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Once the principle of booting a filesystem in a file on a DOS partition has been established there are many other things that you can now do.
If it is possible to boot Linux from a file on a DOS harddisk by using a boot floppy then it is obviously also possible to do it using the harddisk itself.
A configuration boot menu can be used to give the option of running
In this case the DOS format floppy disk can be replaced by an ext2fs format one. Otherwise the details are very similar, with the kernel and the initial ramdisk being files on that disk.
The reason that I chose the
I have tried the NTFS method, and have had no problems with it. The NTFS filesystem driver is not a standard kernel option in version 2.0.x, but is available as a patch from http://www.informatik.hu-berlin.de/~loewis/ntfs/. In version 2.2.x the NTFS driver is included as standard in the kernel.
The only changes for the VFAT or NTFS options are in the initial ramdisk, the
I know of no reason why this should not also work on a VFAT partition.
The process of installing Linux on a PC from a standard distribution requires booting from a floppy disk and re-partitioning the disk. This stage could instead be accomplished by a boot floppy that creates an empty loopback device and swap file. This would allow the installation to proceed as normal, but it would install into the loopback device rather than a partition.
This could be used as an alternative to a
This method can also be used to boot a Linux system from a device that is not normally bootable.
Obviously there are many other devices that could be used, NFS root filesystems are already included in the kernel as an option, but the method described here might also be used instead.
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