Debian floppy install fails

I thought I had hit upon a sure-fire winner for my ancient laptop when I remembered that Debian can do a net-based installation off floppies.

Or at least it’s supposed to; on a different machine it might actually work. For me, however, I was plagued by a strange looping error where the message “INFO kbd-mode setting console mode to Unicode” spun past the installer forever.

CTRL-C wouldn’t stop it (and occasionally would make the installer segfault) and no other key had any effect. Apparently it’s something that happens to others too, but without more information than that, I’m afraid I had to delay that attempt.

And with only two floppies in the whole house, writing and rewriting them was becoming a chore. ;)

But it’s a shame, really. I was curious to see how it would go, and what it could do. I’ll think about it for another day or so, and then try again. This might be worth the effort.

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5 Responses to “Debian floppy install fails”


  1. 1 devnet 2008/12/04 at 7:39 AM

    SLACK!!!! SLACK!!! Go Slackware!

    Ok, maybe slackware holds a dear place in my heart being the first distribution I tried in the mid nineties…

  2. 2 johnraff 2008/12/04 at 1:07 PM

    Looked as if that person didn’t have enough memory for his “alpha” machine (whatever that is), though they fixed it eventually. Maybe your 16MB is too small. Maybe try an older Debian version, or posting in the same Debian bug reports or forums?

  3. 3 johnraff 2008/12/05 at 1:20 PM

    Hmm looks as if “woody” is the most recent Debian version that will work on 16MB of RAM:
    http://www.debian.org/releases/woody/i386/ch-hardware-req.en.html#s2.3
    (sarge>32, etch>48)

    I have a vested interest here as I’ve got this 16MB Toshiba laptop waiting for the kiss of life…

  4. 4 miksuh 2008/12/05 at 7:36 PM

    How old debian release did you try to install? Sarge? I ask this because newer Debian Etch and Debian Lenny can’t be installed using floppies.

  5. 5 Simo 2008/12/05 at 10:31 PM

    Debian Etch can certainly be installed using floppies. That’s how I installed my current system, and I didn’t have any problems. (This was with kernel 2.6.18; I don’t know if the situation has changed with “Etch-and-a-half” with kernel 2.6.24.) However, when my brother tried to use the same floppies, he said there were some problems with his HomePNA connection. In the end he used a CD after all.

    I’ve understood that currently there are no floppy images available for the beta of Lenny Installer, but that should change by the final version.


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