manual SD OS install not working / hal crashing on boot

Richard A. Smith richard at
Wed Nov 11 14:13:35 EST 2009

> This was because HAL was failing to start on boot, so X couldn't figure
> out any information about input devices.

Yes. That was the exact symptom.
> HAL was failing to start due to bad permissions on /var/cache/hald (hal
> runs as the haldaemon user, not root).
> Why were these permissions bad? Simply because on my main linux system
> where I extracted the tarball, the haldaemon user has a different ID.
> So, on the XO-1.5, a non-existent user was the owner of this directory.
> The solution? Should have used this command to extract:
> 	lzcat ../os39.tree.tar.lzma | tar -xp --numeric-owner

FYI newer tars have the --lzma option for dealing with lzma directly.

> solution untested, but this explains it.

Nice.  Thanks for showing I'm not crazy. 

That's also why a diff between the 2 trees didn't yield any clues. UID's were not included in the comparison.

Richard A. Smith  <richard at>
One Laptop per Child

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