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OP = M-A

We have a laptop that currently suffers from WindowsME?.  We'd like to install Linux on it (the current choice is Kubuntu).  The laptop has a network connection and a USB port, but no CD-ROM drive and no floppy drive.  Suggestions welcome for how we should go about this... :)

Plan



I noticed that Ubuntu can be installed temporarily, by booting from a CD - could the same thing be done with the USB-boot-plus-network scheme?
Yes, I think this is possible. See http://www.pendrivelinux.com/2007/01/25/usb-x-ubuntu-610 See also: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/FromUSBStick --RobHu
Any thoughts on creating the bootable USB stick using Windows? --M-A
No, but have you considered that if you had an Ubuntu CD you could boot off that. As the Ubuntu CDs are also live CDs you wouldn't need to use windows. --RobHu
So I create the Ubuntu CD, boot the Windows2000 PC off that, thus transforming it into a UbuntuPC?, then create the USB Flash boot thingy on the UbuntuPC?, then boot the laptop from the USB drive, then install Ubuntu proper over the network from the UbuntuPC?? --M-A
My thinking is similar. You boot off the Ubuntu CD, making the Windows 2000 PC into an Ubuntu PC, then create the USB Flash thingy which is a essentially a copy of the Ubuntu install CD, then boot the laptop from the USB drive and install Ubuntu proper from the install USB stick you are booting from --RobHu
Ah-hah, right, got it.  And, after all that, it looks as though I can create the USB Flash boot install thingy from Windows after all, on the webpage you linked to. :) --M-A
I just google the pages, I don't read them :-) --RobHu

This seems to be growing increasingly Evil.  Aren't there prebuilt distros that do what you want?  --Vitenka ('dd' exists for windows too...)
What's 'dd'?  Also, pre-built without a CD?  And without paying 30 for another Flash drive, when I've got a perfectly good one already? --M-A
A standard linuxey command.  Stands for 'disk dump' and it writes directly to disk, ignoring filesystems and such and just dumps raw data all over them.  Which is what you want when copying an iso to a stick.  --Vitenka
[Here's an example one, annoyingly split up into multiple parts] --Vitenka (to word more simply, dd is the way you burn iso's to things other than cdroms)




Vitenka recently had a similar issue - which is *booting* a linux image.  Loadlin, the time honoured solution, no longer works (complains about having no room for the ramdisk) "No room after kernel for initrd" - [seems to be a known isue with loadlin].

So, the loadlin alternative appears to be... ["Grub4dos"].

You need to create a config file, of the form:
default 0
timeout 1

title Linux
kernel /vmlinuz PMEDIA=usbflash root=/dev/disk/by-label/casper-rw
initrd /initrd
boot
(this assumes that the kerel you with to boot is named /vmlinuz, the ramdisk image is /initrd and root is wherever you wish to mount - in our case another partition on this usb key)

Then just run it with command line:
 grub --config-file="puppy.conf" --time-out=3

And voila.  It allegedly supports all the grub options, but that's for installing an actual bootsector loader, which isn't what we want here.



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