Old "/dev/hd*" kernels

Some of our older kernels were configured to recognise IDE hard and optical drives as /dev/hda, dev/hdb, etc. As opposed to them now being /dev/sda, /dev/sdb. etc.

The latter configuration uses older IDE kernel drivers, and some Puppy testers are reporting that certain old PCs will only work with these old IDE drivers. This issue has come up again with Wary 5.0 testers.

We could argue that these particular PCs are rather rare and will soon disappear from the scene, but as Wary is intended for old hardware I would like to cater for these PCs.

The problem is that the scripts in Woof no longer recognise the /dev/hd* device nodes. If Wary is built with one of those old kernels, there will be many issues -- like some scripts expecting optical drives to be /dev/sr* for example.

When I took out support for /dev/hd* from Woof, I was thinking that in future I could use udev to rename the device nodes. As this guy has done:


...this makes a previously /dev/hda, hda1, etc be recognised as /dev/sda, sda1, etc., however there are potentially some problems, for example /proc/partitions showing the original device names.

Anyway, I will give it a go. I will compile our kernel with the old IDE /dev/hd* drivers enabled. In the 'init' script in the initrd, the udev rules can be dynamically generated. Interesting exercise, reckon I will try it tonight.

Posted on 25 Jan 2011, 17:46


Posted on 25 Jan 2011, 19:57 by Sage
Old "/dev/hd*" kernels
Some of my kit is very old but I've never experienced this problem. Even old 500Mb IDE drives successfully sign up as sdx. I recently installed Fluppy, which has to be considered a 'speciality' derivative, onto a 2.5" 517Mb IDE drive running on a 754(64bit) board using an adapter. Absolutely no problems. I have even used IDE-SATA converters without trouble. Wary has given me no cause for concern in this area.
My skills in coding are legendary - none. However, as a self-proclaimed HW wiz, I really don't see many of the issues raised on the Forum, nor blog. Recently, I had a contretemps with a guy who wouldn't even open his case to verify his chip designation - time to call in the proverbial six-year old and give him a junior screwdriver! [I leave it to your imagination as to his nationality!] I strongly suspect that some reports relate to HW inexperience as well as the other more well-founded issues invariably confirmed by respected gurus? Take cognisance of the correspondent before committing valuable effort in some cases?

Posted on 25 Jan 2011, 20:42 by BarryK
Re ide-kernel
I was recently reading a forum thread where some guys reported differences between the old "ide kernel" and the newer "pata kernel". Found it again:


Posted on 25 Jan 2011, 22:30 by Sage
Old "/dev/hd*" kernels
Yes, that fellow had one dead IDE port already. Seen that before, too. Once one port starts misbehaving, watch out for the other. If it's the Primary line that's down that can be a disaster with some old boards because the Secondary does not always behave the same. Ditto with drives connected: in the early days, some drives, usually optical, had to be slave AND on the Secondary line, etc., etc.
There was always a simple solution - insert a Promise IDE card, preferably one that has its own BIOS interceptor. These are still available new from eg CPC and doubtless eBay. Otherwise, fiddling about with BIOS releases sometimes helped. For old boards it's essential to save copies of every release (and flasher if they differ) since the first/oem version.
This is not necessarily the best Forum for difficult and detailed HW solutions of this kind. There are plenty of others dedicated to fixing the most intractable issues based on individual board idiosyncrasies. Having said all that, boards are often 'fixable' when something is actually 'broken' ie not just not working. [Lost count of, esp. ladies, who tell me their PC is 'broken' - it isn't/wasn't - they were using the rogue OS. Same here with guys determine to run 'doze along with Puppy/w.h.y. Well, if it works - that's great, but if the rogue goes bad whatyagonna do? Call Ghostbusters?]

Posted on 25 Jan 2011, 24:07 by rodin.s
I have this problem
I have slow boot on /dev/sd* kernels on my old PC, while old kernels with /dev/hd* boot OK. Eventualy I found out that it was my ISA soundcard that was detected by newer kernels as another sda-drive. So it's good for me if you will make hda-kernel.On the other hand I could buy another soundcard or use other version, like Wary-0.3 I use now.

Posted on 26 Jan 2011, 2:34 by Sage
by rodin.s I have this problem
Don't buy another sound card, just liberate one from any old junk heap! But certainly change your sound card because it does have a problem - I use old ISA sound cards successfully with all breeds of Puppy (well, most) and don't experience that problem. ISA cards do need to be re-installed, however, at every boot-up with a FULL install. I have appraised Barry of this shortcoming in Wary, but it may need to remain a minor annoyance in view of the age of these cards (and this user!). Read my epistle on old ISA sound cards on the Forum. If you just want another sound card to use with powered speakers and fail to find one (after searching your local amenity dump, roadside skips, friends, family and neighbours under-bed stores) PM me and I may be able to send one but don't bank on it.
BK: excuse use of your space - delete this at your pleasure.