Ask Shadowman

November 2003

November. Elections, Leonids, and Peanut Butter Lover's Month. Mother Jones on-line is 10; lordy, lordy, Dr. Who is 40 and you, dear Scorpio, are an overachiever, with a creative and imaginative outlook on life. It is also time for he who is known as him who is known as he with one name. Like Flo or a streetcar in a Tennessee Williams play. Look out! Here comes the Shadowman.

Got a question that you'd like Shadowman to answer? Ask him.

Marius Van Der W. got riled and ready and required:
I boot with CD 1 which I obtained via the Internet and type linux cdb=cdrom at the boot prompt. The language and country selection works ok, but when I choose between CD or Hard Disk, and select CD, it doesn't find the CD.The machine has one hard disk (Primary Master) and one CDROM (Secondary Master) and a stiffy as well.

Shadowman says:
A what, now? You can save the dirty talk for the ladies, palomino, but Shadowman is still intrigued. At first glance, it seemed like all should be fine, and since Shadowman has no time for brain teasers, he nearly just moved on. But then, Shadowman is no quitter, and he sometimes reads a post twice. cdb will get you nowhere, fast. In your case you want to pass:

boot: linux hdc=cdrom

For the secondary master. It may turn out that it is actually elsewhere (for you or for others with the same trouble), if so switch hdc with the location of the cd-rom.

hda=primary master
hdb=primary slave
hdc=secondary master
hdd=secondary slave

SCSI devices are usually numbered scd0, scd1, or sda1, sdb1, etc.

Run that up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.

Floyd M. says play it again:
Are past "Shadowman" questions and responses and "Tips and Tricks" available? This could be a useful reference.

Shadowman says:
Didn't I answer that last month!? See for yourself at:

Mark L. who was going through... heck, hemmed, hawed and hollered:
I've been reading the man pages and other informative documents on the web in connection with the hdparam utility.

I have four different drives in my box and they each need different parameter settings. Can I set these settings inside "/etc/sysconfig/harddisks" so that they will be applied to each drive as appropriate? I don't see any documentation on the "/etc/sysconfig/harddisks" file that explains the syntax of the file for what I want to do.

Shadowman says:
You betcha, first, take a look at the file itself:

less /etc/sysconfig/harddisks

At the end you see:


After that you can use hdparm, not hdparam. See how we getcha? Like:

EXTRA_PARAMS=hdparm [flags] [device]

To do this per device, use a file for each called:


Man hdparm for all the flags.