mkrboot - Generates combined kernel+root image floppies / .EXE files
mkrboot method [ kernel [ rootimg [ device [ size ] ] ] ]
mkrboot is a system administration tool that is primarily of use for
generating boot floppies for Linux distributions. Those boot floppies
should be fairly easy to handle and there should be the least number of
disks possible. Mkrboot makes installations possible with one or no
method The bootmechanism to use for booting up Linux. See below for the
kernel A compressed linux kernel. If not specified the default /vmlinuz
is assumed. mkrboot will configure the kernel flags properly
A compressed rootimage (a minix filesystem is probably best)
that contains the initial root filesystem to be used during
installation. If not specified the file root.bin in the current
directoy is the default.
device The device on which the floppy image should be generated. This
can be a ramdisk but then the size should also be specified. The
default is /dev/fd0 if omitted.
When loadlin is the boot method then no floppy image is
generated. Instead a filename is specified to designate the
name of the .ZIP file to be written. The default is debinst.zip
in the current directory. The debinst.zip image should be copied
onto a dos partition and possibly be converted to an exe using
the "zip2exe.exe" program of pkzip.
If the kernel method is used then the device can also be a
regular file to be generated.
Boot Methods to get a minimal Linux System started from one
floppy or none:
Generates a .ZIP file which contains everything needed to boot
up. The .ZIP File should be converted to an .EXE file using
zip2exe from pkzip. The file can then be distributed and the end
user can simply type the name of it to decompress it. The
kernel, rootimage, loadli and an install script will be
unpacked. Typing "install" should then fire up the linux
The advantage of this method is that it does not use any
floppies at all and thus has no size limitations. The kernel
ramdisks are limited to 4 Megabytes though. Therefore the
maximum size of the compressed root image should be around 2
lilo Generates a floppy disk which can be booted with a combined
kernel+root fs. The floppy disk will be formatted as a MINIX
Filesystem. I tried making it a DOS fs but running lilo
destroyed the root directory (?).
Lilo boots are common for booting an already running Linux
system. This method should be the most familiar for Linux
kernel Uses the kernel loader. Also generates a floppy disk which boots
with combined kernel+root fs. The kernel loader has no
interactive mode, so the end user cannot change any boot
parameters on a commandline! But the kernel loader is the
fastest method and the method that leaves the most room on the
fdos Uses FreeDOS to boot up a minimal DOS system. Loadlin is used on
the minimal system to then load Linux. The advantage here is
that everything can be reconfigured on the dos level. A new
kernel/root image can simply be copied onto the floppy and it
will work. The user can customize the rootdisk at will!
Troubles: FreeDOS is not very stable and the FreeDOS stuff takes
up a certian amoung of space on the boot disk.
Uses a dos formatted floppy disk and a special boot loader to
avoid loading ms-dos. Permits changing any configuration on the
disk itself without having to run some tool afterwards.
Right now syslinux is not able to do booting with a root image.
The current version should work with syslinux as soon as
something is released that supports that feature.
Christoph Lameter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Idea and Initial Version
Bernd Eckenfels <email@example.com>
Enhancements, Sanity Checks and Maintaining