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Manual Install of SILO/Debian

Hello All,

P.S> Sorry about cross-posting, but you never know who has the answer :)

This might be a stupid question but I'm wondering if someone knows (and if it's possible) to install debian on a hard drive manually from a "boot.img" file? 

I have a situation like so:

an x86 machine with Solaris 8 preinstalled on it. It's an appliance from a vendor who's hardened it and/or made it in a way that no matter what one does it always boots into this customized Solaris 8 OS automatically starting their software. I added an extra HDD to it, and would like to install Debian on it. However, no matter what I try, I'm unable to get it to boot off of the network to pick up the boot.img file from the TFTP server. RARP, TFTP etc is all setup and I have successfully installed Debian on a couple of Sparc machines using this setup. However, even after changing the values of boot-device etc using 'eeprom', I am unable to get this machine to boot (or try to boot) from the network. This may be a function of the network cards as well with the configuration assistant setup to not boot off the network and maybe the network doesn't get initialized until after the OS has been initialized. By interrupting the boot process however, I am able to have it try booting from a CD or another HDD which it does detect early on in the boot process.

So, the questions were, 

a) IS it possible for me to get into the BIOS of the machine to turn on network boot on this machine? I don't know what this machine is, it's some custom built chassis with custom everything to create this appliance.
b) OR, I was thinking that maybe I could partition the 2nd HDD while in Solaris, install Debian/SILO on it either through boot.img or some other way and then have it boot from this disk instead into debian and then install whatever I want to install on it.

The software installed on this machine from the vendor is unsupported now and that company/vendor has been bought over twice since we bought this in 2004 and as a result am not able to get any support for it and am unable to make it work the way I want to so the idea is to install another OS on it (since these are very powerful machines) and install whatever I want on it.

Any ideas or help will be appreciated. 


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