Originally Published: Friday, 26 November 1999 Author: Stan Shivell
Published to: news_learn_support/Support News Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Ext2: Installing Slackware 7.0 (Without cdrom or standard floppy)

Ext2 Has posted an interesting article about installing Slackware Linux 7.0 onto a Laptop with out the aide of a cdrom or a Normal Floppy Drive.

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by Tim Krell (tkrell@ranchan.com)

Disclaimer: The following article details the process I used to install Slackware 7.0 onto my laptop. Information contained within this article is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I take no responsibility for damage caused to your system by the use of this material. Your Mileage May Vary.

One of the seemingly up and coming topics in the Linux world at this time is the use of Linux on a platform other than the conventional desktop. Laptops, PDA's, and other portable devices are all coming into the scope of things at a quick rate. One of the problems with laptops is that they tend to use more "bleeding edge" technologies, as opposed to the more widely supported desktop platform. One such example of this rift between the laptop and desktop platforms is the video card issue. Laptops are using chipsets such as the NeoMagic, which was not supported in XFree until recently. This all brings me to the entire crux of this article. Many laptop manufacturers these days seem to be including a plethora of ports on their machines, most of which are well-supported (Or so M$ would have you believe) in Windows9x/NT/2k. For example, the laptop I recently purchased, a Sony VAIO PCG-Z505RX has three USB ports, and two FireWire ports.

The Z505RX is a pretty decent system, and I'm quite happy with it, now that I've got Linux working on it and all. It's powered by an Intel Mobile Pentium II running at 400 MHz, 128MB RAM, 8.1GB Hard Drive, 2.5MB NeoMagic video chipset, 12.1" LCD, and some other assorted goodies. There are, however, two major pitfalls that I had to overcome to install Linux on this machine. First of all, Sony charges around $300(US) for the PCMCIA-controlled CDROM drive. Secondly, the 505RX ships with an USB floppy drive, which is not supported by the current production Linux Kernel, but is currently under heavy development by Alan Cox and co. in the 2.3.x series.

Considering I didn't shell out the 300 for the CDROM module, I found myself up a creek at first regarding just how in the heck I was going to get Linux installed. I tried to boot it using the standard bare.i Slackware bootdisk, but no dice. I needed a better solution for installing Slackware that could be accomplished with minimal pain, employing the USB floppy disk drive. Enter ZipSlack.

This 100MB "mini"-distribution was just what I needed. If I could successfully boot to the ZipSlack distribution with a parallel port Zip Drive, I could figure out a way to install Slackware with it. So I set off to make the required bootdisk (note, I won't need the color.gz rootdisk, because I'll be booting directly to the ZipSlack distribution). On another machine, I downloaded the iomega.s boot image from the bootdsks.144 directory in the Slackware tree. Using rawrite.exe, I made myself the bootfloppy. After doing this, the download of zipslack.zip had finished, and I used WinZip to extract it to the Zip disk I had in the drive (note, format the zip disk you plan on using before trying to extract. It may be 34MB compressed, but it's around 80 or 90 decompressed.), creating my ZipSlack system. ZipSlack and bootdisk in hand, I headed back to the laptop, and plugged in my port replicator, then plugged the USB floppy and Parallel Zip Drive into it (note, if you are using the port replicator on the Z505RX, the USB hubs on the laptop itself will not function), and booted up with the iomega.s bootdisk in the drive. When the boot: prompt came up, I used the "mount root=/dev/sda4" option to boot to the ZipSlack distribution. For some reason, Iomega partitions their disks to have the partition in the fourth primary place, instead of the first. It is like this on both Jaz and Zip disks.

Full Article

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