Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (794 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] OT: Strange Idea Proof of Concept
On Thursday 2017-11-23 15:14, Paul Groves wrote:

Someone said to me the other day that it is possible to convert a linux install ISO, such as openSUSE, Fedora or Ubuntu and put it on floppy disks to install from directly with no CD.

Of course it would be very impractical and also would use many floppies. But then perhaps it could be useful for some uses (although I could not imagine any).

Now personally I have a few floppies with PLOP bootloader on them. I haven't used them for a while but occasionally I will come across a computer with a botched CD drive or the USB ports will not work in the BIOS so it is useful to boot to PLOP then choose the linux USB or CD.

However, I was quite intrigued by this floppy idea and thought it would be a good proof of concept. What ways are there that one would could use to achieve this?

It's possible and we did it in the past. The script for this still exists:
/boot/x86_64/mkbootdisk on the install dvd. I believe you can still create a
set of floppy images - but they won't work as the necessary patches were
removed from syslinux long ago.

The last know usage of boot floppies is, afaik, this incident:

It stopped working with SUSE Linux 11.2. It last worked with 11.1 and you
got a set of a bit over 30 boot floppies.

It's probably possible to apply this process to a recent Tumbleweed and get
(if I did the math correctly) a set of around 70 boot floppies. But you will
have to use the patched bootloader (syslinux) from a SUSE Linux 11.1 distro.

The way it was done was to emulate a larger disk in the bootloader, split
the boot image into floppy sized parts and ask the user for a floppy change
whenever the bootloader accessed a block that's not on the currently
inserted floppy.


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