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  1. #1

    Installing Linux Kernel - process


    The Requirement:
    Iím must define a manual CD-ROM installation and gathering the needed tools.

    I need to install a Linux kernel (bzImage) onto a computer
    which has no operating system on the hard drive. The bzImage has all the needed OS files
    but it must be installed.

    1) I know Iíll need Grub or some bootloader.
    2) the boot image itself
    3) Someway to format/patrition the Hard Drive
    4) Someway to WRITE the Hard Drive boot sectors correctly with the image and install the image files.


    Can I get some suggestions on process and most important, good tools
    to do the job with?

    Iím a little fuzzy on the specifics


  2. #2
    Just Joined! simon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    New Zealand
    i'm not sure that i understand your question. bzImage is usually a compressed kernel (i.e. just the kernel): it certainly doesn't contain "all the needed OS files" to run a gnu/linux system (it may be enough for the boot manager to launch your linux system, but it will hang before you get to a console).

    in order to install it, yes, you'll need all the things you listed in (1)-(4). to do all that you'll need to be working from an existing distro, e.g. from a live cd-rom distro. start by partitioning the hard disk (using something like fdisk, cfdisk, or a gui tool) or, if your disk is already partitioned how you want it, you can format it straight away. assuming you use the common "ext3" filesystem, you can format it via the mke2fs tool (using a command like "mke2fs -j -O dir_index /dev/sdxx" where xx is the partition you want to format like a1 or whatever...obviously BE CAREFUL as partitioning and formatting hard disks can trash EVERYTHING on the disk if you make the tiniest mistake) or some gui tool.

    once the disk is formatted you can copy bzImage into /boot via plain old "cp" (e.g. cp /mnt/cdrom/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz) but as i said before, this only installs a kernel, not the actual os it needs to do anything useful. finally, as you said, grub or lilo can be installed to the hard disk once you've created either /boot/grub/menu.lst or /etc/lilo.conf and pointed it at your kernel.

    ALL of these steps can be done for you automatically by any friendly modern distro (e.g. ubuntu) but if you want to do it manually, roughly the steps above will do the trick. the end result (if you set up grub or lilo properly...i didn't detail the steps involved in that) will probably be a system that will boot your kernel and immediately hang. if you want an actual working install, you'll need a whole ton of stuff under /etc, /bin, /sbin and so on before the kernel can even take you to a bash prompt.

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