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Old 05-14-2009, 02:55 AM   #1
Lemop
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Registered: Jan 2005
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PCMCIA/Cardbus-USB2.0


Toshiba Tecra 8000
Max 256 Ram
32 HD
CD Reader (flaky but it gets there)
Usb 1.1 single port
NEC Cardbus 4 port usb2 card

Installed a number of distro's to usb sd and pendrives
on my two main machines both which boot from usb as Hard drives
no problems at all


Try as I might the tosh will not do it

No USB boot
no CD boot USB
no floppy USB boot


boots live cd no prob (good slow burned cd)

I understand from my searching the PCMCIA/Cardbus is not seen/loaded
till very late in the process so the boot never sees the USB2 ports


Is there a way to place something on hard disk to boot cardbus usb2
or is it in kernal

All I want is to boot persistant to usb2 on cardbus

Maybe you can tell me how or even if?
 
Old 05-14-2009, 09:19 AM   #2
shpenat
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If I am not mistaken which devices machine can boot from is not the question of operating system but BIOS. So if BIOS does not allow you to boot from USB there is no way of doing it.

But there is an option of keeping relatively small partition on your HD (few MB practically just the kernel) and keeping all other things on that USB.
 
Old 05-15-2009, 04:19 AM   #3
Lemop
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Thank you for your response

I realise that the BIOS on this old clunker is not capable
of booting from usb directly.

but at a number of other places there is info regarding
making boot cd or boot floopy which will search for the boot usb and go on from there
one of many is below, not sure about links in the forum so w's removed
and coded


[code]http://XXX.pendrivelinux.com/make-a-usb-boot-cd-for-crunchbang-linux/[code]

There is also Plop boot manager which is a superb piece of kit but...
as I say the PCMCI/Cardbus which holds the 4 usb 2.0 seems to be far later in the boot process
therefore not alowing me to boot from cd, floppy or any way that points to the usb on the cardbus


You mention another method of hard disk then usb.

If this is in a very small partition or even on the mbr I would love to here more

Regards
 
Old 05-15-2009, 03:10 PM   #4
shpenat
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I am sorry if am repeating things you already know.

First you need to understand how booting works. BIOS has list of devices (floppy, CDROM, HDD, ...) it is capable of booting from. It checks for device in given order. If the device is present, it will load first 512 bytes (So called MBR) from that device into RAM and execute it. What happens next is dependent on what was written in that first 512 bytes.

In case linux is used some linux loader (GRUB, LILO) is started and it loads linux kernel into memory hence starting the system.

This is how Plop works. It needs to be installed on any device the given BIOS can boot from. Since it contains driver for standard USB it can even than load and execute first 512 bytes from USB stick hence allowing you to boot from USB. Unlucky for you it does not support PCMCIA USB. So one option for you would be to find any bootloader which support PCMCIA USB cards or write your own one

The second method I had in mind would require building your own kernel or at least initrd. I am not sure haw much you know about kernel modular structure so I will try to briefly explain the problem. Kernel itself is responsible for handling hardware. It uses loadable modules for each hardware. This feature is nice since it allows you to load only modules for hardware you really have thus keeping kernel small and stable. But it may bring chicken and egg problem. For example if you have SCSI harddrive. But module for handling SCSI is stored on that disk so you cannot access it without loading it which you cannot do since you do not have SCSI module loaded yet (hope you understand what I mean).

So there are two possibilities how to solve this mess. First is to build kernel with SCSI support directly build into it and not use loadable module (this solution is really good if you are building kernel for one specific machine but not so good in all other cases). Second option is using initramdisk (initrd). It is small package containing essential modules. It is loaded by boot loader together with kernel, so kernel has essential modules available.

This is actually how does thing in your posted link works. You have initrd and kernel on CD and rest (filesystem) on USB. It will work as good with HDD instead CD. Question is if their kernel or initrd contains support for PCMCIA/USB cards....
 
Old 05-17-2009, 05:02 PM   #5
Lemop
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My linux knowledge is virtually nill I'm afraid but I do try most things in life so if there is a way to learn (tut/howto) etc then I'm at least prepared to see what my chances are.

Taken the time out to check all the org sites distro's with cd/floppy usb boot disks but not not one of them supports the pcmcia/usb card.

That seems to leave me out of luck unless the init rd is the way to go.
(kernel maybe beyond me I think)

On first look I found a couple sites

[code]www.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-initrd.html[code]
[code]http://www.faqs.org/docs/evms/appxinitram.html[code]


I'll read away as I get the time but it will be some reading unless you know of any better nfo's?

Cheers
 
Old 05-18-2009, 04:59 PM   #6
shpenat
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Willingness to learn is the best start you can have

I personally never build an initrd. Each my machine has its own custom build kernel so I never had use for initrd.

What you need to do, is to build initrd, which will contain modules for your PCMCIA card and USB storage. Than you need to create small partition on whatever device you are planning to boot from (HDD, CD-ROM), which will hold just kernel, initrd and grub.

But honestly I never tried this either. I know how it should work, but can't give you any promises.
 
Old 05-19-2009, 07:26 AM   #7
Lemop
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Thank you for the pointers and explanations, they stopped the panic.

I'm sure its going to take me a while to learn and try, never mind complete it, but that's what keeps this old head going, a task to complete.

I'll let you know how I get on (in a while I think).

Cheers
 
Old 05-24-2009, 03:51 PM   #8
marsques
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Actually this may help a situation that I'm trying to resolve.

I've got a system that does not boot from the CD drive or a USB Stick but does from a floppy.

I managed to create a bootable floppy with a custom kernel that can see both the USB Stick and CD drive on the machine, but the issue is I am unable to get the distro on the USB Stick or CD drive started after mounting the devices.

Eg. floppy kernel loads and comes to the command prompt, then I.

$ mount /dev/hdc /mnt/cdrom

$ cd /mnt/cdrom/

$ ls (does list the contents on the cdrom)

After this not sure how to go about getting what ever the distro on the CD started (I've got a Ubuntu 8.04 and a Slackware 12.1 CD).

Any ideas how to?

The floppy is basically a 2.4.37 kernel and busybox.

Thanks.
 
Old 05-25-2009, 01:43 AM   #9
shpenat
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Marques in your case you are looking for bootloader. I would give "plop bootmanager" a try.

What I suggested here is not actually a bootloader. My proposition was to have kernel from your distro on bootable device. Then only mounting the filesystem from CD or USB as \

But if more people are interested in booting from whatever obscure device they have, I may do a little research on GRUB and maybe will come with appropriate bootloader
 
Old 05-25-2009, 03:35 AM   #10
shpenat
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Here are some links that should help when considering writing own bootloader. General requirement is knowledge of assembly and real mode memory management.

http://wiki.osdev.org/Boot_sequence

http://wiki.osdev.org/Rolling_Your_Own_Bootloader
 
Old 05-25-2009, 07:02 AM   #11
marsques
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Thanks for your reply.

So does that mean the way I'm trying to do it will not work as the kernel on the floppy should be the same kernel as on the USB Stick/CDROM?

I've tried "plop" on the Desktop where it worked (Slax 6.0.8 on USB Stick) but on the laptop, which I want to load Linux it did not.
 
Old 05-26-2009, 04:12 AM   #12
shpenat
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Well, what you are trying to do will not work. The kernels does not have to be exactly the same. But have to be from same family (2.2, 2.4, 2.6). When they are same it is much more easier (you do not need to keep modules for each one of them). It means that when not booting directly from USB, you will not be using kernel from that USB either, but rather kernel from floppy.

Plop should work on your laptop as well. But you need to install it to the floppy, not USB.

By the way, newer kernels have possibility to load other kernel on the fly (without rebooting). But I have no idea whether this option is supported by Ubuntu or Slax kernels. Neither did I it ever try to do so. That maybe would be the very best solution, but I can't help with that.
 
  


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