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Installing debian from floppies.

I will be installing debian linux in a couple weeks (when I get a new
hard disk) on a machine at home.  I have installed slackware linux
several times in the past.

I prefer to use floppies to transfer the .deb files.

I have been writing a program to efficiently copy the .deb files to
floppies (ie. copy the files using the fewest number of floppies).

My hope was to be able to install the packages from the floppies.  It
is my intention to make a package, in case others might find it

In order to be maximally useful, I thought it best to write dos file
system floppies.

The first problem I had was how to handle .deb files larger than a
single floppy can hold.  Of course you could use 'tar -M' to write to
multiple floppies, but this shuts out people who don't have a linux
machine to write floppies, and it does not result in a dos file system

The next problem I came up against is the 8+3 dos limit on filenames.
So I wrote an algorithm to generate unique dos names.  The program
even writes a 'rename' script onto the floppies which will rename the
files to their original names.

The problem with this last is that the .deb files must be copied to
your hard disk (in a linux file system) in order to have their full
name.  So this destroys the objective for installing the packages
directly from the floppies.  I guess I could live with this, however.

Ooh!  It just hit me.  A better solution would be to create symbolic
links to the files on the floppy.

Anyway, I have a few questions.

1) Would it be useful to many people to be able to install packages
from DOS diskettes?  (I vote yes on this)

2a) How hard would it be to make dpkg work with packages that have been
split across multiple diskettes?

2b) Or would it make sense to require large logical packages, like say,
emacs, to be split into smaller physical packages, like say, emacs-1,
emacs-2, etc., and just have the (sub)packages depend on each other?

Steve Preston (spreston@gte.com)

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