linux can install from external firewire DVD drive?
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First check in the bios if you can boot from an external firewire drive. Secondly, a distro will have boot disk images which allow various types of installation. So installing from a firewire drive may be supported even if the bios doesn't help. Some have a boot.iso cd image file that will install all of the drivers you might need and provide a menu on the type of installation you are making.
I know that USB external drive installs are possible, but I don't know about firewire. Is the drive a firewire/usb drive? It is a matter of whether the boot kernel and associated initrd file that the distro uses includes the drivers needed to access the drive during installation.