the installation. The Ubuntu 8.04 can detect the media fine but not the Lexar one.

After reading lots of comments in the forums, it is pointing to the kernel of 8.04 LTS caused that. I have decided to give the latest Ubuntu 9 a go and the installation went well. The boot process of Ubuntu 9 on the Lexar CF card is successful. However, there are several boot troubles in the beginning but eventually goes fine which prolongs the whole boot process.

Here are the boot messages.

Boot from (hd0, 4) ext2    f3325553-1424-47b8-9b12-570dbf7947ab
Starting up …
[ 35.816063] ata3.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:00:00:/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 in
[ 35.816068] res 40/00:00:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/00 Emask 0x4 (timeout)
[ 35.816193] ata3.00: status: { DRDY }
[ 66.816037] ata3.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x6 frozen
[ 66.816107] ata3.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:00:00:/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 in
[ 66.816112] res 40/00:00:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/00 Emask 0x4 (timeout)
[ 66.816228] ata3.00: status: { DRDY }
[ 97.816036] ata3.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x6 frozen
[ 97.816105] ata3.00: cmd c8/00:08:00:00:00:/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 in
[ 97.816110] res 40/00:00:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/00 Emask 0x4 (timeout)
[ 97.816226] ata3.00: status: { DRDY }
[ 98.054686] longhaul: APIC detected. Longhaul is currently broken in this configuration.
Loading, please wait….
19+0 records in
19+0 records out

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. jb
    Sep 24 2009

    I’ve been working on putting ubuntu 9 on an 8GB CF card – it’s pretty slow and I paid like $125 for the damn thing a couple years ago – oh well. I got it to work by installing ubuntu on a desktop with an IDE to CF adapter so ubuntu installed as if to a regular hard drive. Then I put it into my laptop with mini ide-CF adapter. i get the same ata status DRDY crap and after about 30 seconds it continues on and works!


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