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Bug#120950: USB boot-floppies

Package: boot-floppies
Version: potato

Bug #1: There is no way to install Debian via a USB floppy drive.

I have a Sony notebook (PCG-C1VE) with external USB floppy (and NO
built-in CD drive). When using the potato boot floppies, the kernel is
loaded without any problems from the rescue floppy. However, it will
prompt for the root disk, which in turn it will not find, because the
USB floppy is not available at that time.

Bug #2: loadlin (from the DOS partition) also fails. It will load
kernel and initrd (it displays lots of ... for both files), but then
hangs immediately with nothing but a black screen. (Even Ctrl-Alt-Del
does not work there.)

(The first workaround was to install Redhat - when putting the ISO
images on the DOS partition, Redhat will install with a single disk.)

Suggestion #3: I've tried to install Debian using a currently running
Linux. On a different (desktop) machine I unpacked base2_2.tgz and
modules.tgz into a clean ext2 partition, put a kernel there and
configured it using lilo from the already-installed system. Debian
would then boot smoothly, only to tell me that I'm "trying to boot an
unconfigured system" and to put in the rescue disk. On #debian-boot I
got the hint to remove /sbin/unconfigured.sh. (I haven't tried yet,
but I'm sure it will work.)

-> It would be convenient if there was a way to install Debian just by
unpacking a tar archive. Configuring it should be done at the first
time the system is booted, or by a simple shell script (running on any
*ix). The Debian boot howto should include a section on what to do in
this case. (BTW: NetBSD installs via tar, which is very convenient
when setting up an NFS root. The NetBSD install README is very
comprehensive there.)

(Adventure #4: I will later try to replace my notebook's Redhat with
Debian on the SAME partition. Maybe there could be some hints for
people trying this.)

Thanks... Christoph
Christoph Berg <cb@heim-d.uni-sb.de>
Wohnheim D, 2405, Universität des Saarlandes, 0681/9657944

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