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Re: installing debian onto a loopback mounted root fs

On Mon, Nov 08, 1999 at 02:19:21PM -0500, Adam Di Carlo wrote:
> Goswin Brederlow <goswin.brederlow@student.uni-tuebingen.de> writes:
> > Chris Cheney <ccheney@cheney.cx> writes:
> > 
> > > [1  <text/plain; us-ascii (7bit)>]
> > > Has anyone looked into installing debian into a loopback mounted
> > > root partition?  For example having a fileon a fat fs that contains
> > > all of linux, to avoid having to repartition the hard drive.  This
> > > seems like it could be very useful for new users wanting to try out
> > > linux but do not understand how to repartition a drive or don't want
> > > to risk resizing it.
> > 
> > I´m working on something similar, a live-filesystem. It boots via
> > bootdisk, CD or loadlin.exe and tries to find a partition or cdrom
> > containing the live-filesystem as loopback file. That gets attached to 
> > a loopback device and then the booting continues from there.
> > 
> > The reason for a loopback device is that I want to use the e2xt
> > compression filesystem to reduce the size and to have the loopback
> > file on any filesystem including dos.
> Would it be possible to complete the dbootstrap work to support this
> as well? It seems that we're pretty close, and you obviously have
> expertise on what's involved.

I've just noticed there seems to be a bug in mount.  It can't fsck
loopback devices at boot time.  Actually what happens is that, for
example, I have some lines like

/newroot/local-main-x11  /local/linux/debian/dists/potato/main/binary-i386/x11  ext2  rw,loop=/dev/loop5  0  0
/newroot/local-non-free  /local/linux/debian/dists/potato/non-free  ext2  rw,loop=/dev/loop6  0  0
/newroot/local-slink-main-i386-devel  /local/linux/debian/dists/slink/main/binary-i386/devel  ext2  rw,loop=/dev/loop7  0  0

in my fstab.  If I put a non-0 pass number on them, fsck chokes because
it tries to fsck the file, not the loopback device and complains that
it's not a valid ext2 filesystem.  It is, but it's not a block device.
After every reboot, I have to manually, umount, losetup, fsck, losetup
-d, and mount each of these filesystems.

I don't know if this will affect you or not since it seems you'll be
mounting the loopback device even earlier than this to read the root fs.
I've just submitted a bug on it (don't have the number back yet).
This would be a nice feature though - I have some systems on which I'd
use it.

Thanks for all your hard work,
Steve Bowman

> -- 
> .....Adam Di Carlo....adam@onShore.com.....<URL:http://www.onShore.com/>
> -- 
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Steve Bowman <sbowman@goodnet.com><bowmanc@acm.org>
Buckeye, AZ

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