Bering-uClibc 4.x - User Guide - Installing the Disk Image

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Installing the Disk Image
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Choosing An Image File to Download

For Bering-uClibc 4.x there are several different disk image files available for download. These offer a choice of tailored variants of the same basic distribution and you should only need to download one of them - the one that best matches your requirements. The different variables are:

  • The Linux kernel optimisations:
    • i486 is the most basic and most widely compatible kernel variant, suitable for Intel 486 CPUs (or better).
    • i686 is a variant which is optimised for Intel Pentium Pro CPUs (or better) and supports multiple CPUs / CPU cores.
    • geode is a variant which is optimised for AMD Geode CPUs such as are used in e.g. the PC Engines ALIX boards.
  • The boot media type:
    • syslinux for flash drive or hard drive devices such as a USB or Compact Flash drive or a standard hard disk.
    • isolinux for CD-ROM devices (optionally in conjunction with a floppy disk for storing configuration changes).
    • pxelinux for PXE network booting.
  • The console type:
    • vga for a standard VGA console.
    • ser for an RS-232 Serial console.

If in doubt then start with the first (most standard) option in each case - in other words the combination i486_syslinux_vga.

Download Location

Image file(s) should be downloaded from the LEAF files area on SourceForge:

For the most standard Image variant, look for a file name like Bering-uClibc_4.0_i486_syslinux_vga.tar.gz (choose the latest available Bering-uClibc_4.x version).

Copying to the Installation Media

Copying an isolinux Image to CD-ROM

The CD-ROM Images (boot media type isolinux) are delivered as .iso files which must be copied to CD-ROM media using an optical media "burning" program. Alternatively and especially for testing purposes, a Virtual PC solution (such as "qemu") can boot directly from a .iso file.

The structure of the files and directories within the ISO image is as follows:


Copying a syslinux Image to Flash Media via a USB Interface on a Linux PC

The Images suitable for flash media (boot media type isolinux) are delivered as .tar.gz files which must be extracted onto suitably prepared flash media. The generic term "flash media" includes Compact Flash cards and USB "pen" or "thumb" drives.

The structure of the files and directories within the .tar.gz file is as follows:


The following assumes that the flash media has been physically removed from the system which will be running Bering-uClibc 4.x and can be accessed on another Linux system using a USB interface such as a Compact Flash-to-USB adaptor.

Preparing the Flash Media

For a standard Bering-uClibc 4.x installation, the flash media must:

  • Be at least 64MB in size for a full installation.
    • By removing some of the large Packages this can be reduced significantly. 8MB is probably the absolute bare minimum.
  • Have a single disk partition, which is flagged as bootable.
  • Have a FAT32 file system on the boot partition.
  • Have the SYSLINUX boot loader installed on the boot partition.

If all but the last of these requirements is met SYSLINUX can be installed on the formatted disk partition with a command similar to:

syslinux /dev/sdc1

Important: Verify that your flash media device is connected as /dev/sdc1 or amend the command line accordingly!

Installing SYSLINUX results in file ldlinux.sys being created in the root of the FAT32 file system. Do not attempt to edit or move this file since that will break the SYSLINUX operation.

For Bering-uClibc 4.x the Linux kernel and the SYSLINUX configuration files have been relocated to the syslinux/ directory of the boot disk. However, file ldlinux.sys should remain in the root directory (although by using the -d directory argument to syslinux this can be moved to a different pre-existing directory on the boot disk, if desired).

If the other requirements (i.e. the single, bootable, FAT32-formatted disk partition) are not met you will also need to use:

  • fdisk or parted to partition the drive.
  • mkfs.vfat to create the FAT32 file system.

Extracting the Image Files

Once the flash media is prepared the contents of the disk Image need to be extracted. Change to the directory where the flash media is mounted and extract the contents of the downloaded file with a command like the following

tar -xvzf ~/Download/Bering-uClibc_4.0_i486_syslinux_vga.tar.gz

Note that this assumes the downloaded file is located in your $HOME/Download directory.

Remove the flash media from the Linux PC and proceed to the next Chapter.

Copying a pxelinux Image to a Network Boot Server

Note: pxelinux boot support is currently under development and is not yet available in the standard Bering-uClibc 4.x downloads. Refer to Trac ticket #3 for the latest status.

Much of the complexity of a pxelinux installation is associated with setup of the DHCP server that delivers the PXE boot filename, the TFTP server that delivers the initial boot image etc. These are not specific to Bering-uClibc 4.x and so are not covered in detail here but some guidelines and pointers to other sources of information can be found in the Network Booting Appendix.

The Images suitable for network booting (boot media type pxelinux) are delivered as .tar.gz files which must be extracted onto suitable file server(s).

The structure of the files and directories within the .tar.gz file is as follows:


File Server Protocol Selection

Bering-uClibc 4.x supports a number of different file sharing protocol options for network boot and installation (or at least it is planned to). These are:

File Transfer Protocol, on TCP port 21
Trivial File Transfer Protocol, on UDP port 69
  • Note that a TFTP server is essential for delivering the initial boot image, (g)pxelinux.0, and its configuration file.
  • The same TFTP server can also be used for delivering the Linux kernel file (linux) and the initial RAM disk file (initrd.lrp).
HyperText Transport Protocol, on TCP port 80
Secure SHell, on TCP port 22
  • Note that this is not supported by (g)pxelinux.0 for delivering the Linux kernel file (linux) and the initial RAM disk file (initrd.lrp) and hence cannot be used as the only network boot protocol.

For the purposes of this document it is assumed that TFTP will be used only to deliver (g)pxelinux.0 and pxelinux.cfg/default and that an HTTP server will be used to deliver the remainder of the files.

DHCP Server Configuration

It is assumed that you know how to configure your DHCP server for PXE booting. See the Network Booting Appendix for some Hints and Tips.

In summary, the DHCP server needs to:

  • Issue an IPv4 address to the Bering-uClibc 4.x machine.
  • Specify the "next server" IP address and a PXE "boot filename". Based on the structure within the pxelinux .tar.gz file this "boot filename" probably needs to be specified as: bering-uclibc/4/gpxelinux.0 since it is normally relative to the tftpboot/ level of the directory structure.

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