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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
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First off, let me apologize for the wall of text. I'm rather new to linux. I've done some tooling around here and there and I am familiar with Cisco's unix-like CLIs. So I thought I'd give Linux a shot since Vista makes me vomit and microcult will be dropping support for XP soon.
In any event, I've got an old Dell Dimension 4500 (P4, 1.8GHz) that I'm trying to turn into a print server and a NAS for an external HD. I've read that most server-based linux flavors don't require many resources for this task, so I thought I'd give it a shot. This Dell does not have a HD, but I did have a spare 2GB flash drive laying around. I installed Ubuntu 8.10 Server on it along with GRUB. I tried using a boot CD off of PenDriveLinux for Ubuntu 8.10, but it won't boot it. I can manually boot it with GRUB on that CD by going into GRUB's command line. Only problem is, it takes up to 4 minutes for the flash drive's GRUB to begin to load the kernel. It just hangs. I did not have this issue with a persistent install of Ubuntu Desktop, but that's a whole other story.
What I'm looking for is a method of doing 2 things:
1.) Figure out a way to simulate a floppy disk for Dell's BIOS flash utility so I can copy the info to a CD and update the BIOS.
2.) Create a Boot CD that will allow me to load an OS from a USB drive (flash or external). I just need something that will pass along the bootloader on that device to the CPU/BIOS. I want to stay away from OS specific boot CDs since I'm still playing with multiple ones and deciding on the best for me. If that is not possible, then I'd like to start with Ubuntu Server 8.10.
Also, I'm up for suggestions on other distros that may do this task better or easier for a newbie.
FreeNAS - http://www.freenas.org/
1.1. Hardware Requirements
- A PC with a minimum of 96Mb of RAM, a bootable CD-Rom Drive plus either
- A Floppy Disk (for configuration storage) and one or more Hard Drives (as storage)
- A Bootable USB or CF drive (32Mb minimum) and one or more Hard Drives (as storage)
- A Bootable Hard Drive and one or more Hard Drives (as storage)
- A Bootable Hard Drive (which will be partitioned for FreeNAS and Data)
That FreeDOS worked perfect! Unfortunately, the new BIOS still doesn't boot from USB. As for the BIOS's that are larger than 2.88MB, I wonder if it is possible to emulate multple disks on one CD and use a file splitter. Or, better yet, use wine and some type of floppy emulation to use the manufacturer's disk creator exe and create multiple floppy images. Just thought I'd throw that out there.