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Again: 'error: no such disk'

From: Neal Murphy
Subject: Again: 'error: no such disk'
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2011 00:21:22 -0500
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I have a headache. After two weeks of bashing my head on my keyboard, I give 

I am working on a firewall distrib (a modernization of Smoothwall). All was 
well (for over a year) until syslinux started acting up. So I switched the ISO 
and flash installer to grub-legacy; its limitations pushed me to grub2.

After much googling and assembling divers bits of info, the build system 
reliably produces an ISO9660 image that grubs boots nicely. After yet more 
searching, I have a script that reliably copies the ISO to a msdos partition 
and FAT FS on a usb stick, and sets up grub 2 to boot it. KVM and iron both 
boot the ISO and flash, and install the system as expected. So far, so good.

But for the life of me, I *cannot* get grub2 to install on the hard drive. No 
matter what I try (grub-install, do it manually, use separate /boot partition, 
include /boot in the linux root FS), grub always yields "error: no such disk", 
and 'ls' after that always yields "" (blank, nothing). Grub2 simply refuses to 
install properly to the hard drive.

I can usually boot the ISO/flash, go to the grub command line, mutter the 
relevant incantations, and boot the hard disk. I was even able, once, to tell 
grub to use the grub.cfg on the hard drive and boot using the target's menu.

It's close. I just cannot get grub to install properly to the hard drive. What 
am I doing wrong? How can I debug it, trace what's really happening, what's 
not right? What do I need to provide that you can look over and say, 'Here, 
doofus, yer doin' *this* when you should be doin' *that*."? What do I need to 

Relevant bits of info:
  - grub version 1.99, no patches
  - linux
  - single hard drive (other than the usb flash during install)
  - GPT partitioning
  - all partitions are aligned to 1 MiB boundaries
  - 200MiB /boot starts at 1MiB; swap, /var/log and / partitions follow
  - hand-built, static grub.cfg files (for both install and target)
  - the same build of grub2 is used for the installer and the target

Ow. A random neuron just fired. Grub isn't assuming that the first partition 
starts at a fixed location on the drive, is it? That's really the main 
difference between the ISO/flash setups and the hard drive setup.


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