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astrogeek 12-14-2011 04:36 PM

Archaeology: Installing old box without CD/DVD
 
Hello Slackers! Long time - no post, blame it on age/circumstance/etc. - but a Slacker through it all!

I am having a problem installing SW 12.1 (available, familiar, smaller) on an old box which has no working CD drive and no DVD drive. I have mounted the full SW 12.1 tree (from DVD ISO) on an accessible partition and have managed to get the system to actually boot to the kernel/initrd using lilo. I can mount the SW tree partition (sda5) and can format/read/write the target install partition (hda5) - but setup fails to actually install. I suspect that I am missing something from isolinux at boot but the brain cell is failing me!

Here is the system:

Code:

CPU: 400MHZ PII-MMX
RAM: .5GB
HD1: IDE, hda, Quantum ST320413A - 20GB
hda1 3GB is my boot partition from pre-existing Mandirva install - also
location of my SW kernels and initrd as well as a bootable gparted instance.
hda5 17GB was / from the Mandriva installation, has been reformatted ext3,
seems OK - I plan to use it as the full install / target for SW 12.1.
hda6 1GB swap
HD2: SCSI, sda, Seagate ST318275W - ~20GB
sda1 6GB was /var under Mandriva, reformatted ext3, seems OK
sda5 12GB was /home under mandriva, left intact, location of SW 12.1 DVD tree.

What I now have:

Following Darrel Anderson and info from this forum, I copied the SW kernels and initrd into hda1/swboot/... and added lilo stanzas for huge and hugesmp (while Mandriva was still bootable) - the following are relevant lines - and it boots "OK". (Similar for hugesmp, also boots OK).
Code:

boot=/dev/hda
...
image=/boot/swboot/bzImage-huge
initrd=/boot/swboot/initrd.img
label=slackware
root=/dev/ram0

I added similar lines for a gparted boot and it also works OK also.

My problem:

Using the gparted boot I wiped the old Mandriva root and var partitions and reformatted them ext3 - all OK.

I now boot into the slackware installer, create /sda mount point and mount sda5 for access to the DVD tree - works OK. I also usually mount the hda1 /boot partiton as I have tried different lilo options, but that is not really relevant as far as I can tell.

I can enable the network card using the network script and ifconfig.

But when I run setup, things go wrong. It correctly finds the install sources under /sda/slackware and all packages show in the list. It correctly identifies the target mount partitions (hda5 /,hda6 swap). Then it begins installation and "finishes" in about 5 seconds and tells me to reboot... but obviously nothing has been installed. It is as if it simply falls through the process.

There are other things wrong with the setup utility too. When I try to select 'Configure' it simply says that it is done and wants to reboot. I am never presented any bootloader options, there is no network configuration... it is as if I am missing something.

It seems to me that I should need to install some filesystem in addition to the initrd (from isolinux?) as I had to do for gparted (squashfs) - but I am stumped... I feel like I am missing somethng obvious.

Any help appreciated!

*** UPDATED ***

Still working on it... what I have found:

The setup script does successfully mount the target partition and creates...

var/log/...

directory structure on the partition with series and config files.

I have unpacked the initrd.img to read the setup script... while I can read shell scripts, I cannot claim to understand everything it does - Pat only knows!

But I suspect that it thinks it is on DVD and fails during one of the media remount cases.

Anyone know of any docs for the initrd.img and/or setup script, other than the code itself?

onebuck 12-14-2011 05:45 PM

Member response
 
Hi,

Why not try the 12.1 'usb-and-pxe-installers'
methods. If your BIOS boots from USB then the USB installer method would be the easiest. Look at README_USB.TXT.
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astrogeek 12-14-2011 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by onebuck (Post 4550095)
Hi,

Why not try the 12.1 'usb-and-pxe-installers'
methods.

Thanks onebuck - unfortunately this old box does not support either.

I keep a PXE server running here and that is my prefered method - but no luck for this one.

PDock 12-15-2011 06:14 AM

Don't have an answer for your methodology but think a chroot might be required. That said ver 11.0 was the last to include a /bootdisk directory. Might try downloading that and creating an old fashion floppy boot disk.

fgcl2k 12-15-2011 07:04 AM

I am not sure if it's possible but you could try running setup like this:
Code:

sh -x setup
or maybe like this:
Code:

sh -x setup 2> mylogfile

mrclisdue 12-15-2011 07:16 AM

I must confess that I've faced similar issues a few times when attempting to install from a mounted partition, with no definitive solution. Actually, iirc, a couple of times if *just worked* (after a few attempts), or I ended up installing via ftp.

Which brings me to my point: If you can boot as far as setup, and you have successfully configured your network, have you considered installing via ftp, either from your lan, or a slack mirror?

Sorry that it doesn't solve the actual issue; I'm interested in a solution, also.

cheers,

lleroy 12-15-2011 07:43 AM

I do this all the time:

mount whatever /mnt/dvdimage
cd /mnt/dvdimage/slackware/a

export ROOT=/mnt/hda1
./install-packages

Woodsman 12-15-2011 11:36 AM

Another option is to temporarily move the PII hard drive to a different system with a DVD drive. Install Slackware. Edit the fstab to the correct locations for the PII. Move the drive back to the PII. Not slick or geeky, but works. :)

onebuck 12-15-2011 11:57 AM

Member response
 
Hi,
Quote:

Originally Posted by astrogeek (Post 4550101)
Thanks onebuck - unfortunately this old box does not support either.

I keep a PXE server running here and that is my prefered method - but no luck for this one.

Then I would use the PXE txt file @ 12.1 'usb-and-pxe-installers' as a guide. You may have missed something.
:hattip:

colorpurple21859 12-15-2011 01:27 PM

What directory are you mounting the partition that the packages are stored on? You can't use /mnt, that is what the installer uses. Need to create a new directory and mount the partition where the files are stored to the newly created directory before running setup. Also why are you using the huge kernel instead of the hugesmp kernel? That might be a problem too.

piratesmack 12-15-2011 03:04 PM

I just installed 12.2 from USB on an oldish box using Plop Boot Manager

It's a boot manager with a built-in USB driver, so it can boot from USB even if the BIOS doesn't support it.

astrogeek 12-15-2011 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PDock (Post 4550515)
Don't have an answer for your methodology but think a chroot might be required.

But chroot does not get you anywhere until the filesystem has been installed - nothing to chroot 'to'.

astrogeek 12-15-2011 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrclisdue (Post 4550559)
...If you can boot as far as setup, and you have successfully configured your network, have you considered installing via ftp, either from your lan, or a slack mirror?

Sorry that it doesn't solve the actual issue; I'm interested in a solution, also.
cheers,

Thanks - yea that had occurred to me, but I with everything already on the system it sure seems as if there should be a more direct route!

I have not gotten the setup script itself to work, but I do have it all installed and working now - I'll post it below shortly...

But like you, I am still curious why setup will not work under these conditions - I plan to poke around the script as time permits and will post back if I find the answer!

astrogeek 12-15-2011 04:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Woodsman (Post 4550781)
Another option is to temporarily move the PII hard drive to a different system with a DVD drive. Install Slackware. Edit the fstab to the correct locations for the PII. Move the drive back to the PII. Not slick or geeky, but works. :)

Thanks - and thanks for all your generally helpful articles!

Geeky or not, I have it working now - will post details below...

astrogeek 12-15-2011 04:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by onebuck (Post 4550803)
Then I would use the PXE txt file @ 12.1 'usb-and-pxe-installers' as a guide. You may have missed something.
:hattip:

The target system does not support it, i.e. network hardware is not alive at boot, so I do not see where the PXE docs would be of further help...

On the other hand, I have the feeling that you are trying to "lead me to water" so I reviewed the PXE text file again - but nothing jumped out at me... if you have more clues please point them out!

But I now have it working now - will post details below...


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