Making HD bootable

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Tue Feb 18 12:10:27 PST 2003

On Tue, 18 Feb 2003, [UTF-8] Roberto F. Brandão wrote:

> I was wondering if it is possible to make the nodes' HDs
> bootable and make then start the Linux Network Install
> just after they boot.
> I am trying to find a way to make possible using a unique
> removable CD/floppy unit for a few minutes in each node.
> Excuse my rough example, but using a pseudo DOS, it
> would work like this:
> - Install the CD/floppy unit
> - Boot from floppy
> - A:\ sys c: --> Make HD bootable
> - A:\ copy c: --> Copy the Install program to HD
> - Shutdown
> After the node boot, it would run That
> program would install the entire OS via network. Of course,
> it would ask for IP address, Gateway, etc.
> Does someone know if exists something like this ?

I can't see why it wouldn't work (although getting the floppy image onto
the hard disk as a bootable partition might be "interesting" in the
sense of the chinese curse to work out, or it might be a very easy dd
followed by an rdev:-).  However, it would be infinitely easier to just

  - Install the CD/floppy unit
  - Boot from floppy straight into kickstart
  - Kickstart install a very minimal system image -- a barebones system
  - Complete the installation EITHER via the grubby trick I gave you in
a previous reply (toggle it into booting a full kickstart install) OR
use a tool like yum to update the image you installed to the full
desired package list.  This latter two-stage yum install is something
I've long thought would be very cool, and useful to folks with e.g. a
DSL or other low-bandwidth connection.  I've found the hard way that it
is easy to bollix a full network install over a noisy DSL connection,
and an interrupted Red Hat install has to be started over.  Yum, on the
other hand, is trivially restartable -- you don't even have to reboot.

Even a full install would likely only take a few minutes per node.  A
minimal install would take less than one.  Over forty nodes, you need to
take less than three or four hours working out a better solution or it
will take less time to just do the full install from the floppy one
system at a time and be done with it.


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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