Unable to update my machine

Yuan Chao yuanchao at gmail.com
Fri Aug 31 02:12:24 EDT 2007

On 8/31/07, Mitch Bradley <wmb at laptop.org> wrote:

Sorry to Mitch for multiple, I forgot to reply to "all".

> The problem is ostensibly fixed in a new version of firmware that will
> be released in the next couple of days.
That would be great.

I have a 2GB USB disk that used to be as a rescue boot disk. As
syslinux doesn't support >1GB, I need to partition it into two FAT16.
The olpc firmware doesn't seem to like it and every time I need to
specify the boot-device under OK prompt to do the update. However,
later I noticed that actually I only need to go to the OK prompt and
type boot would be sufficient. (USB icon only appears if boot from OK
prompt.) This makes me wonder that if the problem is due to the
partitioning (I'd prefer to keep my present partitions) or the USB

> The problem is actually a little more complicated than having a
> partition table or not.  There was a situation where a disk could appear
> to both have a partition table, and also have a FAT file system starting
> in the first sector.  The way that can happen is if you use mkdosfs on
> the raw disk (sda), and then change your mind and use fdisk to partition
> it and then do mkdosfs again on sda1.  fdisk does not automatically
> erase the BIOS parameter block (the FAT equivalent of a super block) in
> the partition sector, so you end up with an ambiguous situation where
> the first sector looks like an unpartitioned FAT volume and also a
> partitioned volume at the same time.
> I tried to correct that problem, but in the process I managed to break
> the case where there is an unpartitioned FAT volume that has the
> extended form of BIOS parameter block.
> I think I have now fixed that breakage...  At least I hope so.
> fdisk + mkdosfs is a mistake-prone combination.
> Philip Macpherson wrote:
> > It now works.  Jerub on the wiki helped me with this.
> >
> >     [14:14] <Jerub> crazy_bus: I found just now that a drive with a
> >     partition table and a fat partition has that problem.
> >
> >     [14:14] <Jerub> but one with no partition taboe, and /dev/sda
> >     itself formatted as FAT, did not have that problem.
> >
> >
> > I formatted so I had no partition and then open firmware was able to
> > read it.  Maybe this should be mentioned on the wiki.
> >
> > Thanks for all your help,
> > Philip
> >
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Best regards,
Yuan Chao

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