Rolling your own Debian (net) install cd is not difficult. If you ever need to install Debian on a machine but need special drivers for some of its hardware (say, a raid controller or a network card), you can make your own install cd with custom kernel like this:
mount -o loop bf2.4-3.0.23-mini.iso /cdrom mkdir /cd2; cd /cd2 (tar cvf - /cdrom/* /cdrom/.disk /cdrom/.xlp | tar xvf -) mv cdrom/* . mv cdrom/.disk . mv cdrom/.xlp . rmdir cdrom
mount -o loop rescue.bin /floppy
tar xzvf drivers.tgzThe modules.tgz file needs to be replaced with a tgz archive of the /lib/modules/your-kernel directory. Make the archive:
tar cvzf modules.tgz /lib/modules/your-kernelThen recreate the drivers.tgz file and remove the other files:
rm drivers.tgz tar cvzf drivers.tgz install.sh modconf.tgz modcont modules.tgz pcmcia.tgz type.txt rm install.sh modconf.tgz modcont modules.tgz pcmcia.tgz type.txt
cd / mkisofs -r -b boot/rescue.bin -c boot.catalog -o debian-bf24-2424.iso /cd2/
Remote Debian Install
I needed to install Debian on a couple of HP BL20p's in a colocation thousands of km away. Enter the iLO (integrated Lights-Out) that these blade servers come with - complete with a remote console and 'virtual media'. Both are Java applets - and both work fine from a Debian workstation. The virtual media option allows the mounting of a floppy (image) or a cdrom in a machine with web browser, which shows up as a usb floppy/cdrom in the blade server. Brilliant concept, right?
I couldn't get the virtual media to work with Firebird or Konqueror and my JVM 1.4.2. With the static Opera .deb's from opera.com, it works fine - provided you run Opera as root in order to access your cdrom.
The remote console worked in all browsers I tried.
Doing a dual-floppy boot/root install from stock Woody install images doesn't work - the kernel on the boot disk doesn't recognize the floppy change. But with the bf2.4 iso image it worked fine - though I had to swap its kernel for a 2.4.24 with support for the SmartArray 5i controller and the Broadcom 5700 gigabit ethernet card.
There's something amazing about doing an OS install from another continent...
If you ever need to drive a truck through Boston, avoid Memorial Drive. It's got lots of height restrictions - not necessarily indicated before it is too late to take an alternative road. Trust me, backing op on Mem Drive is not fun. And as I found out afterwards, driving a truck there is apparently illegal - though in typical Bostonian fashion, that was not indicated in any clear way...