XOSL problem: installing Damn Small Linux

Q I have a PC box with multiple partitions and a few Linux distros installed to have a play with before I settle down to make one of them my favourite. I'm using XOSL as boot manager, and it works happily with a number of distros - and even things from Redmond! But it is seriously flummoxed by the Damn Small Linux distro. The DSL hard disk installation script offers no choice over where the Lilo or Grub boot manager writes its stuff to - it always goes straight into the master boot record of the hard disk (the very same spot occupied by XOSL!). So when I restore XOSL, it finds all the other OSes again, but not DSL. Or the PC boots only to DSL. They don't play nicely together. For the benefit of a beginner, could you please give a suitable guide to setting up the bootable bits (either Lilo or Grub will do) on to the partition that DSL is installed on, so that XOSL can find it and start it?

A Installing Grub to a partition instead of the MBR is easy, so it's a shame that DSL does not offer this option. For the sake of this example, we will assume that DSL is installed on /dev/hda5. Boot into DSL, open a root terminal and run grub. This will put you in the Grub shell, where you type

root (hd0,4)
setup (hd0,4)

Grub counts from zero, so the first disk, fifth partition (hda5 in Linux terms) is hd0,4. Now you have a bootloader for DSL installed to the partition and you can tell XOSL to boot from this partition. When XOSL boots DSL, you will get the Grub menu - which may be a little pointless as you have already chosen which OS to boot. You can get rid of it by editing /boot/grub/menu.lst and changing the timeout line from 15 to 0. If you want to be able to choose from the options DSL offers in its Grub menu, set the timeout to a low, but non-zero value.

Follow us on Identi.ca or Twitter

Username:   Password:
Create Account | About TuxRadar