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I've got an older computer, 64mb ram, 486 mhz processor, 8.4 gig hard drive. For the most part it works decently, but the CD drive doesn't. It currently runs windows 98, and is at the point where I really need to reformat and reinstall. Other than the CD drive thing, it seems like a good computer to try linux on for the first time. I've got two computers running windows (that my parents won't let me screw with.) I've got four zip disks and a serial zip drive, so I can freely transfer stuff through that, but I'd rather not transfer more than the 400mb I can get in one trip with those. The computer also has a floppy drive and a nic card. Any ideas on how to set up without a CD drive?
Your computer has a NIC. If you have a broadband internet connection you can install from floppy. It's called netinstall, all necessary software is downloaded during install. At least Debian has install floppies available, not sure about other distros.
I've settled on Slackware, and I want to try an install via NFS, but I don't have another linux box to do it from. There don't seem to be any good open source NFS systems for windows, so I'm kind of stuck on what to use. Samba, from what I understand, requires more data than will fit on a floppy to set up. Could I use a live CD on my windows computer, and pull the ISOs off the HD?
Ideas on a floppy distro that can set up NFS? (And a live CD that would be compatible?)
You don't want to use NFS. First of all, if you install Debian, you'll need to download 15,000 packages, only a fraction of which you will actually use. You want to install by FTP, or HTTP. The linux kernel has networking built right in. Look on http://www.google.com for how to install Debian from a floppy. With the hardware you have you would probably want to install a text based system, because a 486 isn't enough to run a gui desktop in linux. You might need to make more than one floppy. There might be a floppy set. The other thing you could do is buy a working CD drive for $40.00, or however much it is. They aren't very expensive. The other thing you can do is use a live CD for you operating system.