Building a Linux Media Network, one step at a time

Monday, January 30, 2006

Installing Debian

Installing DSL went fine, but I wanted to take a little side-track and setup Debian on Fulcrum (Via Epia SP800). I have a feeling that the drivers for the CN400 chipset, which can help out in the video decoding, will be better supported under Debian.

I thought that installing Debian without a CD would just take a similar sort of jiggery-pokery as installing DSL or SUSE from one partition to another. Unfortunately, the default Debian installer is hard-coded to look for a CD-ROM drive and will refuse to load its packages from anywhere else. Once I figured out the necessary steps, it was pretty straightforward:

  1. Download the "business card" network install CD
  2. RTFM: see sections 4.5 and 5.1.2 and of Debian Install Guide
  3. In a clean partition, create /boot/newinstall. Copy vmlinuz and initrd.gz from here to /boot/newinstall. Copy businesscard.iso from step one to /boot.
  4. Add new entry to GRUB configuration:

    title New Install
    kernel (hd0,3)/boot/newinstall/vmlinuz root=/dev/ram0 ramdisk_size=12000
    initrd (hd0,3)/boot/newinstall/initrd.gz

  5. Accept all defaults in installer.


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