Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 54853
Unsuccessful Redhat installation
Last modified: 2007-04-18 12:37:41 EDT
Description of Problem:
I configured my PC as a multi-boot PC and this means that I'm using quite
a lot partitions (primary&logical) on my IDE-HDD drive.
I've used the following partitions to install Linux (Redhat 7.1
- boot partition below 1024 cylinder on a partition labeled hda7
- root partition on partition labeled hda17
This installation was not successful.
From what I understand sofar, Linux has problems with partitions above
hda16. I know for a fact that the Redhat installation cannot cope with it.
The information I've found on the internet thusfar is also pointing in
that direction (I did not find any information on how to resolve this
problem). The highest entry is /dev/hda16 (inode) on a default Linux
Why this message you may ask? Well, in my opinion the Redhat installer
(I'm impressed with the graphical install by the way) has to submit a
warning that Linux will have problems with the hda17. It should do so
before the installation process, not after!
Doing it after the install and not on forehand reminds me of something
called the Windows OS. And one important reason for getting acquinted with
Linux is that I'm getting fed up with the poor quility of that Windows OS.
I don't know if it is just an issue with the Redhat distribution. Maybe it
is a more general issue that also can cause problems with other Linux
distributions. And because I'm curious what Linux experts think of the
problems that might occur if Linux is used on a HDD with a lot of
partitions I'm posting this message.
It is very disappointing to come to the conclusion that Linux (I assume it
is not only the case for the Redhat distribution) restricts the number of
partitions on a single harddrive to 16. Probably this was enough years ago
when harddisks were a lot smaller. A long time ago 640K of memory was also
enough, but time advances.
I'm not a Linux Kernel expert, so I don't know if limiting the numbers of
partitions on a single drive to 16 has to do with that Kernel. I can also
imagine that that limition is caused simply by making an arbitrary choice,
and the choice made was to support only a maximum of 16 partitions on a
If that is the case, then it might be a good idea to consider to increase
that number (if the actual HDD partitioning requires that), as limiting
the number to 16 in the year 2001 with harddisks of 40 GByte and above is
NOT future proof to say the least. And I think that for PC users who
configure their machines as multi-boot devices using more than 16
partitions is not out of the ordinary.
I hope that you'll take the time to give some feedback on this issue.
Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):
Redhat 7.1 installer
Steps to Reproduce:
1.choose a root partition above hda16 during installation
Error during post-install process:
An error occurred while installing the bootloader. We highly recommend you
make a recovery boot floppy when prompted, otherwise you may not be able
to reboot into Redhat Linux.
(during the Linux boat process the error reported is: Fatal: Not a
This is a limitation of the kernel, not the installer. Changing component to
Not kernel bug; kernel can do more than 16 IDE partitions just fine
(SCSI is a different story); Anaconda probably doesn't make the device nodes....
I agree, it is not a kernel bug. From what I've learned thusfar the kernel
supports up to 63 partitions on an IDE drive.
The problem indeed has to do with the fact that device nodes above hda16 are
not created during a "standard" Redhat intstallation.
Someone has informed my that I could add devices in /dev by means of the
mknod /dev/hda17 b 3 17
However when issueing this command (after booting the recovery boot floppy) I
received the following (error) message:
mknod: '/dev/hda17': Read-only file system
The result is that the device node hda17 is not added. Until now I haven't
found a workaround or solution to get the root partition on hda17 up and
So arjan, is this a problem with the dev package then? I think the installer
can't do much if there's no file higher than hda16 in /dev. Am I right here?
There are a few things here... the dev package will need the additional devices
for the higher IDE devices and then we'll have to fix isys to know about them as
Changing component back to anaconda.
*** This bug has been marked as a duplicate of 12099 ***