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Computer update....
The new IDE controller is here, as is the new DVD writer. IT sorta works.

My BIOS can't see the disks on the new IDE controller, so it can't boot from them. Linux sees them fine, as scsi disks, but that may reflect more the attitude that anything which isn't an IDE disk on the primary or secondary IDE controller is treated as scsi, whether they are scsi or not.

I can boot from a disk connected directly to the motherboard, and I can read/write fine to a disk I can't boot from. That makes things tricky. My current "solution" is to boot the kernel and initial ramdisk from hda1, but tell it to use the root filesystem on sda1. that's working OK, but it requires manual intervention to boot.

Now begins the long process of rebuilding my system -- and of instituting a periodic policy of backing up my home directory to a USB Flash Drive so I can recover from a problem like this in the future.

My system has a new name: hacek, which is an unaccented version of háček. If I can figure out how to name my machine with the accents, I will. The current naming scheme is diacriticals, and so far I've used umlaut, cedilla, and now hacek.

As for the DVD writer... My new controller handles SATA, so I got a SATA DVD drive (no cost increase over the IDE version). It turns out that not only does SATA specify a new data cable (helpfully provided) it also specifies a new power supply connector. It looks like I might be able to get an adapter, however.

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Glad to hear that it is working at all. So it was the controller chip then?

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