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(?) Linux boots from RAMdisk,

From keesan

Answered By: Kapil Hari Paranjape, Thomas Adam

I tried telling CMOS that there was no second drive because someone suggested that method to get linux to recognize a larger drive, but my drive is 3GB. I have DOS on a master drive and two linux partitions on the slave drive, with one linux in each, and RAMdisk and loop versions in DOS partitions.

I am able to mount the linux partitions when running from the RAMdisk or loop versions and then switch to run linux on them:

mount /dev/hdb1 /mnt

chroot /mnt

This puts hdb1 on / and I can then use linux on the ext2 partition.

(!) [Kapil] But this is essentially what most initrd-based start up procedures do anyway! So, though I haven't used BasixLinux, I would guess that the problem is with the start scripts on your ext2 partition in /etc/rcS.d or some such.

(?) This is a minor nuisance and I suppose I could put it in an rc file, or just use the smaller version unless I needed the larger one.

(!) [Kapil] The glass could also be half full! Given the variety of hardware that Linux runs on it is surprising that so many computers boot with it at all. :-)

(?) I am writing out of curiosity - why are so many computers difficult to boot with linux? Is there a better fix for this one? Is there a better fix for the other three besides installing Win98 DOS on them (and having to use a boot floppy to defragment the DOS partitions after that) or rebooting with a Win98 boot disk to go from DOS to linux?

I also have one Northgate 386 SX 20MHz 4.7MB RAM laptop which has no cursor in linux. Cirrus video, 256K video RAM, mono VGA. The cursor is plain white when used in color VGA. The computer in theory can output to a color monitor in 800x600 resolution.

(!) [Kapil] Is this with or without X? The question is not clear enough. Are you in graphics mode or text mode?
(!) [Thomas] The distinction here is whether he is running with Framebuffers or not. Framebuffers are pretty much standard and most monitors that are not of the dark age can handle them, assuming their VGAness is OK. That said, certain monitors can react badly to the Framebuffer modeline it has been given and blank out. In fact, I remember discussing this some time ago in LG:

(?) Does laptop video treat software cursors oddly? A cursor appears when I use a text editor. There is a cursor while booting to DOS and in DOS. Another 386 with identical speed, RAM and video won't boot linux at all - the screen goes black and I need to reboot. What might cause this problem?

(!) [Kapil] Try booting with the additional option "vesafb=off". Some of the older hardware may not respond well to being switched to graphic mode.
(!) [Thomas] Again, that won't be enough. He'll need to tell it to not only ignore vesafb, but to ensure that the vag16 definitions are turned off. So at the boot prompt:
linux nofb video=vga16:off vesafb=off vga=normal
Ought to do it.

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Published in issue 109 of Linux Gazette December 2004

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