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Installing onto Dell Servers

This is a quick guide on how to get Debian to install onto Dell PowerEdge based servers. This has been tested on PE 1850 and 1800 series servres.

HWDetect Changes

Add the following lines to your classes/20-hwdetect.source

mod=$(find /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/kernel/drivers/message/fusion/ -type f | sed 's/\.o$//' | sed 's/\.ko$//' | sed 's/.*\///')
for i in $mod; do
    modprobe $i 1>/dev/null 2>&1

I added this before the line

# Booting from CD does not enable dma always


You will need a more up to date post install kernel then the default in Debain Sarge (2.6.8). Here is a way of installing the latest kernel available from

Edit the file NFSROOT/etc/apt/preferences and add the following

Package: *
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 200

Package: linux*
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 999

Package: grub
Pin: release a=sarge-backports
Pin-Priority: 999

This will instruct apt to only obtain newer versions of Grub, and the linux kernel.

Now add the following line to NFSROOT/etc/apt/sources.list

deb sarge-backports main contrib non-free

The final change is to the packae_config/DEFAULT file Change the kernel line to be


and you should be ready to go.