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RE:Help with floppy-less laptop, NON-trivial problem!!!

RE:   I'm trying to install Debian 2.2R3 on a Dell Latitude L400, which
only have one removable storage device attached at any one time. That
is, it cannot have a CD-ROM and floppy attached simultaneously. I
downloaded the three CD ISOs, and the system boots fine with them (I've
tried one and two). However, when I get to the section titled "Install
Operating System Kernel and Modules", I select "cdrom" as the install
medium, insert the first CD as requested, and get the following error:

Mount Failed.
Unable to mount the Rescue Floppy. You may have inserted the wrong
floppy. Please try again. <Continue>

And that's it. Wont' install. I don't have a floppy, let alone a rescue
floppy. My understanding is that Debian will install "floppy-less"
(Based on your documentation) but I don't see anything about this or a
workaround. How do you really make this work? It's driving me crazy.

Note that I've read and re-read your installation help, and have
searched the newsgroups and Google for help.




This problem is Non-Trivial and solvable, but clear directions are
On my new company laptop, that came with a single 8 Gig Win2000
partition, I had to work it through.
The root issue is that whereas
# mount /dev/fd0 -t msdos /instmnt
succeeds even if the auxilllary floppy drive is not attached to its
laptop during boot, 
a subsequent
# mount /dev/hdc -t iso9660 /instmnt
fails, because the /dev/hdc was not mounted during bootup
BECAUSE the single attachment point (on these floppyless laptops) was
used by the bootup floppy drive.
Linux does not (yet) recognize the hard drive which was not resident
during boot up.

Since an increasing number of ultralight notebooks have this NO-FLOPPY,
with one port for FLOPPY or CDROM but not both simultaneously, this
issue SHOULD be adequately dealt with!!!

This was my work around, which is clearly not ready for BIG TIME!
0)  Partition commander on a floppy was used to split the Win2000
partition ($30 buy), because FIPS doesn't work on Win2000 ntfs
partitions.  Does anyone know of a free alternative??
1) Partitions created were:

    Name        Flags      Part Type  FS Type          [Label]       

    hda1        Boot        Primary   NTFS                           
5033.88    Win2000
    hda3                    Primary   Win95 FAT32                     
732.05    Win98
    Extended parition
       hda5                    Logical   FAT16            [           ] 
       hda6                    Logical   Linux
swap                       131.61   
       hda7                    Logical   Linux
ext2                       526.42   /
       hda8                    Logical   Linux
ext2                       756.73   for compiling kernels, etc.
    hda2                    Primary   Linux ext2                     
1077.52      /usr
of which the hda3 is not relevant to this issue (neither Win2000 nor
Linux yet support a driver for my e-camera, so a minimal Win98
installation was necessary only for that, GRRRRR!!)

2) To the hda5 DOSsy D: partition,  I copied the files needed for the
base install, into an image of the Debian disks folders:

$ tree debian
|-- README.txt
|-- base2_2.tgz
|-- idepci
|   |-- drivers.tgz
|   `-- linux
|-- images-1.44
|   `-- idepci
|       |-- driver-1.bin
|       |-- rescue.bin
|       `-- root.bin
`-- install.bat

This was done via ethernet from ftp.deian.org, but could have
alternatively been done be copying from a CDROM under some MS Windows

3a) The Rescue, Root and Driver-1 floppies were prepared with RawWrite2
b) As a substitute for a CDROM, the above debian directory was used for
the base install repository
c) The floppies were used to start the install, specifying for the 2nd
   rescue root=/dev/hda7 , the / install partition.

Alternatively, I could have tried using the D:\Debian\nstall.bat after a
bootup with some DOSsy boot floppy, but I haven't played with that.

4) Next booting from the hard disk had to be arranged, so that CDROM
access would be feasible.
Again the external CDROM drive MUST be attached during a Linux bootup,
to be later recognized!!!
a) For reasons still obscure, the System Commander coming with Partition
Commander would not install on the hard drive.
b) For reasons still obscure, the procedures of the NT+LINUX HOWTO
failed, however the BOOTPART.EXE utlity mentioned therein worked fine,
thus now:
c) a boot through to lilo installed in /dev/hda7 is called by a WIN2000
and the CDROM is useful PROVIDED it is attached during bootup.  When/if
I buy a USB cdrom driver, this nuisance will be obviated.
d) The final stallation could then be enriched off of the CDROM. 
Actually, I don't have a Linux CD.  Rather enrichment used: ethernet to
LAN to Internet to ftp.debian.org

NEEDLESS to say, 99% of Linux Newbies would give up on the above
procedures, so I hope YOU FOLK can work up something simpler!!!.  My
Linux discretionary time is spent as one of the three co-maintainers of
the Lucent Winmodem driver package http://www.heby.de/ltmodem and
associated on-line help, so I can't help further with this problem.  

A few auxilary points:

5) Generally having the Linux swap partition BETWEEN the DOSsy and Linux
partitions is beneficial.
If makes the whole Linux section invisible under MS DOS/WINDOWS, thus
obviating Windows queries:
"Should the partition be formated?"
Which a visiting young relative once did for me, thus wiping out my

6) My /etc/lilo.conf includes:
Usual common stuff plus

# vmlinuz -> boot/vmlinuz-2.4.9-crm

# vmlinuz.old -> /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.9-rf1

# vmlinuz.new --> /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.9-crm

Where the label=3 root.bin is just the image of the 2nd install floppy,
with its nice collection of rescue utilities.
Thus when there is an occassional BAD crash during  development work,
one can boot into ram disk image of root.bin and run therefrom,
# e2fsck /dev/hda7 (or whatever) 
and be back to work quickly.  
This should I thing be recommended as a followup to the base
if not included therein as a default of the install.
Most Newbies remain clueless on Rescue floppy procedures!



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