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Debian installer for Linuxcare rescue CD


I work for Linuxcare and am one of the main developers of the Linuxcare
Bootable Business Card, which has a new version (1.2) coming out very

The Bootable Business Card is a bootable rescue CD-ROM in the size and
shape of an ordinary business card (compatible with the overwhelming
majority of CD-ROM drives which support "mini-CD").  It contains a
fairly complete rescue system, which much more software than any of the
floppy-based rescue disks.  It's become fairly popular; Linuxcare
has them produced in large quantities (thousands at a time) and gives
them away at trade shows and to the general public as a promotion.
We've received favorable reviews in such diverse places as Linux Weekly
News and alt.sysadmin.recovery. :-)

Many of us here are big fans of Debian.  For quite some time, we've
been discussing the possibility of including a small but general-purpose
Debian installer which could be used to install a Debian base system
(whereupon the user could use apt-get to expand the installed system into
a larger system).

Although I've installed Debian from floppies a number of times, I haven't
had the opportunity to study the installation process in detail.  We have
a couple of constraints on the Bootable Business Card:

(1) We have at most 20 MB free, and probably substantially less than
that, because of the small physical size of the CD.  I don't believe
that we have the physical space for anything except the base system.

(2) We can't make a Debian floppy image stored on the CD bootable,
because we are already booting our own custom floppy image, and it
appears that the El Torito standard only supports one bootable

Is it feasible to perform an installation under these conditions, if
we had, say, base2_1.tgz or base2_2.tgz (plus the contents of the
appropriate drivers disk) available somewhere on the CD-ROM?

I would be happy to tweak the installer a bit, as necessary, but I'm not
familiar with the installation process or what assumptions it makes.
So, if the adaptation is possible, I could use some advice on adapting
the existing install code.

We would be very pleased if we could manage to include a Debian installer
on the business card; lots of people have taken to carrying them around
in their wallets, so that they have access to them at any time, and it
would be neat if "installing Debian" could be added to the list of
capabilities of the system.

Seth David Schoen <schoen@loyalty.org>  | And do not say, I will study when I
     http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/    | have leisure; for perhaps you will
     http://www.loyalty.org/   (CAF)    | not have leisure.  -- Pirke Avot 2:5

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