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Re: Boarding SuSE with Debian

I'm not subscribed to this list, so i hope my message gets through.
I heard about this Thread in IRC.

I managed in the past to convert a 1&1 Root-Server (a cheap server
product here in germany) on the fly from SuSE to Debian. In theory
you could just boot the Rescue-System (which will start some kind
of a Debian over the Network into a ram disk) and replace the
contest - you cannot destroy the rescue system so no problem here.

But when i attempted to convert, the rescue system was down for
maintenance and i didn't wanted to wait. So i've gone the hard
approach which in fact wasn't that hard anyway.

So here is what i successfully did: I installed a debian on a spare
hard disk at home. I compiled a kernel for the needs as on the 
target system and i build a new kernel with network card support
built in (not module - just to be sure). I configured everything so
the system should come up cleanly.

--- short interruption for people with 1&1 Root-Servers: ---

  One point here for people who might read this and want to try this
  with a 1&1 Root-Server: 1&1 has a strange network configuration
  with a netmask of /32 (= The preinstalled SuSE is
  configured with DHCP, but i strongly recommend going a approach with
  static configured IP. At least pump will NOT accept this config and
  your machine will fail to come up. But the static approach is not
  without tricks too, you need to use the pointopoint keyword i a
  way like this:

  iface eth0 inet static

--- now back to the generic approach ---

You should configure the debian to a point where everything works
as expected. Don't forget to install SSHd, and add a user from
which you can login! Otherwise: FUBAR.

After i setup the system, and rebooted into it to make sure that
the network configuration will come up as it should in the target
system, i made a .tar.bz2 from the System (don't add /proc, /mnt,
/floppy, /cdrom - create them on the target system - but don't
forget that!!!).

I transfered the .tar.bz onto the target system and unpacked it
into a subdirectory of /, e.g. /debian. In the meanwhile i compiled
a static linked ls and mv, and copied them to the system into a
directory /stbin. Having statically linked binaries allows you to
move the libs out of the way without beeing fucked after that.

Finally i made:

  cd /
  mkdir /suse
  /stbin/mv home bin dev etc lib opt quota.user root sbin user var /suse	

This will move everything except /mnt, /proc etc. out of the way

  /stbin/mv /debian/* /

This will move my Debian System onto the normal locations. Now you
should be able again to use normal ls, mv and other commands. You
will now need to correct fstab and mtab, just take them from SuSE:

 cp /suse/etc/fstab /suse/etc/mtab /etc

Now check if everything looks ok. Run LILO - however if you forget
this, it should boot the SuSE kernel, which is still on the same
position on the harddisk, just in a different directory entry, so
this should not be a real desaster.

Keep your Fingers crossed - and reboot the system.

Worked for me, but nothing for the faint of heart. If you have
a rescue system like at 1&1: Use it.

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