Installing Debian, Ubuntu or LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) from HDD

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

First of all, you may ask yourself why would you want to do this. I did it because I did not want to waste a blank CD.

This Mint installation was performed using a Live Linux booted with PXE( I used plop linux , which is a lightweight Linux distribution.

I prefer Linux Mint because of its clean themes, and I hate it a bit because it brads Firefox to use a Mint customized google search. In my opinion, Mint is faster and closer to Debian than Ubuntu.

I used Plop Linux to download the Linux Mint Debian edition 32bit. 
I tried to boot the iso with grub4dos, which did not work because initramfs did not find the ramdisk created and booted in grub with:

map --mem (hd0,2)/linuxmint.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)

 

As a note to self, choosing other HDD number than 32 does not properly map the ISO into a ramdisk. Also, mapping the ISO image without --mem did not work, because grub complained that the ISO file is not contiguous.

Some linux distros can boot off an ISO image,this did not.

So I had to:

 Extract the iso, mounting it first with Plop linux: 

mkdir /mnt/iso
mkdir /mnt/hdinstall
mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/hdinstall
mount /mnt/hdinstall/linuxmint.iso /mnt/iso -o loop
cp -rfv /mnt/iso/* /mnt/hdinstall 

At this time the partition used as our install source contains the /casper and /isolunux directories

I had installed grub before all this (I use grub4dos mentioned earlier):

 bootlace.com /dev/sda

,  so I could reboot, enter grub-pc command prompt by pressing  c and issue

root (hd0,2)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz boot=live live-media-path=/casper debug
initrd /casper/initrd.lz
boot

Note that grub is counting the partitions starting from 0 (zero), while linux counts them starting from 1. Booting the kernel without the boot=live and live-media-path did not work, because initramfs will not find your  source media folder

This boots Linux Mint live, offering you a desktop icon to make the install permanent on HDD.

 Of course, I took inspiration from various sources, including the ones below:

http://crunchbanglinux.org/forums/topic/11043/boot-squashfs-from-hard-drive/

and Ubuntu forums, which to my sadness begins to look as Digital Point with all those half-page signatures.

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=774539



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