[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] Bill Bogstad's floppy disk boot (Soas)

Bill Bogstad bogstad at pobox.com
Fri Sep 11 20:56:45 EDT 2009

On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Art Hunkins <abhunkin at uncg.edu> wrote:
> With regard to Bill Bogstad's floppy boot disk project for SoaS: it works
> flawlessly for me. (I've tried it successfully on both an older Windows
> laptop and desktop - vintages: Pentium II/III.)

Thanks for the feedback!  I wasn't aware that Walter was going to
announce it this week so I quickly went and put
a README.html file at the location he published so people would have
some idea what to do with it.

> I've one suggestion for Bill: for use by children, I'd make everything as
> automatic as possible. Either delete the display where the user needs to
> make a choice (it's *way* technical and *I* didn't know what to do), or put
> a (10"?) auto-timer on it so that it goes on through (the usual way) without
> user intervention.

It's easy to put a timeout in or even eliminate the delay entirely.
Because a floppy is easily writable (unlike a CD) you
can even do it yourself.  There is a text file called
kexec-loader.conf on the floppy.  You should be able to edit it with
text editor and change the line "timeout off" to have a number
instead.   It can be either 0 (boot immediately) or wait the specified
number of seconds.  If you look at the rest of the file you can get
some idea of what is going on.

 It's probably a good time for me to point out that I didn't write the
software.   I just found it and worked with the author to fix some
bugs/suggest features that made it work better for GPA.  You can find
more info about it at:
www.solemnwarning.net/kexec-loader.  The image I supplied is based on
the authors most recent release 2.1.1.

Speaking of GPA (who originally requested it), the 'wait for user
input' is a good thing for their usage case.. They use a shared
computer lab and wanted to be able to have an instructor go around the
room inserting floppies and turning machines one before the students
get there.   (Booting from floppy is slow.)  My understanding is that
they plan to have students come in, insert their stick into an already
powered up machine, hit enter, and then go over what they plan to do
during that computer
lab with the instructor.  Other environments may want something
different.  Since floppies are writable changing timeouts and the menu
text is straightforward.

> For Windows people: I suggest creating the boot disk with RAWriteWin. It's
> simple, user-friendly and efficient.

Thanks for the info.  I was hoping there was something other then
rawrite.exe, but I hadn't researched it.

Take care,
Bill Bogstad

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