Make boot floppies

Both installing via net or CD needs bootstrapping with floppy disks. In this chapter we will learn where to get floppy images, and how to make useable boot floppies from them.

What floppies to make

First we need a boot floppy. This will be a custom compiled Linux kernel image able to boot on the 7248. Then we need one or more ramdisk images.

If you use Netscape or another web browser to download the files, you should check that the sizes of the downloaded files are correct. Some versions of Netscape tend to uncompress compressed files, and we want to keep them compressed. If strange things things happen at boot time, try using another program for downloading the files, like wget or lynx.

How to make the boot floppies

Use always errorfree 1.44MB floppies for these images. The commands shown here is for a working Linux system. They might work on other UNIX systems as well. On some systems you may have to be root to write directly to the floppy drive. In those cases, so du a 'su root' before issuing the commands.

MS-DOS users may use the rawrite utility. You can download rawrite from several places, for example a RedHat mirror as More information on how to use rawrite here.

To make the boot floppy, insert a floppy in the drive, cd to the directory containing the boot floppy image and issue the following command, substitute "debian" to your distributon prefix if necessary.

dd if=debian-7248-boot.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=36b
Label the disk "Boot floppy" or whatever you like.

To make a ramdisk floppy, insert a floppy in the drive, cd to the directory containing the ramdisk image, and issue the following command. Substitute the filename with an image for your distribution of choice, like "ydl-7248-ramdisk-2.img" for the second YellowDog ramdisk floppy image.

dd if=debian-7248-ramdisk.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=36b
Label the disk "Ramdisk floppy #1" or whatever you like. Remember that Debian and SuSE has one ramdisk floppy. For Yellow Dog, you need three.