I downloaded the latest Fedora (Core 3) FC3 dvd image and burned it on a DVD.
I've only got a PC running XP, and (just like my previous linux installations) didn't want to mess up with my MBR (master boot record), GRUB. LILO etc etc things that I do not fully understand and do not want to spent too much time learning and fixing.
I just prefer the old fashioned 'boot disk' method to load Linux, with no changes whatsoever mand to the boot sequence.
If this sounds like you, read on.
(I've spend a few days trying to achieve this, reading tons of useless posts on the internet from people that didn't know what they were talking about, offered hypothetical solutions, too risky solutions, etc. Fortunately, a combination of these posts WORKED for me, so here is how to save everyone the time.
First things first: Having made the Fedora FC3 installation DVD, pop it in and boot.
I chose 'use empty disk space' and 'no boot loader' in the setup. I was told something like 'you'll need to use a disk to boot linux, since if you don't use a boot loader you won't be able to boot automaticaly'. OK, I said.
The problem: The Fedora installation finishes without prompting me to make a boot disk, and I am stuck. Linux was installed, but rebooting loads XP by default.
Here is why this happend and what to do next:
You can create a Fedora FC3 boot disk. However, it does not fit on a floppy.
(You've probably figured that much by looking around on the internet)
What you can do, is to create a CD boot disk and use it just like a floppy.
There are a few problems:
1) How to get into Fedora to create the CD boot disk? That one is easy, just boot using the installation DVD and choose F5, rescue mode. You'll be presented using a linux terminal similar to the one you try to install. From there, it is straightforward to tell Fedora to create the cd image required to burn a Fedora linux CD.
2) This is the more serious problem: I have created the image to burn on the CD.
How am I supposed to get it out of there and into Windows so that I can burn it on a CD?
(Remeber, it doesn;t fit on a floppy, and it is unique (specific) to your installation and kernel, so using your friend's CD wont work.
The solution I found? Copy the image onto a USB flash pen!!! Linux recognises them easily, and you can use them as easily as a floppy.
(OK, there is als a way to create a 'boot USB drive'. instead of a CD, meaning that you plug in yr USB key and start the PC whenever u want to boot linux, but I think this is over the top, and I need my USB key anyway. A CD is good enough).
STEP BY STEP GUIDE:
1) Download and burn the Fedora FC3 Installation DVD. Boot from it and install Fedora, choosing 'no boot loader'. (I assume youve dont that already).
2) Make sure you have a USB flask pen ready. I had also removed all the files from it, just in case. Also have a blank CDR or CDRW ready.
3) Plug in your USB key and leave it in the machine. (to ensure it is recognised)
3) Reboot the PC, using the Fedora Installation DVD. Press F5 to choose 'rescue mode' (you need to type 'linux rescue')
4) Follow some easy prompts (language etc). You'll also see thing on screen like 'usb-device found' etc. (good news!)
5) Allow the system to automatically find your installation. (click "continue").
6) You'll end up with a prompt. Type:
to load the linux installation detected.
7) To create the CD image you'll need to burn on the CD later:
a) Find your kernel version. Type:
My linux kernel version was 2.6.9-1.667
b) Type: mkbootdisk --iso --device boot-disk.iso 2.6.9-1.667
Replace the last bit with whatever number you got earlier. After a bit (and a warning I got), a file called boot-disk.iso was created. (type ls to verify). Quite expectibly, it was about 2.something MB so yes, it's too big for a floppy.
8) Time to put it on the USB key. Type
( My /mnt folder was empty. this creates the above folder)
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/jetflash
and see if the light on the USB key starts blnking. Sda1 is the name of the USB jet flash drive, as it is detected as a scsi device. NB: if you have other scsi devices, mayby the name will be different (e.g. sdb1), but in my case I don't have scsi hard disks etc).
9) Copy the CD boot image on the USB pen:
cp boot-disk.iso /mnt/jetflash
11) Type exit twice to restart the PC. (the first exit undoes the effect of chroot you typed at the very start). Remove the DVD and USB device, and boot in Windows.
12) In Windows, use Nero or whatever to burn the image boot-disk.iso you have on your USB pen onto a CD, CDR CDRW...
While you are there, you may need to check your prefered screen resolution (mine was 1028x768) and monitor type, as linux will ask them next time you boot ...
13) Boot from the CD you have just crated! Fedora will start!!!!