02feb05 after 2 weeks of work. DISCLAIMER This worked for me (after many tries and much frustration) but I don't know what it will do for you. Moreoever, I'll try to give exact commands and then hopefully you'll be able to replace my specific parameters (e.g. hda2) with whatever yours might be (hdb3, hdb4, fd0, etc.) Options for commands can often be learned by just typing in the command with no paramaters: fdisk mke2fs mkswap e2fsck Or, if someone is really on the ball, you might have luck with man fdisk or man e2fsck where you'd get to read a "manual" of sorts. Try to get the basic vi text editor commands written down because it's not very intuitive and is necessary to edit configuration files. ------------------------------------------------------------------ EXCERPT FROM LEVI WALDRON http://www.superant.com/cgi-bin/smalllinux.pl?Small_Linux_Notes_By_Levi_Waldron "8)Edit lilo.conf. NOTE!!! If you type vi lilo.conf, SL actually runs a tiny editor called e3. It doesn't actually identify itself as such, so I could not figure out why standard vi commands like :wq would not exit me, and I couldn't figure out how to get help. I ended up shutting off the computer to get out which was a pain because SL doesn't have fsck to fix up the hard drive after doing this. Upon rebooting, I check the symbolic links and found that vi actually started e3, then found an instruction manual for e3. e3 is easy to use, if you just type e3 without a filename the first time and write down a few of its key commands, for example ctrl-k-x to save and exit or ctrl-k-q to abort and exit." Download "Small Linux" Install rawwrite (for windows to write onto floppies as linux) Write the two images: boot.img and root.img At first when prompted what to type in with special boot options and stuff, just ignore it and hit enter (or hit F1, I dare you). The Boot disk will load a kernel and prepare the RAM disk virtual space where you can store files and such. Then you'll be prompted to put in... The Root disk actually contains the settings files (lilo.conf etc.) and the binaries (/bin) and special devices (/dev) that you will need to have a "normal" linux installation. Once you are at the login prompt just type "root" and press enter. Now, if you have a hard drive (with at least 40 megabytes) or a partition that you want to migrate to (install linux on) then you've got to prepare it with the following steps. Use fdisk to create a linux partition(s). fdisk /dev/hda (or wherever your HD space is) in fdisk you'll want to press 'm' at least once to get help and read the command list. 'm' = help / print command list 'p' = print current partition table information 'd' = prompts you to delete a partition - use very carefully 'n' = allows you to create a new partition - you will be prompted for exactly how much space to use - if you just hit enter it will use the defaults (as much as possible). 't' = alters a partition once it's been created - you'll be given an option to 'L'ist all the possible types (yes, there are quite a few ways to format empty space) - you'll probably be creating a Linux Native Partition (#83 I think) and a Linux Swap Partition (#82). 'w' = write and save the changes (when you're sure) 'q' = quit without saving the changes (better safe than sorry) NOTE: Swap is basically a garuanteed free space where the computer can store things while it's working (when registers are full stuff is put in cache, when cache is full stuff is put in RAM, when RAM is full 'virtual ram' or swapfiles or swap partitions are used. Linux generally uses a swap partition, or a specifically created area with it's own uncrossable borders, because it's safer than having a swapfile in the same partition with your data (where the cpu could have them accidentally collide aka crash) and of course you have less to clean up or keep track of it on boot up or shutdown. Windows uses a swapfile (virtual memory). The recommended size is about twice your RAM (or ~128 MB) but you can make it any size you want or even do without. After you're done you'll probably want to restart (and yes boot up from the two floppies) so that the Master Boot Record and whatever other Hard Drive gods there are make good on all your fdisk-ing. Now, you will have to run mkfs.ext2 or mke2fs or something like that to format your new Linux Partition into a usable Linux Partition. (Similar to formatting it as a FAT, FAT16, FAT32 or any other Dos or Windows partition before use.) mke2fs /dev/hda2 Then you'll use mkswap on the swap partition to format it. mkswap /dev/hda3 Now's a good time to run your filesystem checking program: e2fsck /dev/hda2 And hopefully everybody's happy. (You may have to try e2fsck -f /dev/hda2 to force the program to check it.) Now, for moving in. You'll start with: mount /dev/hda2 /mnt or mount /dev/hda2 /hd or mount /dev/hda2 /fl (Basically saying get ready to use the device harddrive partition 2 and when I want to access it I'll use the special folder /mnt or /hd or /fl.) Yes, /fl looks like it should be used for floppies but whatever. You could also try swapon /dev/hda3 If it works you'll have working swap (necesssary?). (for moving around you can use cd directoryname and cd .. to back up the file tree). Go to the root (the starting point of all directories): cd / Now try copying all the goodies to your hd: cp -a /* /mnt (Which says copy, all options included, from the root which was created on our Ramdisk by these wonderful floppies, all the files into our newly mounted/formatted linux partition.) You'll probably not get through everything because some file/folder will be unhappy (hopefully your floppy disk or hard disk don't have bad sectors). You can then proceed to finish up manually. mkdir /mnt/var cp -a /var/* /mnt/var (Makes the var directory on the mounted hd and copies, again with recursion and other good options, everything from /var onto your hard drive folder.) Things that ought to be on the hard drive: /bin /etc /dev /sbin /lib /boot? /usr /tmp /proc Once you are done copying and you've hopped back and forth and made sure lots of files (all?) were copied we test it by typing in reboot (which reboots the machine, with the boot disk still in!) When you're at the boot: prompt you should type in: linux root=/dev/hda2 (the additional load_ramdisk = 0 is only if you have less than 4MB RAM) Hopefully you will not be prompted for anymore floppies, your HD will buzz and you'll be using your HD for the root. (1/2 way there!) If not, well maybe try checking that enough files were copied over from the "root" floppy (which may mean booting like we did at the very beginning). Now, mount /dev/fd0 /fl gets us access to our boot floppy. cp /fl/* /boot Should copy everything from the boot floppy into the /boot directory on your hard drive. cd /etc vi lilo.conf These commands take you to your linuxloader configuration file so that you can edit it. Vi is a text editor that can be tricky at first - you'll hopefully have read some about it. My extra simple lilo.conf looked like this: boot = /dev/hda map = /boot/system.map install = boot/boot.b timeout = 1 vga = normal image = /boot/linux root = /dev/hda2 label = linux read-write NOTE: I've probably lost access to my Windows partition (/dev/hda1) until I figure out the tortuous dual booting dilemma BUT I can now boot linux completely from my HD. 2/2/05 NEXT: ADDING MORE FILES TO THE SYSTEM VIA THE FLOPPY DRIVE SO THAT I CAN ACCESS THE NET (AND SKIP THE RAWWRITE STEPS).