Installing Minix from CD-ROM?

modified: 23 Nov 2003

This page updates some answers to questions asked in 1999, and adds some answers written in 2003. With Minix 2.0.3 support for IDE CD-ROM drives and large Windows/DOS partitions is available, making installation from a CD-ROM easier. Also, the wide availability of the ability to write CD-R and CD-RW disks makes it easy to make a CD containing support for newer versions of Minix

Q: Is there a way to install Minix directly from the Minix CD-ROM provided with the OSDI text? I just can't face using rawrite to create the disk images on a hundred and one floppies, again :-)))

A: I have done this (sort of, it's a little tricky and you have to make at least one floppy)... You can't do it in a completely straightforward way because the CD-ROM isn't bootable and there is not a precompiled Minix kernel with support for the CD-ROM provided. Actually, the CD-ROM support in Minix 2.0.0 probably won't be directly usable, anyway, unless you have a SCSI CD-ROM with an Adaptec 1542 interface or an obsolete Mitsui CD-ROM. (But read on -- Minix 2.0.3 supports IDE CD-ROM drives, and a boot image that supports these is available on line).

Q: So, you can't boot it, and once you get Minix 2.0.0 booted you can't read the CD-ROM. What to do?

A: If you have some spare disk space on your Windows/DOS partition you can copy the files you will need, like usr.taz, sys.taz, and cmd.taz from the CD to the hard disk under Windows, and then copy them later to a Minix partition with dosread. Note: the DOS hard disk partition must not be a large one -- the dosread program supplied with Minix 2.0.0 can't understand Windows/DOS file systems that are bigger than 100 or 200 Mbytes. Minix 2.0.3 provides mtools, which can read large Windows/DOS partitions. The partition must be a FAT partition, however, Windows NT/2K/XP NTFS partitions are not supported.

Q: I have a CD-R drive. Can I make a bootable CD-ROM from which I can install the latest version of Minix ?

A: I have made a few attempts in that direction, but I don't know how to boot Minix from a CD-ROM. I made a boot image that will start the Minix boot monitor from a CD, but I haven't figured out how to make the monitor start Minix.

Note added 23 Nov 2003: See new page on CD-based Minix distribution -- the bootable CD problem has been solved.

If you are willing to use one floppy disk, here's a way. Look at URL http://minix1.hampshire.edu/pub/demos-2.0/bigRAM203/m203b8r01.txt It describes a floppy image you can download from my site that fits on a single floppy and boots into an 8M RAM disk. This was my first attempt at the boot image for a bootable Minix CD. The selection of files on this image is a little different from the standard root.mnx + usr.mnx images -- I left out some things from the standard bootup images and included everything you need to read a CD-ROM. From the Minix installation on the RAM disk you can make a hard disk partition, and copy all the big archives from the CD-ROM to be decompressed and unpacked.

If you don't want to use even one floppy disk (or you have a system that has no floppy drives), look at URL http://minix1.hampshire.edu/faq/nofloppy.html. This is an answer I gave to the question "How to Install w/o Floppy?" a couple of weeks ago. Basically my suggestion is to use Minix-on-DOS to start the installation. Minix-on-DOS is often considered as just a way to run Minix without making a hard disk partition, but you can access the hard disk, make a partition on it, and copy files for a complete installation to it, all while running Minix-on-DOS. Having done this, you can reboot Minix from the hard disk.


Mail comments on this page to: Al Woodhull <awoodhull@hampshire.edu>
created by mkhtml: Apr 6 14:47