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[aclug-L] Re: install?

[aclug-L] Re: install?

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To: <aclug-L@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [aclug-L] Re: install?
From: "Greg House" <ghouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 18:44:56 -0600
Reply-to: aclug-L@xxxxxxxxxxxx

>Michael Holmes <maholmes@xxxxxxxxxx> writes:

>> My laptop has 4meg of ram, I am open to any clues on how to make linux
>> and run, if possible.  I am not wanting x windows, just text enviroment.

Slackware might work, as they still include a lowmem kernel. On the
Slackware 4.0 CD there's a file lowmem.txt which has some hints for
installing on very low memory systems. I'll include the text from it at the
end of this message. Hopefully it'll help you out.

Additional forward (warning/disclaimer) added Sat Apr 11 00:19:57 CDT 1998:

Well, I've been told that many (most?) machines with 4 megabytes of RAM
choke trying to boot the smallest Slackware bootdisk (bare.i).  If that's
the case, it's probably time for installation to machines with less than
8 megabytes to become officially unsupported.  It *might* still be possible,
though, and I'm not against people continuing to try.  That's why I'll
continue to include this file of hints, as well as the old, obsolete 1.44
megabyte rootdisk images (now in rootdsks/obsolete/).  Just don't ask me
how to install on your 4 megabyte machine, because I'll tell you:  "OK, well
first you need to get some more SIMMs..."

NOTE:  A "lowmem.i" bootdisk has been added that saves even more memory than
bare.i at the expense of some features.  So, people with low memory machines
have one more option to try.


Installation can be tricky on a machine with 4 megabytes of RAM or
less. Here are a few tricks that can be helpful if you run into
problems. (Symptoms might include: system hangs while booting the bootdisk;
root password required on the rootdisk; inability to run "fdisk" or
"mkswap"; and many more, I'm sure...)

First, you'll need to use a 3.5" floppy for the rootdisk, and you *must*
uncompress the rootdisk before writing it out.  This is since it will be
used directly from the floppy drive instead of loaded into a ramdisk.

1. If you have a second 3.5" floppy drive, great -- you'll want to use that
for the rootdisk. If not, you'll have to make due with the rootdisk in your
boot drive. With the rootdisk in the boot drive you won't be able to
install from floppy disks or make a bootdisk at the end of the installation
process, since the disk will be "mounted" in the boot drive and cannot be
removed (no matter what the screen tells you) until the machine is
rebooted. Make a rootdisk using RAWRITE.EXE for the floppy drive you

2. Unzip (look in /kernels) in a directory on your DOS

3. Select an appropriate kernel from a subdirectory under /kernels. The
/bootdsks.144/WHICH.ONE document might be helpful in selecting the proper
one for your hardware. Copy it into the directory where you put loadlin.

4. Put the rootdisk (NOT write protected) into the floppy drive, and use
this command to boot it:

   loadlin scsi.s root=/dev/fd0 rw ramdisk=0
           ^^^^^^      ^^^^^^^^
           ||||||      This should be the drive you put the disk in.
           This is the name of the kernel you selected.

Then, install Linux. If you're using the boot floppy drive for the
rootdisk, you will not be able to install from floppy disks. DON'T take the
rootdisk out of the floppy drive for any reason during the installation!
Also, since scratch files may be written to the rootdisk, you'll want to
start with a fresh copy if you need to start over for some reason.

NOTE:  Installation can take a lot of swap space (especially with only 4 MB
RAM), so be sure to set some up and activate it before starting "setup".  In
particular, the mke2fs utility used to format Linux partitions uses quite a
bit of memory.  If you've got the drive space available, 20 to 32MB of swap
help insure a smooth installation.

Once installed, you'll need to have a way to start your new system. If you
were lucky enough to have a second floppy drive to use for your rootdisk,
then you'll be able to make a bootdisk at the end of the installation
process. This is highly recommended. If your boot drive is occupied by the
rootdisk, then you've got two options: Loadlin (a method of booting from
DOS) or LILO. And, if you're using the UMSDOS filesystem then Loadlin is
your only choice.

To boot the system with loadlin, you'll use a command similar to the one
you used to start the rootdisk, but you'll replace /dev/fd0 or /dev/fd1 with
the name of the device you're using for your root Linux partition, like

   loadlin scsi root=/dev/hda2 rw ramdisk=0

If you're not using UMSDOS, you might want to boot the system in read-only
mode so that the drives can be checked before being remounted in read-write
mode.  To do that, use "ro" instead of "rw":

   loadlin scsi root=/dev/hda2 ro ramdisk=0

Once your machine is up and running, you'll probably need to add additional
driver support if you have extra hardware (such as an ethernet card) that's
not supported by the kernel you've used to install.  You can do this one of
two ways:

    1)   Recompile your kernel to include any additional support needed.
    2)   Load any extra kernel drivers you need from kernel modules.  To do
         this, edit your /etc/rc.d/rc.modules file.  You can think of this
         file as sort of the Linux equivalent of DOS's CONFIG.SYS file -- it
         contains examples for all of the most commonly used modules.


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