I've got an older Dell T105 with AMD64 Opteron that I installed 2 2TB drives into. It's running BIOS 1.0.1.
Installing Ubuntu-11.04-Server from CD
Blank Screen Of Death
Trying to install from CD Ubuntu-11.04 Server, Desktop, i386 or amd64 all result in an apparent hang using English or Spanish, just at the point when it is going to run through the installer. In another attempt we were able to install 10.04 from CD then went through a 2-step upgrade. Something's changed in the installer between 10.04 and 11.04.
After pounding on keys at the blank 11.04 screen it seemed the installer was running but video was blank.
Reboot from CD and before it starts the boot loader, hold the SHIFT key. At the prompt turn off visual problems:
boot: install vga=normal
Then follow the text install menus.
Follow the nontrivial instructions for a RAID1 with a 20GB swap on the first partition and / on the second partition taking up the rest of the drive.
Install the OS as usual.
Installation of Grub failed
When it came time to install grub, it failed: the command it ran:
complained it could not but then spewed something about being required for RAID.
After it blindly went to reboot from disk, it hung with a cursor prompt because there was no Grub.
Fix Partitions and Install GRUB
Reboot from Installation CD and enter rescue mode, and tell it to give you a shell on the /dev/md1 partition. If you try and do a "grub-install" it will complain at you, saying it's a bad idea.
Tweak the disks so you can then install grub on them:
# parted sda toggle 1 boot_grub q # parted sdb toggle 1 boot_grub # grub-install sda # grub-install sdb
Now you should have grub on the raw disks.
Boot in Grub
Now when I reboot I get a "grub>" prompt that goes nowwhere. This doc helped:
set root=(md/1) linux /vmlinuz root=/dev/md1 ro initrd /initrd.img boot
When booted and logged in:
sudo updage-grub sudo grub-install /dev/sda sudo grub-install /dev/sdb
This creates a /boot/grub/grub.cfg file that allows the OS to boot directly next time.
Reboot and Enjoy
Finally I get a login prompt I can use.
Ubuntu Server 12.04 disappears the display when it goes to Grub so I can't see what's going on; without grub menu, I can't append a vga=771 type of mode.
You may be able to get it to default to a usable mode by unplugging the VGA cable as you boot it up, before grub tries to be clever and detect modes. Then plug in the cable and try to edit.
Once you get it to boot (cough) e.g., with the cable trick or ssh login, edit /etc/default/grub:
then run "update-grub" and reboot.
I've not been able yet to get it to show a grub menu where I can add boot options right there despite fiddling:
GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=5 GRUB_HITTEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET=false GRUB_TIMEOUT=10
and there are tickets saying that (some of) these are ignored anyway; what a mess.