nALFS2 Daemon and Front Split

Kevin P. Fleming kpfleming at
Mon Aug 16 20:02:16 PDT 2004

Uriah wrote:

> Realy, one can't make a floppy boot image with 2.6?  Then what are the 
> 'bzdisk' and 'fdimage' options for?

They use SYSLINUX to make a bootable floppy using a FAT filesystem. The 
2.6 kernel no longer contains a floppy boot sector, unlike previous kernels.

> Floppies are old, but guess what, the standard will outlast the media!  
> Ever wonder how a bootable CDROM works?  It emulates a bootable 2.88 Meg
> floppy!  I have yeat to pick up a bootable USB stick, but then again, not
> all of my machines at home have USB or CDs in them, but they all have 
> floppies...

None of my bootable CDs use floppy emulation, and haven't for over a 
year now. Most modern BIOSes can handle no-emul-boot CDs now, which is a 
major improvement over floppy emulation, as there is no size restriction 
at all. ISOLINUX makes this easy to use as well.

Now, if someone was making a boot CD to be used on lots of different 
hardware (including some of it older than 18 months), then using floppy 
emulated boot from the CD would be wise. It is not necessary, though.

> Anyway, Kevin's explanation was good enough for me.  nALFS daemon may not
> be small enough to fit on a bootdisk with a kernel, but probably on a
> rootdisk of its own with a little bit of work.  A stripped static compile
> of nALFS-1.2.4 takes up about 1.5M now.  If I was to tell gcc to optimize
> for size and/or use an embeded libc I'm sure the size can be shrunk a
> significant amount.  After the frontend/backend split, the probably of
> fitting to a floppy will increase significantly.

This is very true; the current backend, compiled against uClibc and 
stripped of symbols (and with only one syntax version supported, rather 
than all of them) would most likely take less than 300K of space.

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