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Old 08-28-2004, 02:13 AM   #1
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How to boot a 2.6 kernel using 2 or more floppies

BOOTING A 2.6 KERNEL using 2 or more FLOPPIES

STEP BY STEP for the non-Australians (joke)
1) Install a 2.6 series kernel and you may also need to mkinitrd a ramdisk image.
2) To keep it simple create 3 freshly formatted msdos floppies. That way the vmlinuz can fit onto the floppy without space concerns. EDIT by using msdos I found I don't need some stage 1.5 files.
If you format as ext2 then add its stage 1.5 file to the floppy number 1.
3) Install GRUB the bootloader if you haven't already done so.
4) FLOPPY 1 ----Create with a file structure like this:

/grub/menu.lst ( the actual contents below)

Most files should either be in your /boot/grub folder.
The menu.lst file is in the GRUB source file folder you unpacked with subfoler /docs but this file WILL need amending as below.
The stage 1 (etc) files are in /usr/local/share/grub/i386-pc (or any subfolder of grub if you downloaded a different version).
If you can't find a menu.list file don't worry we are creating one now

5) Create MENU.LST file - filename is in lower case---the lst stands for LIST
copy and paste this into a text editor and save as /mnt/floppy/grub/menu.lst
#####################copy my stuff between the hashes

title floppy
root (fd0)
pause "insert floppy 2 then press enter"
kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda1 ro
pause "insert floppy 3 then press enter"
initrd /initrd.gz

####################### end of file

A) It is highly unlikely your / partition is at /dev/hda1 unless you have been lazy and created only the one partition.
Please check your /etc/fstab file to see what changes to this menu.lst file you need to make.
B) Do not copy the /boot/vmlinuz file as its only a symbolic link to the real file.
Check the reported size of the floppy file..... it should NOT be zero bytes. If it is, you copied a link file. The real one will be about 1.3 Mb
The real file will be /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.7 or something OTHER than vmlinuz.
C) I am not concerned with eye candy so there are no timeouts or colour map files for your entertainment, the reason for the floppy
is your system does not boot from the hd, so don't increase the risk of failure.

a) Open a terminal type su then when prompted type your root password
b) type grub and press enter
c) Your prompt should now show grub then the cursor.
d) type root (fd0) and press enter
NOTE its root space left bracket (above 9) f d zero right bracket (above zero) with no spaces inside brackets.
e) type setup (fd0) and press enter

z You may get errors in the output for step (e) in not finding one or more files, do not be alarmed unless the end line is NOT reading success or succeeded.
zz Feel free to post any errors you get if that last line is not a success.
zzz I can ignore my first error - looking for /boot/grub - as the next line solves it
zzz I can ignore error - could not find a fat stage 1.5 file - as I have no fat fs. Mine is all reiserfs.
7) End of floppy 1 - unmount it and mount 2

9) Copy a real vmlinuz file to floppy and rename it as vmlinuz
10 ) Unmount it and mount 3

11) FLOPPY 3
12 ) Copy initrd.gz to floppy
13 Unmount it

All done now test it please.
I have tested this with Slackware 10 2.6.7 kernel and a real simple initrd.gz
The purpose of keeping the initrd and vmlinuz files to separate floppies and the structure of the menu list file is so you can also have the old 2.4.26 on floppy and edit the grub command line to delete the initrd line, neat eh?? or create a new floppy 1 with the initrd deleted if necessary.
And of course, you may end up with several kernel floppies but you will only need one initrd floppy unless you change hardware???

I do not have SCSI or SATA hardware so can not yet claim guru status, I am hoping to have a new computer with a cd burner and SATA by the beginning of 2005.
If you want, please tell others if you can get your special USB, wireless or other stuff to work, it may help others?

I have a rough tutorial on how to install GRUB

Last edited by aus9; 08-28-2004 at 10:11 AM.
Old 08-28-2004, 12:08 PM   #2
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Distribution: MX 16
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Amendment for EXT2 floppies

1) The above tutorial was for 3 msdos format floppies aka 1440 Kb
2) Being lazy I created a new floppy 1 formatted as ext2 and used the other 2 floppies as is.
3) In the output for setup (fd0) I received a final line of success but even tho I had added a ext2 stage
1.5 file to the above list, I had a error claiming it was non-fatal.
4) So I deleted the file so all files were the same as above msdos floppy 1 and it worked.

I am now looking into my lack of success with a 1680 Kb floppy.
a) su mode fdformat /dev/fd0u1680 gives output that it is formatted and verified
b) currently unable to mount it
c) tried enabling lots of fs options in rc.modules file but not yet successful,,, ah well
Old 08-29-2004, 11:13 PM   #3
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Heres my work in progress on 1680 Kb. Everything looks good on a working computer during creation but the full reboot is failing. (sob sob)


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