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Installing from CD image on disk

The following is of interest to me: On a user help forum, someone was trying to find a way to install Debian on a laptop with no CD drive and no network connection supported by the available kernels or installs. Apparently he had a link by which he could download from, say, Windows, but could write only to floppies. I considered this, and testing with my own Woody install floppies and a single Woody CD image, I confirmed for myself that if he could safely partition his disk (even if he had to temporarily wipe out his Windows and reinstall), his problems would be solved (with Woody). Using only the first two ("rescue" and "root") floppies, I had no difficulty, by exiting to a shell, mounting the vfat partition and, in turn, the ISO image filesystem. I returned from the shell and used this as my source for the drivers as well as the full install. This information would have been very useful to those trying to install Woody, but I have not confirmed that it can be done from Sarge install floppies, since they seem to be unable to recognize my hard disk or any of its partitions, even if I explicitly supply boot arguments to mount one as root and give the file system (it complains there is no such valid device). And there seems to be no option to install from the hard disk anyway. This would be murder for me if I had to use this method, since I have only an Intel PCI modem which I believe still requires a 3rd party (Intel) driver to use in Debian. But my hardware concerns are not why I wrote you. I wrote because the information as to the method I have described would have been useful to point out in the Woody documentation, which I think it may not have been (perhaps I am wrong; after all, installing from hard disk was an option), and because a similar installation process and documentation should be available with Sarge; there would be no need then to worry about how to burn a downloaded CD image to disk, until you are good and ready, provided your disk is partitioned or has unallocated space.

Don Woodhouse
Wilmington, DE

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