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Old 01-29-2004, 05:18 PM   #1
madfitz
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create your own driver disk


I haven't seen much/any help on how to create a custom driver disk. I guess most distro's come with the most common drivers available. However there may come a time when someone will need to make a driver disk for boot-up.

There is of course "cat dd.img > /dev/fd0" from the image directory (of the redhat distro... dd being the name of the driver image file). However what does one do if the hardware is newer than the driver the distro has or a different chip set.

Working on a Rocks based cluster we've come across this problem with the on board 3com Marvell 940-MV00 with the AsusTek P4P8X.

Since this problem I've been looking everywhere for an answer to this problem and it seems the best solution (only solution) as Rocks will not install w/o a nic first, is to build our own driver disk.

There seems to be very little support for creating a custom linux driver disk. This would seem like something that should be addressed.

I've started this thread in hopes that someone will have an answer, link, tutorial, any help to help those having similar problems.

Thanks to all who respond!!!!
 
Old 01-29-2004, 07:58 PM   #2
wapcaplet
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I'm not too sure how to make a standalone driver floppy, though once I needed a custom module, and all I had to do was compile it (along with the kernel), copy the resulting object file from /lib/modules/2.4.xx to the floppy, and then copy that to the same location on the target system; might need to re-run 'depmod -ae' so the kernel knows about the module, and then 'insmod' or 'modprobe' the new module.

I found this howto for making a custom RedHat boot disk, which appears to use a complete bootable kernel image with the needed modules; it should be applicable to other distributions as well.
 
Old 01-30-2004, 02:54 PM   #3
madfitz
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Thanks for the link. I'll read through it as soon as I can.

The reason I stressed creating a driver disk is due to the problem with some distro's that will not install w/o certain drivers available (such as an on board lan card when installing a cluster distro such as Rocks, Biobrew, etc.) These will not install w/o the correct drivers for the nic card. The problem is these distro's are built on older versions of RedHat and do not have certain drivers for more modern devices leaving the user with seemingly only the option to use a driver disk.
 
Old 01-30-2004, 04:51 PM   #4
wapcaplet
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Yeah, I've been in the same situation, which is why I had to create the custom floppy I mentioned. In that situation, I was running an older kernel and needed to include support for a PCMCIA network card that was unsupported by that kernel.

Without knowing the procedure you're using to boot those distros, I suppose you have at least two options: Compile a kernel module for the hardware you need to support, and load that module during installation (either by dropping to maintenance mode, if possible, or by finding a way to load the module when the installation boots up, through the use of LILO boot parameters), or create a customized version of the distro that includes the necessary kernel modules. I'm not too sure of how the second option might work, though I did something similar one time, by mounting the installation image (a floppy disk image, in that case) as a loopback device, and copying an updated kernel to it. In the case of a CD-ROM installer, you may be able to rip the ISO image from the CD, mount the ISO using a loopback device, make the necessary changes, unmount, and then burn the new ISO to a new CD. It's probably harder to do this, rather than the first option, and may require some extra reading and learning, but it might be better in the long run if you plan on installing to a lot of machines.
 
  


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