Need help installing Linux via command line

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Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by Goatboy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:17 pm
([msg=20651]see Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

Just a little background info:

I've been using Ubuntu for about 4 months now. I DBAN'd my old XP computer and put Ubuntu on it from the Live CD. I know most of the basic commands, and can navigate around directories pretty well.

That said, here's my issue:

About a week ago my dad gave me this OLD laptop. It had '98 on it, but I DBAN'd that as well. I love DBAN for some reason... Anyways, I wanna put Damn Small Linux on it. I choose DSL simply because the hardware likely won't be able to support Ubuntu or any other modern distro. I believe the HD is 10 GB and there's like 64 MB of RAM.

The laptop has a built-in floppy drive, and supports an external CD drive that runs at a whopping 4X SPEED! However, the system doesn't support booting from a CD. I have a working copy of tomsrtbt (http://www.toms.net/rb/) and I am currently booted to that on the laptop.

This is where I am stuck. I need to do one of two things. I either need to boot into a floppy and copy the contents of the DSL Live CD to the HD -OR- Since I can connect the laptop to my modem/router, I want to install DSL from the Internet to my HD. I know both of these are possible, I just can't find any good guides for DSL through Google or by any other means. There are a few guides for Redhat and one other, but not DSL.

I am basically doing this for a few reasons. The first is for fun. I love old systems and messing with them. The second is to have a laptop with Linux on it for coding. And third, I figure I'll at least learn something.

Any useful help is appreciated. I apologize if this isn't the right forum, but since it's a *nix forum I figured it would fit. Feel free to ask any questions if I forgot to give some information. Thanks in advance.

- Goatboy
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Re: Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by mischief on Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:38 am
([msg=20658]see Re: Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

it sounds like you need PLoP boot manager.

you can here it here -> http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager.html

just write the floppy image to a floppy disk, and then you can chain boot to the CD drive.

i have a system that doesn't boot to usb but has a floppy drive, so i just load PLoP and tell it to boot to usb :)
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Re: Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by Goatboy on Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:31 pm
([msg=20713]see Re: Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

mischief wrote:it sounds like you need PLoP boot manager.

you can here it here -> http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager.html

just write the floppy image to a floppy disk, and then you can chain boot to the CD drive.

i have a system that doesn't boot to usb but has a floppy drive, so i just load PLoP and tell it to boot to usb :)

Thank you! That looks like it is exactly what I need. I'll try it out in about an hour when I get home and post results.

-- Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:02 pm --

Update:

I got the PLoP floppy working just fine. I booted up and selected the CD boot option. It said it could not find any drivers. I double-checked the connections and tried again. Same thing. For some reason it is not recognizing the external CD drive. If it matters, the drive is a NEC MultiSpin 3Xp made in 1994.

Once again, thanks for the help. I really would like to see this working.
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Re: Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by mischief on Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:52 am
([msg=20773]see Re: Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

you might consider using GRUB/SuperGRUB instead, but it is much more difficult to use.

you might also consider using Puppy Linux, which is targeted at older machines.
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Re: Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by Goatboy on Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:24 am
([msg=20790]see Re: Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

mischief wrote:you might consider using GRUB/SuperGRUB instead, but it is much more difficult to use.

you might also consider using Puppy Linux, which is targeted at older machines.

Do you think the loader has something to do with the external CD drive not being recognized? There's not a lot of info on the specific drive I'm using, but there's a possibility it may be for music CDs only. I'll try Super GRUB right now and post results.

-- Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:36 am --

Update:

I tried Super GRUB and found it to be a bit confusing at first. After some exploring, I found what I was looking for. As expected, it could not recognize any CD drive at all. I then tried Bootable CD Loader (http://bootcd.narod.ru/ 3rd screenshot) which was recommended in another forum. Its purpose is to automatically detect any available boot locations, be they HD, USB, or in my case, CD. No dice. I'm beginning to think this may be less of a software problem and more of a hardware problem.

Seeing as this was my dad's computer, I may want to ask him how he used to set it up and see if he can get it working. If that fails, I can just try every possible combination of switches and plugs in hopes that one setup works... *does math* That's 320 possibilities... :shock:

The other thing we have yet to talk about is downloading it from the Internet. Assuming I can get a stable connection, can you recommend a floppy distro with sufficient downloading/installing software to just get the packages online and install them to the HD? I'm beginning to think this may be the easiest method. Isn't this how it was done before Live CDs?
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Re: Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by mischief on Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:48 pm
([msg=20797]see Re: Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

i have done quite a bit of research for you, but here is what i have come up with.

however,

i don't garuntee this will work. if it doesn't, don't blame me, because you don't have to do this.

also, if any of this is out of your skill range in linux, google it or just ask here.

specifically for *debian*, here is what you must do...

you need a USB Flash drive that is at least 256MB.

first, you must boot into a linux system, liveCD or not.

ubuntu might be good for this. (yuck.)

download this image here-> http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/dists/lenny/main/installer-i386/current/images/hd-media/boot.img.gz

you must zcat the image to the flash drive, and it CANNOT BE MOUNTED.

you can do fdisk -l to list devices, and 'mount' to see if it is mounted or not.

the command will look like this:

Code: Select all
zcat boot.img.gz > /dev/sdX


where X is a letter, representing the block device. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT DEVICE IT IS. OTHERWISE YOU MIGHT ERASE YOUR IMPORTANT PARTITIONS. (windows.)

then, you must download the netinst image. you can find a copy here -> http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/5.0.0/i386/iso-cd/debian-500-i386-netinst.iso

then you must mount the USB device, and mount the CD image. this is done with the mount command.
info on how to mount the image is here: http://thomer.com/howtos/mount_loopback.html
to mount the usb drive, do this as root:
Code: Select all
mkdir /mnt/flashdrive
mount /dev/sdX# /mnt/flashdrive

where X is the letter of the block device and # is the partition (there should only be one.)

copy the contents of the CD image to the flash drive, using cp, file manager, whatever.

finally, insert the flash drive into the target system. if the BIOS cannot boot the device, you can try using PLoP/SuperGRUB/GRUB. if this does not work, you may have to find a distro that has floppies. i tried looking for floppies for debian, but i didn't search very long and didn't find any :)

if all goes well, you'll be in the debian installer.

good luck.
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Re: Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by Goatboy on Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:58 pm
([msg=20801]see Re: Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

You've been really helpful, and I really appreciate it. The only problem is, the laptop is so old that its BIOS only supports floppy or HD booting... There isn't even a place to put a USB. That's why I'm having such a hard time with this. It's really old hardware. I'm thinking the only way I can do what I want with what I have is by connecting to my router and installing directly off the net.

I really appreciate all the research you did for a stranger. I know most people would just post some sarcastic remark and move on. If I had any idea what to look for, I would have done it myself. All the stuff I found was either a similar problem or assumed hardware I do not have.
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Re: Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by mischief on Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:27 pm
([msg=20805]see Re: Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

ah, well. you can probably do some googling and find an installer for some distro that will work with floppies. debian should, somehow, but you'd need to do some digging.

you could try going on irc.freenode.net and join the channel #debian and ask them for help there. many other distros have channels there as well, so take your pick.

if all else fails, you could try tinfoil hat linux or a nethack floppy.
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Re: Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by aNewHobby4me on Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:40 pm
([msg=20812]see Re: Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

Goatboy wrote:You've been really helpful, and I really appreciate it. The only problem is, the laptop is so old that its BIOS only supports floppy or HD booting...


http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=links#floppy

It was just a quick search, but one of these distros might work for you. Scroll down a bit and you wills see:

Small and Floppy-based Linux Distributions
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Re: Need help installing Linux via command line

Post by Goatboy on Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:44 pm
([msg=20818]see Re: Need help installing Linux via command line[/msg])

aNewHobby4me wrote:
Goatboy wrote:You've been really helpful, and I really appreciate it. The only problem is, the laptop is so old that its BIOS only supports floppy or HD booting...


http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=links#floppy

It was just a quick search, but one of these distros might work for you. Scroll down a bit and you wills see:

Small and Floppy-based Linux Distributions

Thanks for the link, but I've already tried most of those. I think I know what the problem is though. When I wiped the hard drive, the drivers were lost as well. That means that my CD and Ethernet will not work unless I provide the drivers through a floppy. I have found both of the drivers, but only the .exe version. I need to make them into an image to put onto a floppy. Is it possible to just use winimage or something to put the .exe on a floppy and treat it as an image?

I have been following this guide http://www.linuxmigration.com/quickref/install/media.html#blin. I get to the part where I insert the second disk, but my driver is not included in the list.
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