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Old 03-18-2006, 05:38 PM   #1
alienDog
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Small linux distribution for system rescue on FAT filesystem


Here's my dilemma:

I have a laptop with a minimal (~0.5 G FAT partition). The FAT partition contains DOS 7 (from Windows 98) that comes with the laptop as well as hibernate file for saving the system memory on APM suspend. I'm looking for a small Linux distribution (<50 MB) that would fit in the space available on the FAT system. I wouldn't want to go tampering with the partitions, so I need something that can work on a FAT filesystem. The idea is to have a little rescue linux available on the FAT partition in case I ever mess up my primary partition.

Right now I'm using BGRescue which is perfect otherwise, but It's lacking PPP and PPPoE which I really would like to be there.

Any distribution recommendations or other solutions?

--edit--

Oh, yes, I've tried DSL, but is there any way to have it installed on FAT partition? I really wouldn't want to depend on a boot CD.

Last edited by alienDog; 03-18-2006 at 05:40 PM.
 
Old 03-18-2006, 05:48 PM   #2
2damncommon
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The easiest Linux to install to a FAT partition is going to be Zipslack which is about 100MB.
 
Old 03-18-2006, 06:02 PM   #3
alienDog
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I studied that too, but it's too big
 
Old 03-18-2006, 06:16 PM   #4
saikee
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How about Puppy. It will certainly do it in Fat partition but I cannot be sure of fitting within 50Mb. I would put it in a pendrive or simply use a LiveCD and forget about the 50Mb limitation.
 
Old 03-18-2006, 06:22 PM   #5
alienDog
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Unfortunately my machine doesn't boot from usb and dos ofcourse understands nothing about such things. I'll look into puppy though
 
Old 03-18-2006, 08:16 PM   #6
truthfatal
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DSL fits the 50Mb criteriea
 
Old 03-18-2006, 08:31 PM   #7
alienDog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truthfatal
DSL fits the 50Mb criteriea
Yes, I know it does, but can it be run from a FAT partition instead of CDROM? It has a "tohd" (or something like that) boot option, that copies it to HD, but making it start is still not possible without the CD.

Puppy works, but doesn't include LILO which is one of the tools I definitely need on my rescue system.
 
Old 03-19-2006, 03:49 AM   #8
saikee
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Puppy uses Grub.

Linux has two mainstream boot loaders.

Just about everything you want to do in Lilo you can do it with Grub which is more powerful and easier of the two.

You can also substitute Grub with Lilo (or add Grub to a Lilo-based Linux) by adding the program to the distro but more work is needed.
 
Old 03-19-2006, 06:21 AM   #9
alienDog
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My main distro boots with lilo, so that's why I'd like to have it available on my rescue system too (to be able to re-install it if something goes wrong). I've heard a lot of "not-so-good" comments about Grub, so I don't think I'm going to convert my main system to it.
 
Old 03-19-2006, 07:00 AM   #10
saikee
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I can confirm that if you use Lilo as the controlling boot loader then the type of bootloader of any other Linux doesn't really matter.

If you have Grub in a Linux say hda5 and wish it to be booted by Lilo all you need is to do is to tell that Linux's Grub to replicate its boot loader inside its root partition hda5 with a command
Code:
grub-install /dev/hda5
Thereafter in the /etc/lilo.conf of the booting Linux you can fire up the Linux in hda5 by Lilo commands
Code:
other=/dev/hda5
label=Linux_in_hda5
The only difference if hda5 uses Lilo instead of Grub then instead of
Code:
grub-install /dev/hda5
you use
Code:
lilo -b /dev/hda5
So what is the big deal?

I am not here to popularise Grub but my experience is that Grub is far more easier and powerful than Lilo and I have documented 5 findings in Section E of the second last link in my signature. 4 out of the 5 findings are advantages that Lilo cannot match.

Last edited by saikee; 03-19-2006 at 07:02 AM.
 
Old 03-19-2006, 01:22 PM   #11
alienDog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saikee
So what is the big deal?

I am not here to popularise Grub but my experience is that Grub is far more easier and powerful than Lilo and I have documented 5 findings in Section E of the second last link in my signature. 4 out of the 5 findings are advantages that Lilo cannot match.
The big deal is you're missing the point My rescue system will boot up with loadlin because it gets started from the dos prompt. The reason I want lilo to be there is to fix the booting of my system in case it ever goes wrong. I don't really care about grubs advantages over lilo (or vice versa for that matter), my system just happens to boot up with lilo, so that's what I need.

I'll give you an example: Recently I upgraded my kernel and forgot to run lilo before rebooting the machine. Result: Linux doesn't boot. Now if I had had a rescue system with lilo on my dos partition (like I do now) I could have just booted to dos, boot the rescue system and run lilo with the correct lilo.conf to have it working again.

Last edited by alienDog; 03-19-2006 at 01:37 PM.
 
Old 03-19-2006, 02:39 PM   #12
saikee
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Of many methods of rescuing an unbootable Linux I investigated I now come down on just two universal tools (1) A LiveCD and (2) a bootable Grub floopy (can turn into a CD).

Anything you can do with your rescue system, which I suspect is a Loadin-based as it is an old Dos-based boot loader used in the past, is now superseded by the LiveCD. A LiveCD can restore any Lilo or Grub based distro.

There is no PC system that I know of that cannot be booted by a Grub floppy, including any MS system, any BSD and of course any Linux even it used Lilo originally.

You can stick with your rescue system disk but things have moved on.

My earlier point is Linux boot loaders are interchangeable mutually supporting each other. Users using one and afraid of the other is mainly due to a lack of experience on both systems.
 
  


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