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Distribution: Lots of distros in the past, now Linux Mint
Is it a really old computer, are the BIOS settings wrong, or is it a cdrom problem? Probably the best way, assuming the cd drive is good, and it's not something simple like a bios setting, is to make a boot floppy. Your cdroms should contain images (somewhere on the cd) for raw floppy disks. Use rawwrite or dd to copy the raw floppy images to a floppy (this wipes out all the stuff on the floppy, by the way).
More likely though, your problem is either a bad CD write, bad image, or the fact that fedora's first disk won't boot. Try inserting disk two, and see if that helps.
Distribution: openSuSE 42.1_64+Tumbleweed-KDE, Mint 17.3
1. Make sure that booting from CD-ROM is enabled in your BIOS.
If it is and the thing still won't start:
2. Some distributions have executables with suggestive names in their root directories. Just look into your Fedora CD (uppermost directory) whether there is some appropriately named file and try to start it. Do that logged in as root.
Oops, the prior two posts were not shown when I posted my piece, sorry for the redundancies...
yeah, i've played with the bios, and changed the boot order, but for some reason i can't get it to boot from the cdrom first.
I tried installing RH9 which i bought, and boots up fine on another machine, as well as Suse 9. I'm wondering if its a problem with the cdrom drive itself - although i can mount /dev/cdrom, so i don't think i could be a problem with the drive.
i'll do some more puttsing around to see if i can get it to work. The box is an old P2 box, but i don't think i should have any problems installing linux.
There's no problem with old boxes, certainly not PII. That's strange. It seems like a cd drive problem, since the CD's check out. Two suggestions:
a) I just put together and old PIII desktop, and I had some trouble setting up my hard drives and cd writer in the BIOS. My BIOS allows me to set some sort of generic CDROM as first in the boot order, but I also had to actually set my CD Writer in the IDE config. Maybe you could play around in it. Unlikely that will help much, though, if you can already mount it.
b) If you can use a network connection, why don't you try the Fedora boot floppy and network install?
Not much else I can suggest right now. Let us know if there's anything new.
Have you tried booting from the RH9 cd that you know works (you said that you tried this CD in another computer). If one computer boots fine off the CD and the other one doesn't, then it is a problem with that computer and not with the CD. Doing this check saves you having to check md5 sums etc.
If you are sure that it is not the CD then the next thing to check is the BIOS. I have had a computer with a very confusing BIOS where sometimes it would ignore the bootorder, depending on the value of other settings. Try resetting the BIOS to the factory setting and see if this helps.