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Help installing Debian on UMSDOS file system?

I'm trying to install Debian on my wife's laptop that's currently
running Windows 95.  She's afraid that if I repartition it to make space
for Linux, that she won't be able to reinstall all the Win95 software
that's on the disk (it's a Compaq, and they don't ship Win95 installation
CDs with their boxes).

So, I'm trying to make a UMSDOS partition and set up Debian using that.
The Debian installation system doesn't seem to support UMSDOS based 
installation directly, although I've managed to put a UMSDOS-aware kernel
on the rescue disk and get it to boot.  I  untarred the base_2.0.tgz file
into a top level target directory that I'vecalled linux, as that's
what loadlin and the UMSDOS-aware kernels seem to want for their root file

The Debian installation system wants to mount a partition itself; I tried
mounting my UMSDOS partition by hand, but Debian didn't like it (though 
I don't know the magic to get /dev/hda1/linux mounted directly as a 
UMSDOS partition; so this may be why Debian doesn't see it).  Debian said
"your system is unconfigured" and maybe 
"you need to install your rescue disk into the floppy drive and reboot".

I've been using Debian since late '93, and have it installed on all my
other computers, but this one has me stumped.

Hopefully, someone can tell me:

a) what the Debian does when configuring the base system so that I can 
   do that by hand?
b) how and where to mount the /linux directory UMSDOS partition so that
   the Debian installation system recognizes it as a valid Debian system
   that I can then complete the configuration on?
c) is there some other way to install onto a UMSDOS paritition?
d) there used to be dpkg.tar that you could use to bootstrap the installation
   process with; I can't find it anymore...is it still in existence?

I tried installing the IronWing distribution which does run "out of the
box" in a UMSDOS partition and then upgrading it to Debian, but I got 
stuck when trying to install the Debian glibc (IronWing is Slackware 
based, and is somewhat behind the times in the versions of software that
are available for it; also, its /etc files use the different rc.d setup 
(no init.d), so installing .deb packages tends to lose
when they try to set up their rc files).

I appreciate any help that you can provide.



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