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Boot from ICH6R Intel Software SATA Raid?

Hi all,

Well I'm back after a long absence, mainly work related, but also due to a hardware upgrade that has effectively left me Linux-less ... specifically:

Gigabyte GA-8ANXP-D mobo

2 x WD Raptor 74GB RAID0 (Boot + OS)
2 x Maxtor 400GB RAID0 (Data + Scratch)
All running off an Intel 82801FR SATA Raid Controller (ICH6R)

2 x Plextor 712SA SATA DVD+-RW
Both running off a Silicon Image 3114 SATA Raid Controller

Currently I have WinXP occupying half of the first raid volume, and I wish to dual boot with FC3 (or FC4 later).

All my attempts at installing a multitude of different Linux distros on this setup have failed (can't find disks), however FC3 seems to have come the closest to succeeding.

From research, this is what I need AFAICT:

libata (ata_piix)
ataraid (iswraid)

Working from memory, and IIRC, the first two are present and loaded correctly during setup.

However, anaconda does not seem to be running dmraid to activate the raid volume, and indeed when I jump to the console to run dmraid manually, it is not available (not part of the stage2.img).

Another issue is the DVD drives. I haven't actually got around to installing the Maxtor drives yet (still awaiting delivery) and so the DVD drives are currently attached to the ICH6R. This works fine for Windows, but all the Linux distros I've tried so far puke at stage2 because of (to paraphrase) "I can't find the disc I booted from" type errors. Currently I'm circumventing the problem with a USB drive.

So, my questions:

1) ... Has anyone actually succeeded in setting up a similar configuration?

2) ... How can I get access to dmraid during setup?

3) ... Will this actually work, given access to dmraid, or are the drivers (ata_piix, iswraid) still not fully functional?

4) ... Will FC4 be prepped and ready for this type of install?

5) ... Are there any "Live" distros that include dmraid (Knoppix doesn't - AFAICT)?

7) ... What kernel parameters do I need to pass, to enable the SATA DVD drives to work properly, or is it the case that this doesn't work yet?

6) ... Any other suggestions?

I don't want to get sidetracked by the alternatives (3ware, PATA, raidtools, mdadm, etc.), I am fully aware of them. I just want to concentrate on getting this configuration to work, regardless of whether or not it is "doing things the hard way". It has to be done sooner or later, for the sake of Fedora, and GNU/Linux in general.

If I can get a running system up, then I'll be quite happy to act as a beta tester, write a FAQ/tutorial, and even help with packaging (if necessary).

I haven't had a working Linux system for some time, and I'm anxious to get back to working on Tripwire, amongst other things.

If it comes down to it, I can always resurrect the dinosaur from cold storage, in order to get a working Linux system, but space is limited; it was beginning to pack up (SCSI controller dying); it's dog slow, pig ugly, noisy; huge; and the very reason I bought a new system in the first place. I'd really rather just ditch it.




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