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Old 11-30-2004, 04:18 PM   #1
jbrush
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Mandrake 10 how to make a boot floppy?


Hi all,

I installed Mandrake 10 today. I am one who tinkers, and not a linux expert.

I chose to use a boot floppy as always, and when I got done with the installation, for reasons I kind of understand, I have accidentally put LILO on the /mount paritition, rather than a floppy.

I was dissapointed to see that I seem to have to reinstal or upgrade in order to get back to the place where I can make the boot floppy. Well, I chose upgrade, and it took 15 minutes and all 3 CDs to get back to making the boot device, at which point the install accessed the floppy, and then died.

There must be a faster way to make a bootable floppy than to go through the entire installation or upgrade process, but I cannot find it.

Any advice or pointers on how I can do this in a reasonable amount of time would be appreciated.

Thanks,

John
 
Old 11-30-2004, 05:16 PM   #2
mjrich
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Put a blank floppy in, then (from a shell) use
Code:
mkboot [-r rootpartition] [-i] [kernel]
...and have a quick glance at the mkboot man page (man mkboot). Is there any particular reason you want to boot from a floppy, rather than installing Lilo in the MBR etc. ?

Cheers,

mj

Last edited by mjrich; 11-30-2004 at 05:19 PM.
 
Old 11-30-2004, 06:29 PM   #3
jbrush
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"Put a blank floppy in, then (from a shell) use
Code:
mkboot [-r rootpartition] [-i] [kernel]
...and have a quick glance at the mkboot man page (man mkboot)."

Thanks for the help.

I am not sure how to get to a shell mode when I cannot boot Linux. Nor do I know how to read a man page without being in linux.

" Is there any particular reason you want to boot from a floppy, rather than installing Lilo in the MBR etc. ?"


Yes, for just this very reason :-) I do not have a lot of luck with Linux. I have tried many distros over the years, and am dissapointed with the speed, and basically overall Linux, but I keep trying new stuff when it comes out, so I just make a bootfloppy rather than repartition my hard drive to make room for a bootable partition within the 1024 cyl limit. I already have Win2K and OS/2 in that particular space. I know there are many options for multbooting, but heck, if I cannot even get into Mandrake, I am not really up to go through all the multiboot configurations and setups. <g>

Given a bootable floppy, and some time to evaluate what Mandrake 10 has to offer, I would be happy to jump the hoops necessary to be able to multiboot and choose Linux along with the other systems.

This one has me bummed already, as its been six hours and I cannot even get it to boot. :-( I have cleared the partitions and reinstalled four times, and so far, the only install that has gone to completion is the first one, which I guess I screwed up and put the loader on the /dev/hdb1 mount partition by accident. Since then, every install has failed at the "make bootloader floppy" screen and just hung there. I gave up on each one after about ten minutes of waiting.

A small clue may be that when I booted back into Win2K, it detected and installed the hardware for my floppy drive, which means it got removed somehow. Don't know if Mandrake did it, or what, but it seems odd that Mandrake failed to make the floppy, and windows thinks I put a new floppy into the system.

Thank you for the help. If I can get to a shell, I can do what you said, but how do I get there?

John
 
Old 11-30-2004, 08:07 PM   #4
mjrich
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Well, it's great that you're giving Linux a go. It is a steep learning curve, but well worth it.

I'm not sure why Mandrake should hang when you're trying to make a boot floppy during the install process, but the two most likely possibilities are that the floppy disk is worn out (more common than most people realise), or there is something fishy with the floppy drive - a bad connection, or dust, etc. (Did the floppy whirr at all when you were at the boot floppy stage, or did it just hang without a sign of anything happening ?)

Personally, I'd just go ahead and install the system with Lilo in the MBR. Lilo is simple to configure, and if you change your mind it can easily be removed. Alternatively, you can make a boot disk using the Rawrite utility at http://uranus.it.swin.edu.au/~jn/linux/rawwrite.htm. Another possibility is to simply try out linux using one of the 'live' distributions, such as Mandrake's "Move" cd.

In my experience however, you tend to learn the most not by reinstalling a system, but by reading and then working with what you have in front of you. It may seem painful, but you do learn about the nitty-gritty details pretty quickly that way...

Good luck,

mj
 
Old 12-01-2004, 10:01 AM   #5
jbrush
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"Well, it's great that you're giving Linux a go. It is a steep learning curve, but well worth it."

I have been around that curve many times :-) as I keep coming back a few times a year to see what is new, and if things are improving.

"I'm not sure why Mandrake should hang when you're trying to make a boot floppy during the install process, "

Well, I found out why, and its hard to take. If the diskette is in the drive when I boot the CD and install Mandrake, it will create the bootable floppy. If the drive is empty, and I only put in the disk at the time I attempt to make the bootable floppy, it will fail. I have done it several times each way, at great expense of my time, and that is the issue. The install doesn't mount the floppy drive if it does not have a disk in it??? Hard to believe, but that is what I am seeing...... What a colossal waste of my time this has been.

"Personally, I'd just go ahead and install the system with Lilo in the MBR. Lilo is simple to configure, and if you change your mind it can easily be removed. Another possibility is to simply try out linux using one of the 'live' distributions, such as Mandrake's "Move" cd."

Well c'mon now, I just hassled a friend to get me these 3 CDs on his broadband connection, and would rather not embarass linux by going back and saying that it sucks, how about getting me something else..... :-)

Mandrake, so far, runs like molasses (well, KDE and Gnome do) and is unusable at the moment beyond playing around because its so slow, so I cannot image how bad the CD version would be. I have Knoppix, and it suffers the same fate.

Installing in the MBR not an option as Linux is resides beyond the 1024 cyl limit and I have been down that road before where I butchered by system startup to do that, only to find I had overlooked that small detail. If I ever get it running fast enough, and find features I can use, I will reconfigure my system partitions to make it boot with the other OS's, but for now, its just evaluation and in the past, the floppy has always been the best way to go, for me.

"In my experience however, you tend to learn the most not by reinstalling a system, but by reading and then working with what you have in front of you. It may seem painful, but you do learn about the nitty-gritty details pretty quickly that way... "

Thanks much. I don't have anything in front of me but 3 CDs and a floppy (now a CD) so there is no place to go for help outside of the net. In the middle of the night, when I find that I am in 800X600 mode and there is no option for increasing it, the only way to increase the resolution of the screen is to reinstall because the quick advice I got only said "edit the xorg.conf" No word on what to add, or what to do when I see that I have no xorg.conf <shrug> Can't afford a book (don't ask, hard times <g>) and until I could at least get INTO linux, I had no access to the man files. At least now I can do that.

I appreciate the assist.

Thanks a lot,

John
 
Old 12-01-2004, 02:12 PM   #6
opjose
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Quote:
Mandrake, so far, runs like molasses (well, KDE and Gnome do) and is unusable at the moment beyond playing around because its so slow, so I cannot image how bad the CD version would be. I have Knoppix, and it suffers the same fate.
You haven't posted your system specs so it's hard to see why you may have performance complaints....

Out of the box Mandrake is somewhat ill "tuned".

The first thing you need to do is to edit the /etc/lilo.conf file and add the word "compact" (no quotes) at the top.

Then as root run "lilo".

Next you should (MUST!) edit /etc/sysconfig/harddisks and uncomment ALL of the indicated lines.

If Xwindows doesn't work properly for you, you should do this.

1) Log in as root from the text console [CTRL][ALT][F1]

2) At the prompt type in

service dm stop

3) Now run XFDrake as root

Keep trying different combinations until and test each one until thinks look right.

Try to avoid utilizing the VESA display modes which are VERY slow. You really want to use an accelerated driver instead.

Test each configuration and make sure you can see the rainbow test screen.

Save if so...

4) As root disable CUPS from starting until you have everything properly configured...

type in

chkconfig --del cups

Now reboot.
 
Old 12-02-2004, 04:02 PM   #7
jbrush
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Quote:
Originally posted by opjose
You haven't posted your system specs so it's hard to see why you may have performance complaints....
Well, it was kind of an offhanded comment, but I will take you up on the help :-) My machine is a mere 550 PII and 384 Megs.

The only frame of reference I have is win2K and OS/2 which zoom along quite nicely. All the linux distros I have tried run rather slow in comparison (KDE, Fluxbox, ICEWin, and some others) What is curious is that I installed this same Mandrake on my friend's machine, which is a PIII 1G and 512M ram, and it runs pretty much as his windows XP on that same machine. I guess I need an upgrade more than anything else, but its odd to me how two OS's run just fine on my machine, but Linux versions are slow. Slow means two or three seconds to open kPPP, and more than 15 seconds to get to Open Office. It varies, but I would have thought it to be relative when comparing it to other OS's on the same box <shrug>

I have made the Lilo changes you suggested, and will do this as soon as I know how to get back into my existing session if I stop the display manager. Won't this leave me hanging without a desktop? :-)
--------------------------------
1) Log in as root from the text console [CTRL][ALT][F1]

2) At the prompt type in

service dm stop

3) Now run XFDrake as root

-------------------

I guess since every distro/desktop I have tried has been sluggish, it means my PC just doesn't have enough juice to run Linux. One day, I will upgrade.... ;-)

Thanks for the pointers.


John
 
Old 12-02-2004, 05:21 PM   #8
jbrush
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I tried to run the XFDrake as suggested, but there does not seem to be an executable of that name on my system.

I have a /usr/share/mdk/xfdrake with some files, but none of them are xfdrake that I can run.

????

Thanks,

John
 
Old 12-02-2004, 05:33 PM   #9
mjrich
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What happens when you type xfdrake, or
XFDrake (as root) into a console ?
 
Old 12-02-2004, 06:18 PM   #10
opjose
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It's

XFdrake

BTW: Vis-a-vis your friend.

Even though there is seemingly a difference of only 50%, his PIII is actually almost three times faster than your PII.

A 1gHz P-III is roughly analogous to a 1.7gHz Pentium 4 in performance.

The extra memory also makes a significant difference.

Couple this with KDE's rather large memory overhead...

Then 15 seconds for OpenOffice is perfectly normal.

It takes that long on my 3.0gHz P4.

There are several reason for this, mostly due to how it was compiled and the libraries it utilizes.

It's a REAL memory hog.

2-3 seconds is not bad for your unit on other KDE applications.

The big question is if your display is running in accelerated mode.

If it is, you should be able to pull up the OpenGL screensavers and run things like Chromium, etc.

Can you?
 
Old 12-02-2004, 07:15 PM   #11
jbrush
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"XFdrake"

Oops. I will look again, but I found nothing on the install that was xfdrake, no matter what case, upper or lower....

"Even though there is seemingly a difference of only 50%, his PIII is actually almost three times faster than your PII."

On his machine, Mandrake runs about as quick as Win2K. On my machine, Mandrake is a whole lot slower than Win2K. I know the CPU can matter in more ways than just flops, but Mandrake on his machine is useful, its really not useful on mine beyond checking it out. I will continue to tweak it, and want a smaller footprint desktop anyway, but still, the diffferences are really obvious. Win and OS/2 run great, Linux distros are way slow. On his machine, Win2K runs great and so does the same Linux.

"The extra memory also makes a significant difference."

I am sure it does. Nothing I have done yet has come close to using up all my memory. Free always reports over 100megs free as I am playing around

"Couple this with KDE's rather large memory overhead..."

That one I know about :-)

"2-3 seconds is not bad for your unit on other KDE applications."

If that is normal, then I will have to just put this off till a new PC appears on my desk <g>

"The big question is if your display is running in accelerated mode."

Makes sense.

"If it is, you should be able to pull up the OpenGL screensavers and run things like Chromium, etc.

Can you?"

Don't have a clue. Is it a screen saver I can install from the basic installation, or do I need to go find it?

Thanks for the information.

John
 
Old 12-02-2004, 07:59 PM   #12
opjose
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Try

urpmi chromium

Then give it a few minutes after it's finished to add it to your games/arcade menu.

Post your "free" output too.
 
Old 12-02-2004, 10:44 PM   #13
jbrush
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Quote:
Originally posted by opjose
Try

urpmi chromium

Then give it a few minutes after it's finished to add it to your games/arcade menu.

Post your "free" output too.
Wow, that pretty much killed my system :-) It opened, and about every few minutes the display would update, but I would say that it doesn't run on my computer :-)

Here is free, nothing open but KDE:

total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 385836 375436 10400 0 19768 263304
-/+ buffers/cache: 92364 293472
Swap: 511520 0 511520

I am a bit taken aback by the amount of RAM Mandrake/KDE uses just to get to the deskopt. Is that saying that it used 375megs just to boot up and sit there? I still don't understand it all :-)

I am aware tho, that my machine doesn't have the resources and CPU to really use Mandrake 10. I am still playing around and seeing what is new. I do this about twice a year with a distro I get when a friend of mine let's me on his broadband connection. Until I can afford a new computer, it will have to just be an excercise of playing around, and not really using Linux for anything.

I found the XFdrake, ran it, recognized it, but don't know what I can do with it that will affect my desktop speed. Just changing resolution and color depth? I must be missing something on that one.


Appreciate the help and advice.

John
 
Old 12-03-2004, 05:35 AM   #14
opjose
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What video card do you have? And how much memory is on it?

I may have forgotten to ask this...
 
Old 12-03-2004, 01:25 PM   #15
jbrush
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Quote:
Originally posted by opjose
What video card do you have? And how much memory is on it?

I may have forgotten to ask this...

Nah, my fault. I should have provided that at the beginning. :-)

Its a Matrox Millenium. PCI. I think its 4 Megs, but 2Megs also sounds familiar. Either way, not much video memory.

John
 
  


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