Stupid Linux Tricks

Here are some goofy things that can make using Linux a little easier.

Booting LILO from a floppy

It takes 5 extra seconds to boot Linux from a floppy than from the HD and it gives me more of a sense of control that stupid Windows won't screw up my boot partition if I put LILO on it too, so I boot from floppy.

This is most easily done by just copying the kernel to a floppy ala:

  % dd if=/vmlinuz of=/dev/fd0

Of course, its a bit harder to configure things on the fly without something like LILO. So, here is how I do it. I culled most of this from an old HOWTO that doesn't seem nearly as useful now.

Setup /etc/lilo.conf as usual, but you'll be specifying some things directly to lilo, so you don't need to specify boot location. Mine looks like:

# LILO configuration file
# generated by 'liloconfig'
# Start LILO global section
#boot = /dev/fd0
#compact        # faster, but won't work on all systems.
delay = 50
vga = normal    # force sane state
#ramdisk = 0     # paranoia setting
# End LILO global section
# Linux bootable partition config begins
image = /fd/vmlinuz
  append = "mem=96M"
  root = /dev/hdb2
  label = linux
# Linux bootable partition config ends
image = /fd/vmlinuz.ramdisk
  root = /dev/hdb2
  label = ramlinux
  append = "ramdisk_size=4096"

Now you need to setup a filesystem on a floppy disk by doing:

  % mke2fs /dev/fd0

Mount it and create the /boot directory

  % mkdir /fd
  % mount /dev/fd0 /fd
  % mkdir /fd/boot
  % umount /fd

Finally, use this script to create the bootdisk:

# Make a LILO bootable floppy with /boot on the floppy. 
# Copied directly from the LILO documentation
# Oct. 14 1996 rcrit
mount /dev/fd0 /fd
cp /boot/boot.b /fd
cp /boot/vmlinuz.* /fd
cp /boot/vmlinuz /fd
/sbin/lilo -C /etc/lilo.conf -b /dev/fd0 -i /fd/boot.b -c -m /fd/map
umount /fd

Replacing a drive in LVM2

See this article.
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