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Re: pcmcia on the boot disks

On Mon, Jun 28, 1999 at 11:40:38AM -0700, Sean 'Shaleh' Perry wrote:
> Ok, how do we fix this?  This is seriously important to me and the continued
> growth of debian.  If I have to run and grab floppies whenever we need to
> install on the VAIO, life will not be good.
Sorry for just talking instead of the preferred Linux way of "showing the
code" (serious lack of time). These are a few thoughts on this:

a) for machines bootable from CD
- Make a bootable CD with a 2.88MB bootimage. This should be enough for a
  kernel+rootfs(as initrd) to contain everything needed for pulling up the
  rest. This kernel won't need sound, no routing, ELF is enough, no joystick,
  no video, no mice, ext2 and ROMFS only. We can get at the rest in a later
  stage of the installation process.
- Add a 1.44MB bootimage for BIOSes that don't support the bigger ones.
  Move a few more drivers to modules that need to be loaded from floppy.
  There must be a penalty for uncooperative hardware :-) I suggest to
  put the less common network and scsi drivers there. BTW: It would be
  useful to have a list stating the popularity of supported hardware.

  Ooops, what if there is no floppy? Ok, this might mean a third or even a
  fourth bootimage, with an assorted choice of drivers to cover all machines
  that still have neither floppy nor parallel port nor network available.
b) for machines bootable from floppy
- Like a), point 2, but the bootimages are on floppy, and a few unusable
  drivers could be on a second floppy
c) are there machines that boot neither from floppy nor from CD?

We should still support installation to low memory machines (where I
consider <8MB as low memory) but the installation might become far less
convenient on those, either juggling with floppies or making a specialized
bootdisk. Which is rather simple yet for debian, but could even be made
accessible to the average user that has access to a second machine: Let her
select the hardware and construct bootdisk with everything necessary. But
thats another project and I digress ...

The concept is a two stage installer:
1) boot and load a system that is capable of just running the userspace
   programs needed to make the kernel able to access some mass media
   or network connection, i.e. isapnp, pcmcia cardmgr, pppd, whatever
   may be necessary for USB, etc. Hope this fits on a bootable image.
2) Load all other drivers and other kernel modules from there and continue
   with the fully enabled kernel.


Plug-and-Play is really nice, unfortunately it only works 50% of the time.
To be specific the "Plug" almost always works.            --unknown source

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