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installing without floppy, CD or network

Several people have asked about this recently, or had problems with
all the methods described in the installation manual.

There does seem to be another way, which might be worth mentioning in
the installation manual, where you copy the rescue and root floppy
images onto a spare partition, then boot from that partition, so you
can install without having a floppy drive, a CD drive or a tftp

Mark Eichin gave most of the information when he described how to boot
from a zip drive, but here's a description of what I just did.

First I boot my existing operating system, which happens to be Debian
GNU/Linux in this case, but it could be another Linux, SunOS or
Solaris, I expect. I su to root.

I'm going to use my swap partition for this experiment, so first I
stop using it as swap:

# swapoff /dev/sda4

Next I mount the file system where the floppy images are (the Debian
CD mounted over NFS in this case) and cd to the appropriate directory:

# mount -o intr rano:/cdrom /cdrom 
# cd /cdrom/dists/slink/main/disks-sparc/

Now I copy the images onto the unused partition and shut down:

# dd if=resc1440.bin of=/dev/sda4
# dd if=root.bin of=/dev/sda4 seek=3000
# shutdown -h now

When it's finished I type Stop-A then "n" to get the PROM's "ok"
prompt. And I tell it to boot from /dev/sda4:

ok boot /sbus/esp/sd@0,0:e

(If I were using /dev/sdb3, it would have been ...@1,0:d, I think.)

SILO starts up and gives me the "boot:" prompt. I type:

boot: linux initrd=/sbus/esp/sd@0,0;4[3000-6000] root=/dev/ram

(It I were using /dev/sdb3, it would have been ...@1,0;3..., I think.
Very confusing how many ways there are of referring to partitions ...)

And the installation system boots itself.

Unfortunately, different people have different PROMs, so these
instructions might now work for everyone. I did this with a
SPARCstation 2.

Does anyone who feels confident about dd-ing onto partitions (very
dangerous if you mistype the command or get confused) want to try this
installation method? Please tell me how you got on, if you do, but
don't blame me if you trash your existing system!


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