[Soekris] Booting to PXELinux With CF Card Present
hal at thresholddigital.com
Fri Oct 10 23:02:45 UTC 2008
I have a new net5501 and I want to install Debian Linux on it (BIOS is
1.33). I have a hard drive on it and I've setup a PXE boot server to
start the Linux install.
As I understand it, I can't boot off a hard drive and have to set
up /boot in the CF card. I've also found comments about a bug in BIOS
where people have not consistently been able to boot after installing
an OS on a hard drive. I've found that once I had any data (from a
failed install) on the hard drive, the 5501 would fail to boot about 2
out of every 3 times. When I put a CF card in, it made it through the
entire boot sequence but, of course, stopped when it found no OS on the
Whenever I boot my 5501 (there's no OS on it yet), if the CF card is in,
I get an error message and it locks up, which brings up the question of
how to install an OS on the CF when I can't have it connected when I
Also one time I booted without the CF in, then once the PXELinux boot
started, plugged the CF in. Later, when the installer was trying to
detect hardware and disk drives, it froze.
So here's what I'm trying to figure out:
1) Is there a way to boot off the hard drive consistently, without
dealing with the bug I've read about? (Then I wouldn't need the CF.)
2) How can I install Debian Linux so /boot is on the CF card when I
can't boot with the empty (formated to ext3) CF card in and plugging it
in later doesn't seem to make it recognizable?
I'm basically trying to set up Debian on this box and be able to use the
hard drive. If I can put most of the root fs on the flash, leaving
most of the hard drive to storage, that would be great. I've checked
and followed several HOWTO articles, including in the Soekris Wiki, on
installing Debian on a Soekris box, but they always seem to miss a
couple critical details (for instance the one I just mentioned left off
the need to add "CONSOLE=/dev/ttyS0,19200" to the append lines for the
kernel boot options).
If anyone has a quick or better way to do this so the system will boot
every time and run Debian, I'm open to better ways to install it.
I would have searched the archives for answers, but I could not find a
web page that let me do that. I've spent a lot of time combing through
comments found through Google that almost but not really helped me out.
Thanks for any help.
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