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Re: Debian installer for Linuxcare rescue CD

Hi Seth...

Seth David Schoen wrote:
> 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.

I think the files that it takes to install the base system come to about:

joeyh@master:/debian/debian/dists/stable/main/disks-i386/current>du -c
drv1440.bin resc1440.bin base2_1.tgz 
1447    drv1440.bin
1447    resc1440.bin
9765    base2_1.tgz
12659   total

> (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
> image.

Actually, I remember hearing somewhere that El Torito does support this. (I
could be mistaken) Unfortunatly, I don't think many bioses do, if any.

> 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 think it is, though it's going to be quite hackish. 

It's not too hard to get from just base2_1.tgz to a chrooted Debian system
on any linux platform. You just unpack it, twiddle a comple of files that
the normal install modifies (like I think some files under /root, and in
your case things like /etc/timezone, and /etc/init.d/network.)

You can chroot into the base debian system at this point and it's basically
a complete debian system. Then you have to make it bootable. This will
involve pulling apart drv1440.bin, getting the tarball inside it that
contains kernel modules, and installing it into the appropriate place, then
pulling apart resc1440.bin and getting the kernel image from it and
installing that, then possibly setting up LILO.

On the other hand, you might be better off if you just do a Debian install,
tar that up to put on the CD, and extract that onto your target system, and
finish by fixing up lilo.

> 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.

I just wish they had an average liftime of longer than a week in my wallet
before they get cracked. :-)

see shy jo

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