New 'interim' release of Linux (long and detailed)

New 'interim' release of Linux (long and detailed)

Post by A. V. Le Bla » Fri, 17 Apr 1992 23:47:36

The following is the README file for the latest 'interim' version
of Linux 0.95c+:

This is the current version of my MCC (Manchester Computing Centre)
interim release of Linux.  This is intended to double as an
installation/recovery system for a version of Linux 0.95c+.
It installs a system using shared libraries based on gcc-2.1.

WARNING: this is experimental software.  It is fairly stable, but
please be sure to back up any valuable files.

You need to get from the images directory the files *-UK.Z
(for UK keyboards) or *-US.Z (for US keyboards).  If you wish,
you should also get comp.image (the gcc 2.1 compiler, but WITHOUT
C++) and the comp2.image(C++).
If you are creating the disks on a DOS system, you will also need
rawrite.exe and uncomp.exe or something similar; copies of these
and of their documentation are available in the directory

Assuming you have transferred (in binary mode) the files rawrite.exe,
uncomp.exe, boot-xx.Z, and root-xx.Z to your DOS system, type

     C:\>uncomp boot-xx
     C:\>uncomp util-xx
     Enter source file name: util-xx
     Enter destination drive: a:
     Please insert a formatted diskette into drive A: and press -ENTER- :

At this point put a high density disk which has been formatted at
least once into your A drive.  After rawrite has finished, then
remove the disk and continue.  Assuming (for the sake of simplicity)
that you wish to install only the minimum system, continue as follows:

     Enter source file name: boot-xx
     Enter destination drive: a:
     Please insert a formatted diskette into drive A: and press -ENTER- :

Once rawrite has finished, you may reboot your system, leaving the boot
disk in the A drive (assuming you want to install Linux on this system).
After the initial boot, you should see something like this:

     Press <RETURN> to see SVGA-modes available or any other key to continue.

After pressing anything but <RETURN>, you should get information about
your system, ending with this:

     Now you may take the boot disk out of your 0 (A) drive and
     put the utilities disk in instead.
     After you have done this, tell me whether your 0 (A) disk is
     a 3.5 inch disk (3) or a 5.25 inch disk (5): _

Assuming you have no problems, and that your system is Linux-compatible,
you should now see this after giving the correct answer:

     /dev/ram /
     /dev/fd0xxxxx /mnt
     Further instructions can be found in the file /mnt/README.
     Type 'more /mnt/README' to look at it.

If you follow instructions, you should see this:

     # more /mnt/README
     This is the root disk for installing the MCC (Manchester Computing
     Centre) interim version of Linux.  If you have followed the
     instructions so far, and if nothing has gone wrong, you must now
     set up your hard disk:

     Use fdisk to create a primary partition for Linux.  You may also
     wish to set up other partitions for Linux, and/or a partition of
     at least 5 megabytes for swap space.  Give the command V (verify)
     before writing your partition table.

Note: The fdisk supplied is my fdisk, version 0.92, which should
be able to read and create extended partitions correctly (I hope).
My fdisk deals with only one device at a time.  The default is
/dev/hda.  If you wish to repartition your second hard disk using
fdisk, you must type 'fdisk /dev/hdab'.  Please note and believe
the following warning:


The warning means that if you change your partition table, the
operating system (Linux) does not know about the changes until
after you reboot.  Naturally, you will type 'sync' a couple of times,
remove the utilities disk, and replace the boot disk before rebooting.
The message continues:

     Then use mkfs and mkswap to initialise the partitions you created
     above.  If you do not remember their bloksize, use fdisk with the
     command p to display it (and then q to exit).  mkfs and mkswap
     have this syntax:

          mkxxx [-c] /dev/hdxxx nnnnn

     where [-c] optionally checks the partition, hdxxx is the partition's
     device as reported by fdisk, and nnnnn is the partition's size in
     blocks as reported by fdisk.

     Use the command 'swapon /dev/hdxxx' to activate swap space made by

     Mount the new partition on /root and type install_root.

Note that to mount the partition, you will type 'mount /dev/hda1 /root'
or something similar.  If you do type 'install_root', you will be asked
(among other messages)

     Do you wish to install Linux now? Type 'no' to stop.
     Yes (y) or no (n): _

At this point, since it is possible that you are installing Linux on
a partition which you have earlier used as a Linux file system,
or you may have aborted a previous installation attempt, the
program says:

     If you wish, we can delete any files and directories already
     on your new root disk.  Do you wish to clean your new root disk?
     Type 'no' to leave any files which may already be there.
     yes (y) or no (n): _

If you continue, you will have a final chance to exit:

     This is your last chance to stop before installing Linux.
     Do you want to continue installing?  Type 'no' to stop.
     Yes (y) or no (n): _

If you type 'y' ( or 'yes'), you will have a long list of things
being installed (I hope).  At the end of this list, you will see
the following message:

     Linux has now been installed.  You may now give the umount
     command to unmount the utilities disk.  Type 'mount' to see
     the device name of the utilities disk.  After giving the
     appropriate command 'umount /dev/fd0xxxx', give the command
     'hash -r' to avoid trying to access the utilities disk.
     Then you can set up a boot disk for your new hard disk
     root partition:

          cd /root/etc
          rdev Image /dev/hda3
               replacing   ^   with your root device
          cp Image /dev/fd0H1440
               replacing   ^   with fd0h1200 if your 0 (A) drive is 5.25 inches.

If you obey these instructions you can reboot from the floppy you have
just written.  Note that this floppy must have been formatted at some

The installed system takes up about 2.8 Mbytes of disk space.
It contains no source whatever (except for shell scripts).
In addition to Linux-0.95c+, it contains nearly all binaries from:

     ps-2.1 (from hlu)  find-3.5        mtools-2.0.5
     bash-1.12          gawk-2.13.2     patch-2.0.12u6
     compress-4.01      grep-1.5        sed-1.08
     diff-1.15          joe-0.1.4       shellutils-1.6
     elvis-1.5          less-1.77       tar-1.10
     fgrep-1.1          make-3.62       textutils-1.3

as well as programs from BSD and various things posted on the
*.os.linux lists.  The installed system (though not the boot/utilities
disks) contains (modified) versions of the poe-igl init as well as
the following commands in binary form:

     awk       basename  cat       chgrp     chmod     chown
     clear     cmp       comm      compress  cp        csplit
     ctags     cut       date      dd        df        diff
     diff3     dir       dirname   doshell   du        echo
     egrep     elvis     elvprsv   elvrec    env       ex
     expand    expr      false     fdisk     fgrep
     find      fmt       fold      free      fsck      gawk
     getty     grep      groups    head      hexdump   hostname
     id        install   joe       join      kill      last
     less      lesskey   ll        ln        login     logname
     ls        lsf       make      mattrib   mcd       mcopy
     mdel      mdir      mformat   mkdir     mkfifo    mkfs
     mknod     mkswap    mlabel    mmd       more      mount
     mrd       mread     mren      mtype     mv        mwrite
     nice      nl        nohup     od        paste     patch
     pathchk   pr        printenv  printf    ps        rdev
     ref       rm        rmdir     sed       setterm   sh
     sleep     sort      split     strings   stty      sum
     swapon    sync      tac       tail      tar       tee
     test      top       touch     tr        true      tty
     umount    uname     uncompress          unexpand  uniq
     update    users     vdir      vi        virec     wc
     whereis   who       whoami    write     xargs     yes
     encode    decode    passwd    su

It also contains the help files for joe, less, and more.  The
installation disks actually contain the following commands, which
are intended to be useful for recovering from messes:

     cat       chgrp     chmod     chown     compress  cp
     dir       doshell   du        fdisk     fsck      install_root
     ll        ln        ls        lsf       mkdir     mkfs
     mknod     mkswap    more      mount     mv        rdev
     rm        rmdir     setterm   sh        stty      swapon
     sync      tar       umount    uncompress          vdir

The disk 'comp.image' is provided for installing the GNU C compiler.
As the binaries are statically loaded, there is not room for C++
on this disk.  It contains a complete set of include files and
libraries, together with the following commands:

     ar        as        as86      cc        cpp       gcc
     ld        ld86      nm        objdump   ranlib    size

The files on this disk come from the distributed archives
2.1misc.tar.Z, 2.1lib.tar.Z, and the most recent binutils.tar.Z.
Some of the include files come from linux-0.95c+.tar.Z.
This disk also contains the binaries for shoelace, as well as
an brief new README file.
To load this disk, you must mount it on /mnt and go to your
root directory, i.e., 'cd /root' if you do this after booting from
the boot-xx diskette, or 'cd /' if you do this after booting with your
primary hard disk partition as root.  Then type /mnt/install_comp.

The disk 'comp2.image' contains the parts of GNU C++ that did not
fit on the disk comp.image.  It also contains an alternative version
of bash which has job control, but which has problems on some systems.
If you install this bash (as /bin/sh), it saves the former sh as
/tmp/sh.old.  (I now think it would have been a better idea to save
it is /bin/sh.old, but give me time!)  This bash gets error messages
from tcsetattr and tcgetattr and does not allow interactive input
on some systems; on others it works perfectly.  Don't ask why; tell me.
This disk, like comp.image, should be mounted on /mnt; then go to
/root or / as appropriate, and type /mnt/install_comp2.

There is virtually no documentation yet other than the installation
instructions.  I shall be putting the source to this in
/pub/linux/mcc-interim/0.95c+ and its subdirectories over the next
few days.  Please let me know of any improvements which could be
made to this release.

     -- Owen
     A. V. Le Blanc
     Computing Centre
     University of Manchester


1. New 'interim' release of Linux

I am pleased to be able to announce, only a week after the last
release, a new 'interim' version of Linux.  The kernel supplied with
this version is 0.95c+, including line printer support, and the four
disks supply binaries for just about everything, including the C and
C++ compilers.  I was unable to include Kermit or any of the big
packages (TeX, emacs, etc.), but just about everything else should be
there, I hope.

In addition to upgrading from 0.95c to 0.95c+, I have managed, I think,
to fix the bugs in make, which has now been used to recompile everything
else (including bash) without problems.  I have dropped encrypt, now that
passwd is available, and I have added encode, decode, and su.  Encode
and decode do UU- XX- and atob encoding and decoding.  I have not
included the new chsh program, which does not work quite as I would
wish, though the same thing could be said of su; I thought su was just
too useful to omit.  I am also including binaries for installing shoelace,
as well as a new version of bash, this time with job control, which just
won't work properly on my installation disk.

The software fits on four floppies.  As before there are two versions
of the first two floppies (for UK and US keyboards).  The file sizes
          boot-UK.Z       368827
          boot-US.Z       368799
          util-UK.Z      1123877
          util-US.Z      1126306
          comp.image     1228800
          comp2.image    1218560

I have not compressed the comp images because the compressed versions
are bigger than the uncompressed, as happens frequently with images
which contain compressed material.

Many thanks to all who helped out with comments on the last version
and on its (limited) documentation.  Now maybe I'll have a chance
to improve the documentation (what little there is) and get the
diffs out.

Files are available by anonymous ftp from (and from
its mirror at in /pub/linux/mcc-interim/0.95c+/images,
and the five README files in the directory /pub/linux/mcc-interim/0.95c+.
For those who lack rawrite.exe or (un)compress.exe for DOS, they are
available in /pub/linux/mcc-interim/dos-utils.

A more detailed description of this version follows shortly.

     -- Owen

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3. New interim release of Linux-0.95c

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