Thu Sep 30 12:07:12 2004 Installing
Fedora Core 2 without a bootable CDROM drive
Posted by Dirk Hart
Search Keys: installation
The other day I got my hands on an old Pentium 90 server. It's
an old machine but so well made I still really like it. Anyways It
had an install of Caldera OpenLinux on it, which ran quite well,
but that I wanted to try Fedora Core 2. I ordered up some CDROMs
which arrived in due course so I slapped Disc 1/4 Install in the
CDROM drive and looked around for a bootable image which wasn't too
hard to find as it was in /images. Curious though that the size of
the image was 6,291,456 bytes - far larger than any floppy I ever
saw! How was I going to solve this little dilemma?
A little rummaging around on the 'net showed that I could hack
at LILO (which is what was used by OpenLinux) and achieve a
satisfactory result. So I did put in stuff that seemed sensible at
the time and rendered the machine unbootable. I suppose I could
have taken out the OpenLinux bootable install diskette and made the
system bootable again, but I didn't want to muck around with
OpenLinux, I wanted to muck around with Fedora.
A little more rummaging around on the net revealed that LoadLin
is a commonly accepted way of running linux. It seems to be
intended for folks who like to boot linux from DOS or Windows. But
I had also noted while surfing the web that the initial program to
run is vmlinuz and that it requires initrd.
vmlinuz is a virtual memory (hence vm) linux kernel that is
compressed (hence z). This compressed kernel has a 'self-extractor'
built in so the first thing it does is expand itself back into
vmlinux. initrd is the bit that loads an initial ram disk (hence
initrd). The ram disk contains drivers and such that may be needed
to run your machine.
So I downloaded LoadLin and put it onto a DOS formatted floppy.
And with a certain remorse I took out the Windows Emergency Boot
diskette that has CDROM drivers on it and started it up. The floppy
drive showed up as A:, the ramdisk as C: and the cdrom as D:. So I
flipped out the boot diskette and whipped in the loadlin diskette
and typed in: