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Old 01-23-2013, 12:35 PM   #1
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Question Boot and use Linux from a RAW image using loop-device

Hello World,

I'd like to boot Linux (Fedora) from a loop-device (RAW Image), much like WUBI installs/boots Ubuntu to/from a hard-disk-image.

Long Description:
I'm currently working/playing on a Windows 7 (64-Bit) + Fedora 17 (64-Bit) + WindowsXP (32-Bit) dual/triple -boot system.

Windows 7 and Fedora 17 are both installed "normally", eg. each on its owm logical volume inside an LVM, while Windows XP is installed on a VHD-Image and booted using VMLite ( The main boot-loader is Grub-2, either booting directly into Fedora 17 or chain-loading into Windows 7 or VMLite-Loader for Windows XP.

Windows XP is installed to a VHD-Image because I only use it occasionally for 64-Bit incompatible applications/games and thus can also easily be backuped/(re)moved (around) to save disk-space. I'm not using a Virtual-Mashine for 3D performance reasons and additionally I'm also missing virtualisation support. (Core 2 Duo Mobile)

What I'd like to do now, is much like my Windows XP VHD-Image, or the way WUBI works for Ubuntu; I'd like to install an older version of Fedora (Fedora 10) which I can easily backup/(re)move (around), by booting it from a RAW image using a loop-device.

Why oh why?
  • I'd like to try out the proprietary catalyst 9.3 driver (Laptop with ATI Radeon X1300 Mobility) performance in comparison to the open-source version. 3D-Performance (and some issues with GPU programing) still have me use Windows along-side linux. *sad-face*
  • Yes I could use a persistent USB-installation, but I think using a loop-device / RAW-Image has certain advantages, eg. quickly deployable on another pc, ect.
  • I'm kind of a curius person and all those cool/tweaky things you can do with linux (and are either a pain-in-the-bottocks or impossibruuu on windows) really interrest me and learning about/to-do this stuff is fun ^.^
  • Because we can / Yes we can! :P

What I know so far:
There was not much information I was able to find about actually booting from a loop-device. There was much information on how to install Grub to a RAW Image, How to create a RAW image and attach it to a loop device, creating ram-disks, ect...

The only information/guide I was able to find, was on 'How to boot Arch Linux from a RAW-Image' and so I tried do go from there:
(Maybe I just didn't search for the right term, I'm open for suggestions here ^^)

I already did install Fedora 10 using VMWare and used qemu to convert the vmdk to a RAW image.

So, Step 1-3 are complete so far.
Step 4 is also clear how and why.

I think I should replace Fedora 10's default Grub-Legacy with Grub 2 (as far as I know Grub-legacy does not support loop devices). I've not yet done that, but this shouldn't be much of a problem.

Where I'm a bit at a loss is Step 5.

As far as my research goes, Arch-Linux (distros) use(s) mkinitcpio to update/create its boot image, while (at least Fedora 17) uses Dracut.

Now, I did read the Dracut manual (, but I'm still not sure how I'd include those scripts under Dracut, especially what to do about the init part (section d)

I appreciate any help give'd would really like to see this working.


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