Links to other Libretto Linux (etc) Pages


The Libretto 50 CT may have a horribly small keyboard, appalling low resolution, a tiny screen, horrible mouse and buttons, a small disc, no PS/2 sockets, and an unusable Floppy (under Linux), But it's a nice little beastie !

A member of our department bought one and asked me to load Linux (we use RedHat) before he went off on a trip in a couple of days time. Not one to pass up a challenge, I trawled the web for hints as to how to do it (see above).

Loading RedHat 5.0

Unfortunately I used Partition Magic to try to shrink the W95 partition, but it died (yet again) leaving me with an unbootable HDA.

As the user isn't a HACKer and values things like warranty, I opted not to take out the HDA.
We had ZIP drives, and I've always wanted to make a bootable ZIP disc but it sounded a bit protracted for my needs.
I was taken by the amazing simplicity of a big initrd which worked a treat for me.

Suggested partitions

To use the initrd approach, a M$ FS is needed.
Use your W95 FS
I don't think it's practical to have W95 and Linux on a 50, but it should be on the bigger machines. If so, just follow the instructions
Use your W95 FS sucicidally
Of course, if you get it right first time, you can also do this suicidally ...
Have a small DOS partition
This is generally useful `just in case', and means that the relevant files can be left around for subsequent use (e.g. to upgrade), and it also means that by rebooting into DOS, floppies can be read into the partition (DOS uses the BIOS to read the floppy) and then when Linux is rebooted, the files can be accesses.
This is what I did.
Use the swap partition
It should also be possible to load a suicidal system into the swap area at any time (having set the partition type to 06), which can be used until all is believed stable, and then ZAPped by mkswap.
Use the Linux partition
If you don't plan to have any swap (!) it should be possible to use the Linux partition in a similar manner to swap above, but there is no `second chance' ....

Detailed Instructions

I am not a DOS user.
I found the `HELP' command and pieced together some bits.
If you have any suggested improvements, please let me know !

On a Linux box, fetch the initrd and split it into two files, so that it can be copied using floppies.

split -b 1040233 initrd.gz initrd.
When the data is needed, copy the files (initrd.aa or initrd.ab) onto a DOS floppy using
mcopy initrd.aa a:
On the Libnetto, boot an FDISK MSDOS floppy, and create a MS FAT partition. Load MS-DOS (3 floppies). Copy a kernel from the RH boot floppy kernel onto C:
Copy dosutils/loadlin.exe from the RedHat CD to a floppy and copy onto C:
Copy init.aa (as above) from floppy to C:
Append the second half (is there a better way ?)
With all the data on C:, the boot procedure can begin
Use NFS, FTP, CD, or whetever you normally do ...

Piete Brooks 2005-08-13