Have you tried installing RedHat 6.2 on an old 486 with only 8M RAM? I
did, and it didn't work. Nowhere on the box or in the docs did it
say "minimum requirement: more than 8meg RAM", nor did it actually tell
me that's why it was "terminating abnormally" after finding the CDROM.
Even when I gave it the kernel parameter "linux mem=8M expert" that
still made no difference.
So, I rebooted and waited for it to get to the stage where it asks me
where the packages are coming from (options are Local CDROM or Hard
Drive, but I presume this method would work for the net install as
well, since that also crashed out on me). BEFORE pointing it to the CD
ROM, I switched to the root prompt (Alt-F2) and manually configured
some swap space. This is harder than it sounds:
1. "mknod /dev/hda1 b 3 1" to create the dev entry for hda1
2. "mkswap /dev/hda1" to prepare swapspace
3. "mkdir /mnt/floppy" to prepare a mount point for a floppy, because
the swapon program is not part of the root system at this point
4. "mknod /dev/fd0 b 2 0" to create the dev entry for fd0
5. "mount /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy" to mount an EXT2 floppy containing the
swapon binary (note that an msdos floppy will not work because FAT fs
support is also not part of the root system)
6. "cp /mnt/floppy/swapon /sbin" to transfer swapon to the system
7. "umount /mnt/floppy" to unmount the floppy and replace with the
RH6.2 boot disk
8. "swapon /dev/hda1" to activate the swap space
Now, the fun really starts. Continue with the install, pointing RedHat
to the CD or wherever the packages are (as I said, I presume this would
work for a net install too). After doing whatever you need to do with
Drisk Druid or fdisk, it will say "Low memory: we need to write your
partition table to disk now and turn swapping on, is this ok?".
At this point you will discover, if you forged ahead without reading
the whole message, that it crashes out when it tries to activate swap
space which is already active. You need to make sure that the partition
you use for swapping above (/dev/hda1 in my example) is NOT a linux
swap partition (type 82) - otherwise the install program will try to
activate it and crash. I used a DOS partition, but you can in fact use
any type of partition for swapping, as long as it's not type 82.
You may need to turn your original swap space off once the "real" linux
swap partition has been activated by the install program (especially if
you need to use the partition for part of your system!). Just switch
back to Alt-F2 and type
1. "ln -s /sbin/swapon /sbin/swapoff"
2. "swapoff /dev/hda1"
In fact it's probably a good idea to do this anyway, unless you've got
so little swap space that the install won't complete!
In case anybody's interested, I did this because I have an old SX-25
which I have turned from a doorstop into a fairly useful printer/modem
server and firewall for my home LAN. I want to run a 2.4 kernel for
nice simple network address translation and packet forwarding (so that
both my other PCs can get onto the net via the same 56k modem), hence
my desire to install 6.2 (RedHat 5.0 installs cleanly first time in 8M
without any *ing around, but you then have a very tedious time
upgrading crucial packages etc.). The whole system fits into 165MB (5
for /boot, 55 for / and 105 for /usr) - though I could do with glibc
occupying less than 35MB with its pointless regional garbage
in /usr/share/locale. I am of course not running X on this machine.
Happy to correspond with anyone else enjoying or having trouble with
RH6.2 on an old machine. If anyone from RedHat reads this I should like
to urge them to facilitate the switching on of swap space far earlier
in their install process in future versions, to assist installations on
low memory machines. It wouldn't hurt (although it does mean you have
to have the partitioning done properly with a boot disk before starting
the install - but that's good practice anyway!).
P.S. It's just occurred to me that if your CD-ROM is autodetected (eg.
on an EIDE/ATAPI interface), you might not get the chance to turn
swapping on manually at the same point that I did (I'm using a
Soundblaster CDROM). Oooops.
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Before you buy.