Dec 132017
Tips on how to install LINUX the free UNIX clone onto your hard disk drive.
File INSTLINX.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category UNIX Files
Tips on how to install LINUX the free UNIX clone onto your hard disk drive.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
LINUXSET.DOC 9744 3850 deflated
READ.BAT 37 37 stored

Download File INSTLINX.ZIP Here

Contents of the LINUXSET.DOC file

Some instructions on how to put the LINUX root on your hard drive and be
able to boot to it (as written by someone who doesn't know jack about UNIX)


In my humble opinion, there isn't any way that following these instructions
(with the limited "doc's" for LINUX close by) can mess anything up;
probably the worst that can happen is you'll have to start the whole setup
process over again. Nonetheless, I hereby wash my hands of any and all
liability for damages sustained as the result of following these
instructions. As long as you do things exactly as they're written here,
and follow the limitations as listed in the doc's for LINUX, I really don't
see any problems... Just be sure to read EVERYTHING before doing this



There I was; hard disk containing the successfully transferred
filesystem from LINUX, and no way to access it. After reading the so-
called "doc's" about 100 times, I figured it was time to do a little
hacking from the DOS end. In order for the hard disk to contain the LINUX
root, the word starting at byte 508 had to be changed to 0x0302... No
mention on whether this is a decimal value or a hex value... (This is for
my configuration; yours may be different... Read on...) The problem is,
the "doc's" refer to a sample program that they conveniently forgot to
include in the .ZIP that could take care of this. Nice guys...


Not being the most experienced person in the DEBUG field, I had to do
numerous different alterations until I finally got the HD to boot as the
root drive. Hopefully, this text file will clear up a few things that I
learned so that others out there who want to play with this UNIX clone can
do so. (Note: these instructions will tell you how to make the hard drive
the "root", but you'll still need to boot from a LINUX boot floppy. If
there's a way to have the entire operating system bootable from the hard
drive from the very beginning, I haven't seen it yet. Possibly if LINUX is
in the first partition it'll do it, but I'm not adventurous enough to
hassle with that. I still like DOS, and have no intention of making my
entire computer run off of a beta release of LINUX!)


The first thing that needs to be done is to partition your hard drive with
TWO primary partitions. Older versions of FDISK have been known to do this
(I used Disk Manager). Perhaps DOS 5.0's FDISK can do it, but I didn't
bother to check. I know that 5.0's FDISK can switch between two primary
partitions, so chances are good that it can set them up too. You'll have
to refer to your DOS manual to see if you have this capability. Obviously,
all of the data from your hard drive will be wiped out, so backup
everything before doing this.

After setting up the two partitions, make the XENIX/UNIX partition (or
whatever your FDISK says your new LINUX partition is called) active.
Reboot with the LINUX boot disk (this assumes that you've already set the
boot and root disks up with RAWRITE. If not, refer to the doc's for

Next, after you're in LINUX (at this point, you've booted up with the boot
disk, the root disk is in your floppy drive, and you're at a "#" prompt),
type FDISK to see what partitions LINUX can read from your HD. If you get
garbage, I can't help you; either go back and do the RAWRITE stuff all over
again, or don't bother to continue (stick with DOS...). LINUX needs to use
"AT" type drives; this isn't too clear to me, but basically you can use IDE
drives but not SCSI ones. There just isn't any support for some HD's yet.

Pay special attention to the partition that DOESN'T contain DOS. This is
the one that you're installing LINUX on. At the beginning of the partition
display lines, there should be something that looks like "/dev/hd1" or
"/dev/hd2"; these are what LINUX is naming the partitions. After this
information, there should me a number with the word "blocks" next to it;
this is the amount of space in kilobytes that the partition contains. You
need both the partition "name" and the number of "blocks" to transfer the
filesystem to the hard drive.

To transfer the filesystem to the hard drive, you type (at the "#" prompt):

mkfs -c /dev/hdX blocks

in all lower-case letters, replacing the "X" in "/dev/hdX" with the number
that LINUX named the partition, and the number of kilobytes in the
partition in place of "blocks". So if you have a 10 meg partition, and
LINUX's FDISK reported it as:

/dev/hd2 : 10200 blocks: undetermined partition device 0x02
(I forget what it looks like; it's something like this)

you would type: mkfs -c /dev/hd2 10200

This may take a while if you have a large partition. It may look and sound
like your controller card is locked up, but bear with it for a few minutes.
The "-c" is for checking the blocks in the partition to make sure that
they're ready for the new operating system. (Think of it as another form of
DOS's FORMAT command.) Note: EVERYTHING in the partition will be
completely wiped out, so make sure that you're performing this on the
correct one!!!

Now you're ready to "mount" the filesystem. For consistency, I'll refer to
the drive as /dev/hd2, because that's what my system is set up to. Use
whatever drive you used in the "mkfs" line.

Type this:

cd /
mount /dev/hd2 /user

If you get errors, then mkfs screwed up. I don't know what to do in this
case. (I guess, once again, stick with DOS...)

At this point you need to transfer all of the files from the root floppy
onto the hard drive. When at the "#" prompt, this is what you type:

for i in bin dev etc usr floppy
cp +recursive +verbose /$i $i

After the files are through being transferred, type "sync" three times,
each time waiting for the sync process to end. Reboot your computer with
your DOS system diskette.

When you're in DOS, you're going to use DEBUG to change the 508th and 509th
byte in BOOTU.IMG so that it'll sook on the hard drive for the root as
opposed to the floppy drive. Here's where things get a little sticky...

First of all, you don't want to do anything with the LINUX boot diskette;
that's going to be overwritten by the new version of BOOTU.IMG that you're
going to create. You want to alter a new copy of BOOTU.IMG as extracted
from the original LINUX archive file. Copy it onto a floppy, log onto the
floppy drive that you just copied the boot image file to, and call up
DEBUG, using the path that points to it, passing the BOOTU.IMG filename to

^(or whatever drive your floppy is in)

When you're at the "-" prompt, type "E 2FC". This will take you to the
508th byte, and will show you the contents. At this point, you enter the
numeric value that points to the device number of the drive partition.
After hitting ENTER, type "E 2FD", which takes you to the 509th byte, at
which time you enter "03", which is the LINUX code for a hard drive. So,
if you set up your system for /dev/hd2, you would enter "02" at 2FC, and
"03" at 2FD. Or, if you set it up for /dev/hd6, you would enter "06" at
2FC and "03" at 2FD. (The reason that you don't go to the hex address of
byte 508 directly is that DEBUG loads files starting at byte 100h, which is
byte 256 in decimal. You need to add 508 to 256, giving you 764. The
address of the 764th byte in a DEBUG session is 2FC in hexadecimal. It
took me TOO LONG to figure this little trick out, not being the most
frequent DEBUG-er...).

When you're through changing those two bytes, type "w" at the "-" prompt to
write the changes to BOOTU.IMG, then type "q" to exit DEBUG. The boot
image file is now ready to read the hard drive as the root. Use RAWRITE to
copy BOOTU.IMG to the LINUX boot floppy (overwriting the old version), and
with the newly revised LINUX boot disk in the bootable disk drive, reboot
the computer. If all works well, after hitting ENTER when prompted to,
instead of a prompt to "Insert Root Diskette" you should be seeing the
continuation of the boot process as executed from the hard drive.

Again, this doesn't eliminate the use of the boot diskette. It only
enables you to use the hard drive for the LINUX root (which is a hell of a
lot better than a 1.2meg floppy that has only 30k of space left on it!).
This opens up the operating system to let you use other binaries downloaded
from BBS's and such; otherwise, you'd be stuck with a small amount of space
on a floppy to play with. Besides, the hard drive runs a HELLUVA lot

(Now, to learn UNIX... Iggghhh...)

Erik Ratcliffe
(Eyes bugging out from carpal tunnel syndrome after
spending 5 hours trying to get LINUX loaded right)

 December 13, 2017  Add comments

Leave a Reply