Can you install Linux if you can only boot from a 360k floppy?

Can you install Linux if you can only boot from a 360k floppy?

Post by Robert Wickbe » Fri, 12 Apr 1996 04:00:00



Why does all the Linux documentation act as if the terms "5 1/4 inch"
and "1.2 mb" are synonymous?  

I have a Zenith Z386 that, for reasons I do not understand but live
with just fine under DOS, will only boot from its floppy 0, a.k.a.
drive a: in DOS, a 360k floppy.  The machine has a 1.2 meg floppy,
which it reads and writes just fine, but I tried swapping the two
drives one time and it just won't boot from the high density drive.
And I imagine you can forget about 3.5 drives!  Needless to say, it
doesn't have a CD-ROM and never will.

I'd like to install Linux on this machine (I have a seagate st-01
controller and a 100mb conner drive I'm not doing anything else with,
and would love to learn some variant of Unix.)  Can this be done?  If
so how?

 
 
 

Can you install Linux if you can only boot from a 360k floppy?

Post by Juergen Exn » Sun, 14 Apr 1996 04:00:00


->   I have a Zenith Z386 that, for reasons I do not understand but live
->   with just fine under DOS, will only boot from its floppy 0, a.k.a.
->   drive a: in DOS, a 360k floppy.  The machine has a 1.2 meg floppy,
->   which it reads and writes just fine, but I tried swapping the two
->   drives one time and it just won't boot from the high density drive.
->   And I imagine you can forget about 3.5 drives!  Needless to say, it
->   doesn't have a CD-ROM and never will.
->
->   I'd like to install Linux on this machine (I have a seagate st-01
->   controller and a 100mb conner drive I'm not doing anything else with,
->   and would love to learn some variant of Unix.)  Can this be done?  If
->   so how?

A bit difficult to answer.

Are you sure, that there is no way to exchange the floppy drives?
Maybe you forgot to change the according entries in the system BIOS?
Or there is an option in the BIOS to exchange the drives virtually?

But whatsoever, if you must boot from 360K you have a good chance to
succeed in installing linux anyhow.

Installing linux is a three step process:
1) Copying a kernel (the OS) from floppy to memory und start it ("boot-disk")
2) mounting a tiny linux-system to get the most basic utilities up and
   running ("root-disk" or "ram-disk")
3) installing everything on HD

Step 1 requires a floppy, which contains the whole kernel.
The compressed kernels have a size of about 300-400kB,
depending of the number of drivers. Just try to copy the beginning of
a boot-disk to a 360kB-disk and if you are lucky, it will work.
Choose a kernel with as few drivers as possible (no net, no scsi, no
cdrom, ...).

Step 2 is no problem as you can add the option "root=/dev/fd1" when
asked for additional boot parameters, which will mount the tiny
root-system from the second floppy drive.

Step 3 is simple: Prior to installing linux copy the sources to your
DOS-HD and select installing from pre-mounted dos-device.

Hope that helps

Greetings jue

 
 
 

Can you install Linux if you can only boot from a 360k floppy?

Post by Terry R. McConne » Sun, 14 Apr 1996 04:00:00



[ ... ]

Quote:>I have a Zenith Z386 that, for reasons I do not understand but live
>with just fine under DOS, will only boot from its floppy 0, a.k.a.
>drive a: in DOS, a 360k floppy.  The machine has a 1.2 meg floppy,
>which it reads and writes just fine, but I tried swapping the two
>drives one time and it just won't boot from the high density drive.
>And I imagine you can forget about 3.5 drives!  Needless to say, it
>doesn't have a CD-ROM and never will.

>I'd like to install Linux on this machine (I have a seagate st-01
>controller and a 100mb conner drive I'm not doing anything else with,
>and would love to learn some variant of Unix.)  Can this be done?  If
>so how?

You can install Minix from a 5 1/4 floppy. Since Linux and Minix share
a common filesystem structure it should be possible in theory to bootstrap
a Linux install on top of a minix install.

Sounds like a very interesting project. Good Luck!

--
************************************************************************
Terry R. McConnell    Mathematics/215 Carnegie/Syracuse, N.Y. 13244-1150

************************************************************************

 
 
 

Can you install Linux if you can only boot from a 360k floppy?

Post by Arthur N. Bor » Mon, 15 Apr 1996 04:00:00



> Why does all the Linux documentation act as if the terms "5 1/4 inch"
> and "1.2 mb" are synonymous?

> I have a Zenith Z386 that, for reasons I do not understand but live
> with just fine under DOS, will only boot from its floppy 0, a.k.a.
> drive a: in DOS, a 360k floppy.  The machine has a 1.2 meg floppy,
> which it reads and writes just fine, but I tried swapping the two
> drives one time and it just won't boot from the high density drive.
> And I imagine you can forget about 3.5 drives!  Needless to say, it
> doesn't have a CD-ROM and never will.

One way to approach this problem is to use a program like "filelink"
(DR-DOS), Interlink (MS-DOS), or Laplink to down load all of the Linux
files from either floppy disks or CD-ROM to a DOS partition on the HD of
the target machine. Then install Linux from the HD. By the way you will
have to make boot and root disks on the 1.2Meg. disk as the files are too
large to fit on a 360K disk.

Good luck,

Art Borg

 
 
 

Can you install Linux if you can only boot from a 360k floppy?

Post by Ken Haybe » Mon, 15 Apr 1996 04:00:00



> I have a Zenith Z386 that, for reasons I do not understand but live
> with just fine under DOS, will only boot from its floppy 0, a.k.a.
> drive a: in DOS, a 360k floppy.  The machine has a 1.2 meg floppy,
> which it reads and writes just fine, but I tried swapping the two
> drives one time and it just won't boot from the high density drive.
> And I imagine you can forget about 3.5 drives!  Needless to say, it
> doesn't have a CD-ROM and never will.

Robert,

Can I ask the stupid question "have you tried replacing the HD/FD
controller card?"  It sounds like you have a BIOS problem.  Most modern
HD/FD controllers have a BIOS on board that "patches" the one on your
Motherboard.

Ken H.

 
 
 

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