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memdisk with debian live

Hi folks.  I’m new to this list, and pretty new to linux, although I used to do a fair amount of work around unix many years ago, so I have a grasp of some of the fundamentals.


I have a Dell Vostro 200 with no OS (well, freedos actually), and I want to figure out how to get linux onto it.  I currently only have windows systems to work from.  My plan was this:  from windows, use syslinux on a USB memory stick, copy memdisk and a debian-live image to it, and boot memdisk to load the debian-live image as a ramdisk to then “really” boot off of.  However, it seems to not actually quite work.  But almost…  


When I turn on the machine, memdisk runs, creates the ramdisk, boots from it, and then successfully brings up the debian-live boot screen.  I accept the default, and the boot process starts.  But…


When using “debian-live-lenny-amd64-standard.img”,

… lots of boot messages displayed …

    “Begin: Mounting root file system …”

… few more messages

    “Begin: Running /scripts/live-premount … done.”

Then 40 repeats of:

    “/init: line 1: cannot open /dev/scd0: No medium found”

and then:


then some boilerplate stuff, then

    “live-initramfs will now start a shell. The error message was:”

    “  Unable to find a medium containing a live file system”


Then it left me in BusyBox (took me a while to figure out what that was!). 


When I tried using “debian-live-etch-amd64-standard.img”, the result was very similar, except it didn’t have the “no medium found” messages.


So,…    is debian-live supported running from memdisk?  Is there something I can tweak to fix it?  Or is it a non-starter?


(BTW, this is a bit of a learning project for me, so I don’t mind taking a few detours here and there.  My next experiment is to run the regular debian installer via memdisk.)


Thanks for any info!


Alex Dommasch


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