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Re: ELF floppy set progress report

On Fri, 23 Feb 1996, Bruce Perens wrote:

> I have the ELF root floppy running and am working on supporting
> Ethernet so that a two-floppy-plus-ethernet install is possible. Once
> that works I can try including PPP and SLIP, though this might wait
> until after 1.1 . Rather than install both "pppd" and "dip" on the
> floppy, is there a version of "pppd" that can set up a SLIP connection?
> Or is there a tiny SLIP client that can use "chat"?

Once you have a connection to a service provider (or wherever) set up you 
can use slattach to change the line discipline to SLIP. This is a tiny 
program (15k) and is part of netbase.

I can imagine a situation where a user has two machines, a CD-ROM drive 
(or whatever) on one of them, and a serial connection between them. 
Setting up a SLIP connection to install over should be fairly easy. It 
may be worthwhile including this as an option even if you don't manage to 
get chat to work.

It should be possible to get users to do the 'chat' with their service
provider manually, and then let them switch to SLIP mode once the
connection is established. This would probably be the simplest solution -
you'd just need a tiny terminal program, and users wouldn't have to 
understand how to write 'chat' scripts.

> So far, the entire root fits on a 1.44 MB floppy without compression,
> and on a 1.2 MB floppy with compression. You can boot the 1.44 MB
> version without using the RAM disk. The script can tell if it is booted
> >from  the ram disk or not, which is important for cases where it should
> offer a choice of floppy drives. I will experiment with 1-floppy
> installs after the 1.1 release.

What options have you put in to support installation from CD-ROM? I know 
that your 0.93 CD-ROMs had the option to install the base system from 
CD-ROM; it'd be nice if this was retained.

It'd also be nice to allow one- or no-floppy installations, by having the
root disk contents available on the CD-ROM. I'm not exactly sure how this
would be achieved; maybe /etc/init on the CD should be a tiny, statically
linked executable that does chroot() and execs the real init, or perhaps 
the kernel provided for one- or no-floppy installations should be hacked 
to activate a pseudo-root for root filesystems on CD as well as umsdos.

A third option would be to make a bootable CD, but there are very few 
BIOSes (if any) in the field that implement this. A thought for the 
future, anyway.

When watching people install Debian from your CD, I've noticed that they 
get slightly worried about having to tell it to install from CD twice; 
once for the base system, and then again for the dselect installation 
method. If the base is installed from CD, could this be saved in 
/var/lib/dpkg/{cmethopt,methods/disk/shvar.cdrom} so that the user isn't 
asked again?

Steve Early

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