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Thread: CD-ROM sized Boot Images Needed

  1. #1
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    Question CD-ROM sized Boot Images Needed

    I have a suggestion and a request.

    For those of us stuck with a system BIOS that doesn't recognize a DVD drive as a bootable device, (Dell PowerEdge 1600SC w/an early BIOS version, for example), what would it take for the distro DVDs to come with a small boot image similar to Red Hat's boot.img, which either searches all other removable-media drives for the install disk by itself, or just asks where the media is located? Additionally, one could perform installs from FTP, NFS, or HTTP servers holding the install media.

    My old Dell came with an old BIOS that can't be upgraded unless I install Windows or RHEL and use the Dell utility (I'm not even going there). I did install a DVD drive slaved to the CD-ROM. Using that I was able to install several flavors of Red Hat and Fedora using their tiny (1.3meg) boot.img file, that came with the installation DVD, that I burned to a CD-RW disk.

    FWIW, using a Live-CD to install is a pain in one's backside (At least it was for me)!

    So, how can I get a similar boot.img into existence for openSUSE?

    Cheers!

    Mike

  2. #2
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    Default Re: CD-ROM sized Boot Images Needed

    Well, my posts got almost as much action here as they do on the Cisco Community board. Nevertheless, in the for what it's worth department, I installed Centos 5.5 on the server I want to use for openSUSE 11.4, and downloaded all the stuff to flash the BIOS using the RHEL tools which Dell supports. Spent half the day doing that. It was successful. I now have BIOS version A12 on my Poweredge. I was hoping to run with just a single DVD-drive in the server but even with the new BIOS, there's still no support for DVD-booting. So, I'm back to wondering if openSUSE can do it? Can they come up with a little loader program, (Centos' is nearly 10meg in size - fits on a CD-ROM though), to find the installation media in the DVD-drive, (or on an network server maybe), load the installer and turn the reins over to it? I guess time will tell. Maybe by version 14? Nawh. Maybe not.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: CD-ROM sized Boot Images Needed

    Hi wa7qzr. Maybe toy could try this method to install openSUSE:

    Random Thoughts: Installing SUSE without CD

    It requires a small /boot partition to start with, and an existing large partition to put a folder containing the entire DVD iso. (In the example discussed, a Windows FAT32 folder was used).

    Do you think that might work for you?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: CD-ROM sized Boot Images Needed

    i've read your two post here (welcome) a couple of times and i'm not
    sure why you didn't just use either a Live CD or the Network install
    disk??

    i read your "FWIW, using a Live-CD to install is a pain in one's
    backside" yesterday, but since you didn't explain how it was painful i
    couldn't help (i mean, is your server connected to the net? if so,
    boot the live cd, click install and go...it will fetch some stuff from
    the CD and everything else it needs from the net) and i was hesitant
    yesterday to suggest you *try* our Live CD (drop dead easy, *if*
    connected to the net, OR just want a desktop machine)..

    and, if you try it, i think you will see that the Network install is
    kinda similar to the Fedora boot.img file, except it is about 140 MB,
    but makes a nice little bootable CD which cranks up and uses net
    downloads to fill up the server (which is what you need, right?)

    --
    CAVEAT: http://is.gd/bpoMD
    Tried LibreOffice? Do that and help at http://is.gd/dZ9j2W
    [NNTP via openSUSE 11.3 + KDE4.5.5 + Thunderbird3.1.8]

  5. #5
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    Default Re: CD-ROM sized Boot Images Needed

    Hello again, all. I appreciate the two above suggestions to either download an iso image to a separate hard drive partition or to do a CD-install. My issue with both of those is that when it goes wrong (it always does, for me, at least), then I have to do it all over again which can be challenging if there's nothing to work with on the system in the first place. Downloading DVD-sized iso files is a 12-hour task at best. I'm not rich and I won't spend my hard earned money on cable Internet. The CD-install is almost as bad because of all that has to be downloaded to get things working right, and then it goes bad. That's what makes it a pain in the backside. You know, the Fedora boot.img I have used is intended for NFS/FTP/HTTP installs, but it has sense enough to check for local media it can use first. It makes such good sense to do that instead of serving up a crippled version that can barely get out of it's own way until it's spend half a day downloading the additional packages it needs to be useful.

    That's why a CD-sized loader solves so many problems, and since I usually use CD and DVD -RWs for jobs like this, I don't end up with a lot of coasters, which the blog referenced above cited as a good reason for downloading iso images to the hard drive.

    Anyhow, since I seem to view things a lot differently than most people do these days, I suppose the only way to resolve this issue is that I will have to figure out on my own how to modify the code of the Fedora boot loader program to read and execute the openSUSE installer image. That beats watching the LEDs on the switch flash.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: CD-ROM sized Boot Images Needed

    On 04/05/2011 11:06 AM, wa7qzr wrote:
    >
    > I seem to view things a lot differently than most people
    > do these days


    and besides the way you see things, you also seem to have really bad luck!

    i mean, i downloaded a Live CD image in minutes (xDSL broadband, not
    cable) i installed it, start to finish in about an hour (including
    adding all the stuff i wanted via the net) and had *zero* problems with
    my back side at any point..

    it knew how to get out of the way and (after adding packman, and
    clicking the multimedia one-click) it did not install a crippled version
    of anything...

    as always, use what works for you..

    --
    CAVEAT: http://is.gd/bpoMD [NNTP via openSUSE 11.3 + KDE4.5.5 +
    Thunderbird3.1.8] Can you believe it? This guy Ralph wins $181 million
    in the lottery last Wednesday, and then finds the love of his life just
    2 days later. Talk about LUCK!

  7. #7

    Default Re: CD-ROM sized Boot Images Needed

    wa7qzr wrote:
    > Hello again, all. I appreciate the two above suggestions to either
    > download an iso image to a separate hard drive partition or to do a
    > CD-install. My issue with both of those is that when it goes wrong (it
    > always does, for me, at least), then I have to do it all over again
    > which can be challenging if there's nothing to work with on the system
    > in the first place.


    I'm not sure why you expect to have to do it all again? Once you have
    downloaded the DVD onto a disk partition, it should be safe there
    whatever happens until you explicitly decide to delete it. So if the
    install goes wrong, you just start the install again using the same DVD
    image. What am I not understanding?

    > Downloading DVD-sized iso files is a 12-hour task at
    > best. I'm not rich and I won't spend my hard earned money on cable
    > Internet. The CD-install is almost as bad because of all that has to be
    > downloaded to get things working right, and then it goes bad. That's
    > what makes it a pain in the backside. You know, the Fedora boot.img I
    > have used is intended for NFS/FTP/HTTP installs, but it has sense enough
    > to check for local media it can use first. It makes such good sense to
    > do that instead of serving up a crippled version that can barely get out
    > of it's own way until it's spend half a day downloading the additional
    > packages it needs to be useful.


    Yup, I understand your problem with any installation that relies on net
    access during the installation, and I see that the Fedora boot.img is a
    sensible solution.

    > Anyhow, since I seem to view things a lot differently than most people
    > do these days, I suppose the only way to resolve this issue is that I
    > will have to figure out on my own how to modify the code of the Fedora
    > boot loader program to read and execute the openSUSE installer image.
    > That beats watching the LEDs on the switch flash.


    I still don't understand what's wrong with the DVD on disk idea, but
    this is definitely another possibility. If you think slightly broader,
    you might make the task easier.

    Essentially you need to get a linux system running that knows how to
    access the DVD drive and then you need to switch from the running kernel
    to the kernel on the DVD. Switching kernels like that is reasonably well
    documented. I don't remember the details right now but I'm sure you
    won't have to figure it out on your own. It might involve kexec, IIRC.

    HTH, Dave

  8. #8
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    Default Re: CD-ROM sized Boot Images Needed

    Well, I figured out how to get openSUSE installed simply and easily on my server.

    While researching how I might convince isolinux to do nothing more than boot from the media in the second cdrom, (my DVD drive), I ran across something called "Plop Linux" which provides a boot loader that will fit on a floppy (remember those?). Anyhow, because the loader contains an IDE/EIDE driver, it will boot from any CD/DVD hardware that contains bootable media, regardless of BIOS limitations. You can do all sorts of other types of installation using this thing too.

    That's not precisely what I wanted, but it accomplished the desired result: openSUSE 11.4 running on my server without wasting HD space or lots of network bandwith.

    So, should anyone else have a similar situation as mine, there's no reason to junk your older hardware when Plop Linux's bootloader is available.

    Happy Days!

    Mike

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