[techtalk] Running Linux from a zip disk.

Maria G Martinez sultanita at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 27 16:09:37 EST 2001

> It's not that horrible really.  It is a *bit*
> complex but that's just what
> computers are good at, handling complex tasks
> repeatedly.  There are
> basically 2 things required for such a Floppy/zip/CD
> system;

Yeah, *sniff* Except that they always do as I tell
them, and I don't explain myself correctly :-)
> 1. Letting the floppy know where to find the zip and
> CDROM disks.  If the
> setup is to run on the same machine all the time,
> this info can be 
> hard-coded but if different machines may be used
> then some means of
> detecting which drive is which is required (no great
> problem that, I've
> got an init script somewhere that does just that).

*nod*  There are only three types of boxes in these
According to the LC, zip drives are internal,
secondary, slave.  
> 2. Mounting the zip disk and getting the remainder
> of the boot process to
> run from there.  Again, that's straightforward
> enough; the various
> installation CDs of the Linux distros tend to load a
> second stage from CD
> once the initial boot has happened.
> The main thing you need to know about the hardware
> (for *this* task at
> least) is the type of zip disk (internal / external)
> and where it's
> connected if internal (Primary / secondary IDE and
> Master / slave).  

According to the lab coordinator, all the zip drives
are internal, secondary slave.  The LC told me to
check that in the CMOS, but I am not even sure I got
that right... One question, is the BIOS = CMOS?  How
on earth do I find that information (primary, slave,
whatever) in a Dell "System OptiPlex GX1 600MTbr+
Setup BIOS Version: A07"??
> Ok, let's dispense with this "horrible" word shall
> we? :-)

Ok... I just get a bit frustrated, and that's why it
is horrible :)
> What is available from a project like this is an
> understanding of the
> interdependent nature of the system and how
> bootstrapping itself works.
> The computer starts off with a tiny built in program
> (the BIOS) and uses
> this to load and run a more complex program which,
> in turn, loads an even
> more complicated program that runs the OS.  In this
> case, we start off
> with a (relatively) simple program on the floppy. 
> This mounts the zip
> disk thereby adding a layer of complexity and
> capability and the zip disk,
> in turn, mounts the CDROM and loads the main OS.

understood.  It's part of why I want to do it... Need
to learn lots. :)

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