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Re: Boarding SuSE with Debian

On Wed, Aug 07, 2002 at 07:55:26PM +0200, Florian Bantner wrote:
> my mission is following: Have rented a cheap server from
> an cheap hoster for a customer of ours. Only drawback: It
> is running suse linux. Since the provider is so cheap, he
> tells us: Do with the server what you want. And so I want
> Debian to take over. The problem:
> 	1. No access to neither floppy nor cd-rom
> 	2. Only service I get is pressing the reset button
> 	3. The other service is to reinstall base suse-
> 	   installation if the server fails to come up. 
> 	   This will cost me 70 EUR/USD
> What is the best way to get Debian on this box? And how
> can I avoid the reboot->fail->reinstall->pay->tray again
> trap?

If the machine has a secondary HDD or unused partition, or at least
two partitions, you can install Debian parallel to the existing SuSE.

1. Install a minimal Debian system on some local box. Remember to set
   everything (kernel modules, IP address, etc.) just as you would do
   on the server.
2. tar.gz the whole installation into one big archive (ommiting /proc).
3. Copy the archive to the server.
4. Create a new filesystem on spare partition/disk (or if SuSE already
   occupies several partitions move the data, so that one of the
   partitions is free).
5. Untar the archive to the fresh filesystem.
6. Correct the entries in Debian's /etc/fstab to match those on remote
7. In SuSE's lilo.conf add a section with Debian's boot and set it
   as default (but still leave SuSE section).
8. Make sure you have "prompt" and "timeout" options in lilo.conf.
9. Run "lilo".
10. Examine the Debian setup carefully, again.
11. Reboot the machine.
12. Pray/drink a coffee while pinging the machine.
13. If it comes up -- you have a Debian system and gradually you can
    remove SuSE.
14. If it doesn't come up -- ask the ISP to go to the console, reset
    the machine and choose SuSE at lilo prompt. I hope they can
    do it for free.

Some caveats: /proc filesystem, swap partition, lilo, fstab, sshd/telnetd.

Good luck!

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