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Old 12-21-2005, 03:18 AM   #1
Registered: Aug 2002
Location: san jose, CA
Distribution: SuSE 8.1, 64Studio Debian
Posts: 31

Rep: Reputation: 15
Installing Ubuntu on linux laptop w/ no CD?

I have an HP Omnibook 900 (Pentium 3 from 1999) laptop currently running SuSE 8.1 which I think I'd like to swap over to Ubuntu. I'm very willing to lose everything on the laptop, as I have another system with everything backed up, but there's one catch - I don't have an easy CD drive for the laptop. It has no built-in drive, and the one external one I have is a SCSI one requiring SCSI and PCMCIA support in order to run. If it helps, a floppy disk is easy to get/use, same for an ethernet connection.

What's my best option for swapping distros here? I have another linux system (64Studio Debian on a P4 desktop) on a home network with my laptop, so I'm thinking I could almost attempt something like this:

1. Download Ubuntu install disk .iso on Debian desktop
2. Partition out (or simply erase an old Windows partition) the laptop
3. Install Ubuntu install .iso to laptop's empty partition via NFS mount
4. Shut down laptop, restart and edit BIOS to boot the partition with the .iso
5. Attempt booting the install .iso on the hard disk and go from there?

The question is, will this work? Is there a better way to do it from a CD? I previously used install floppies from SuSE that contained the basic drivers I needed (PCMCIA and SCSI) to run my external CD drive, but I don't know of a way to do that with the Ubuntu install disk.

Alternatively, I could build some sort of bootable Debian/Ubuntu rescue/install floppy disk, boot from that just enough to get online and mount (via NFS) the install .iso on my desktop system. Would this work? If so, where could I find a floppy image to do what I need?
Old 12-21-2005, 11:40 AM   #2
Registered: Feb 2005
Posts: 95

Rep: Reputation: 17
I've used this web site as a guide to installing Ubuntu over the net: Install GNU/Linux without any CD, floppy, USB-key, nor any other removable media

The Ubuntu specifics are oriented towards hoary, the previous ubuntu release, and I have installed hoary w/o any problems several times.

Last weekend, I installed breezy (current ubuntu release) and it worked but I had a little trouble towards the end of the process. At the end of the automated instal process, I ended up with a command line login prompt. I used aptitude to install the display manager ( I think it was xdm ) and a few other things to get a working desktop.

Good Luck.

- Dave


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