How to create a boot disk on Fedora C2

James Wilkinson james at
Wed Jun 23 16:31:38 UTC 2004

On the question of booting Linux from floppy "...without the assistance
of a bootloader", Timothy Murphy wrote:
> I guess I misunderstood the question.
> But as a matter of interest, what was the previous method, 
> which is now "not supported"?
> (I'd have thought that if you booted the system from a floppy
> then by definition you were using a bootloader.
> But I admit I'm not sure of the nomenclature in this area.)

What used to happen was that one would copy the kernel directly onto
a raw floppy (no filesystem). The kernel would have 16 bit code in the
right position for the BIOS to find and load (effectively as a built-in 
bootloader), which would load the rest of the kernel from the floppy,
and then pass control to the (16 bit) code that's still there which
uncompresses the kernel image and runs the 32 bit code.

One could also use the 2.4 method of putting a bootloader onto the
floppy (which also allows for initrd images). There was no real
disadvantage to this method, so the kernel crew decided they didn't need
the maintenance (or code size) overhead.


E-mail address: james@ | "It was rare to catch His Holiness at the moment of    | transformation into the Infallible Hulk."
                       |     -- Chris Ward, Church Times caption competition.

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