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Current HOWTO: Installing Linux on ZIP disk using ppa ZIP Drive Mini-Howto

Installing Linux on ZIP disk using ppa ZIP Drive Mini-Howto: Setting up the ZIP disk Next Previous Contents

3. Setting up the ZIP disk

(Common for both Red Hat and Slackware distributions.) Before starting, make sure that you have access to the ZIP drive; either by having ppa in the kernel or by having the ppa module loaded. One easy way to find this out is by checking dmesg:

==> dmesg

You may have to pipe this to more as dmesg tends to be rather long. Here's a snip from mine:

scsi0 : PPA driver version 0.26 using 4-bit mode on port 0x3bc.
scsi : 1 host.
  Vendor: IOMEGA    Model: ZIP 100           Rev: D.08
  Type:   Direct-Access                      ANSI SCSI revision: 02
Detected scsi removable disk sda at scsi0, channel 0, id 6, lun 0
SCSI device sda: hdwr sector= 512 bytes. Sectors= 196608 [96 MB] [0.1 GB]
 sda: Write Protect is off
 sda: sda1 sda2

If you only see something like:

   scsi : 0 hosts.
   scsi : detected total.

then you have SCSI support but the ZIP wasn't found.

3.1 Partitioning ZIP disk

To partition the ZIP disk, run fdisk:

==> fdisk /dev/sda/

Here is a snap of the partition table I have setup:

 Disk /dev/sda: 64 heads, 32 sectors, 96 cylinders
 Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 bytes

    Device Boot   Begin    Start      End   Blocks   Id  System
 /dev/sda1            1        1       81    82928   83  Linux native
 /dev/sda2           82       82       96    15360   82  Linux swap

I decided to use a swap partition since I wanted to be able to use this with any machine.

3.2 Formatting and mounting the ZIP disk

After running fdisk, format the new partition:

==> mke2fs -c /dev/sda1

Then, create the swap partition: (15360 blocks as taken from fdisk)

==> mkswap -c /dev/sda2 15360

Last, you'll need to mount the ZIP disk:

==> mount /dev/sda1 /iomega -t ext2

3.3 Creating the boot disk

Since the ppa version of the ZIP drive isn't a true SCSI device, it isn't a bootable device and, therefore, requires a boot disk which has ppa included in the kernel and not as a module.

Configuring and making the kernel

First, you'll need to configure and make a kernel that has ppa support enabled and not as a loadable module. In order to get to the ppa option, select SCSI support:

SCSI support (CONFIG_SCSI) [Y/m/n/?]

Plus, SCSI disk support:

SCSI disk support (CONFIG_BLK_DEV_SD) [Y/m/n/?]

And finally, under the SCSI low-level drivers, is the ppa support:

IOMEGA Parallel Port ZIP drive SCSI support (CONFIG_SCSI_PPA) [Y/m/n/?]

Again, be sure not to include ppa as a module, but rather in the kernel. Thus far, without the use of the parport kernel patch (see 1.4), the ppa driver will not allow the passive port of the ZIP drive to be used for a printer, so you may want to say no to parallel printer support:

Parallel printer support (CONFIG_PRINTER) [N/y/m/?]

  NOTE: For more information concerning the ppa driver, please
        refer to the ZIP-Drive mini-HOWTO.

Once the kernel is configured, make the kernel:

==> make dep; make clean; make zImage

The new kernel should be found in arch/i386/boot/zImage.

Getting the kernel to a floppy

After having to have 4 separate floppies due to different kernels and needing different parameters, (plus the great email I got telling me how to do this) I have included a section on LILO as one of the means of creating a bootable floppy.

LILO installation

For those who have to, or for that matter just want to, have several kernels on one floppy (now adays, mine are too large) or just want to be able to pass arguments (such as single user mode) I received email on how to install LILO on a floppy.

Creating the ext2 filesystem

To create an ext2 filesystem on a floppy, just do the same command for the ZIP disk:

==> mke2fs -t /dev/fd0

Copying the essential files

Next, make sure there's a directory for a mount point, and mount the floppy (I used /mnt/floppy):

==> mount /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy -t ext2

is to boot properly, you'll need the same files that LILO uses on your current Linux installation.

    NOTE: The file locations here are from my machine
          and may not be the same for everyone.

==> cp /boot/boot.b /mnt/floppy

==> cp /boot/map /mnt/floppy

==> cp /usr/src/linux/arch/i386/boot/zImage /mnt/floppy/vmlinuzDESK

Now to create the config file for LILO, now I miss the liloconfig program... (Thanks to Javier Rodriguez for this info) First, create the LILO config file, /mnt/floppy/lilo.conf, for the kernel(s) for the ZIP disk. Here's what I used so that I could have different kernels to test with:


I have two kernels, one for my 486 laptop which required the math-co emulation in the kernel and the other for my desktop. The rescue allows me to make an emergency boot to the hard drive.

Last but not least, with the floppy still mounted, run LILO to install it on the floppy with the command:

==> lilo -C /mnt/floppy/lilo.conf

Once LILO has been installed on the floppy, skip the next two steps, unless you enjoy doing this over again :)

Kernel only installation

   NOTE: This does not pertain for the LILO install.

Copy the newly made kernel to a floppy disk:

==> cp arch/i386/boot/zImage /dev/fd0


==> cat arch/i386/boot/zImage > /dev/fd0

Yes, there are many ways to copy the kernel to a floppy, but the last way, my favorite, is a little more encrypted. Try not to forget the > unless you like viewing binary files :)

Setting the root and swap on the floppy

   NOTE: This does not pertain for the LILO install.

Once the kernel is on the floppy, you need to set the root device to the ZIP disk: ==> rdev /dev/fd0 /dev/sda1 I'm not sure if the next option is needed, but I did it none the less. To set the swap:

==> rdev -s /dev/fd0 /dev/sda2

Next Previous Contents

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