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Installing Linux on a Compaq PL2500

My PL2500 will not see all the memory installed...
- or -
My PL2500 is taking forever to install...

If you have one of those two questions, then this document is for you. The Linux won't autodetect the amount of memory you have on the PL2500 so you will need to declare it. Read on for more info.


The main issue with the PL2500 is that Linux will not autodetect the amount of memory installed in the system. In this case only 14MB or 16MB of memory will be detected. This will force the system to turn on swap space early on. Then for the rest of the installation Linux will constantly swap in and out of that swap space. An install done this way (even when you enable the swap partition) will take several days. It is usually worth it to stop the install and restart it with the correct parameters so the Linux installer will see all of your memory.

One thing to note when specifying the amount of memory in your system, don't exaggerate the amount of memory you have. If you say you have more memory than you do then Linux will eventually walk off the deep end and you will need to reboot.

Determining the amount of memory Linux sees:

     cat /proc/meminfo
- and -
     free

Specifying the amount of memory at the boot prompt (Temporary Method):

This method is very useful for starting your installation. To do this, you add the "mem" parameter along with any other parameters you are keying in:
     linux mem=384M

Specifying the amount of memory in /etc/lilo.conf (Permanent Method):

Once you have your system running, you add an append statement to /etc/lilo.conf specifying the amount of memory you have. This saves you from having to key in your memory size each time that you boot up. Edit /etc/lilo.conf and add the following append line. The append statement is not a global parameter so you will need to specify it for each separate Linux boot image you have in /etc/lilo.conf. Note, that after editing /etc/lilo.conf, you always need to run /sbin/lilo to make these changes take affect. Changes in /etc/lilo.conf will not take affect until you run /sbin/lilo.

     append="mem=384M"

Continuing the Linux Installation:

Then follow the normal procedures for installing Linux on Compaq Servers:
linux.html - Linux installation instructions. - If you have neither of the two controllers below.
smart.html - If you have an original smart array controller.
smart2e.html - If you have a Smart-2/E array controller.

- also, for official instructions -
Here are two ways to get to Compaq's ProLiant Installation How-To:
http://www.compaq.com/linux -> ProLiant -> Linux HOWTO's -> installation -> html
A second way of getting there is:
http://www.compaq.com/linux -> documentation -> ProLiant -> ProLiant Installation How-To -> html