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       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
       boot disk.


       method The bootmechanism to use for booting up Linux. See below for the
              supported methods.

       kernel A compressed linux kernel. If not specified the default /vmlinuz
              is  assumed.   mkrboot  will configure the kernel flags properly
              for booting.

              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
              in the current directory. The 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
              boot floppy.

       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 <>
              Idea and Initial Version

       Bernd Eckenfels <>
              Enhancements, Sanity Checks and Maintaining