Installing Xubuntu using Alpine boot floppy

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Some computers does not boot on cdrom or USB. Then you can use Alpine boot floppy together with an USB with alpine to install Ubuntu. This document describes how.

You will need atleast version 1.0 of debootstrap to get feisty installed. Therefore, set APK_PATH to point at or use alpine 1.7.3.

Preparing boot media

wget -q -O - | tar -zxv -C /media/usb
  • boot the floppy with usb inserted. You have alpine running.

Set up environment

  • Log in as root (no password required)
  • setup networking with:
  • Unless you run alpine-1.7.3 or newer, set APK_PATH to network. This is to get newest version of debootstrap:
export APK_PATH=
  • Set up http proxy if needed:
export http_proxy=http://proxy:8080

Prepare the harddisk

  • Load driver for IDE disks if you run IDE. If you have SATA or SCSI disk you will not need to do this.
modprobe ide-disk
  • use fdisk to create the desired paritions
fdisk /dev/hda

Here I will use this simple layout:

/dev/hda1 swap 128MB
/dev/hda2 ext3/

Delete all pardition using 'd' in fdisk. Create the swap partition as above with:

n       (New partition)
p       (primary partition)
1       (partition number)
<enter> (first cylinder = default)
+128M   (size of partition)
t       (set type)
82      (partition type 82 hex for swap)

Create / partition

n       (new partition)
p       (primary partition)
2       (partition number 2)
<enter> (default first cylineder)
<enter> (use rest of disk)
w       (write and quit. Warning! this will destroy all your current data on your disk!)
  • Create and enable swap:
mkswap /dev/hda1
swapon /dev/hda1
  • Create filesystem on disk (format)
apk_add e2fsprogs
mkfs.ext3 /dev/hda2

  • mount the root partition
mount -t ext3 /dev/hda2 /mnt

Running debootstrap

  • Allow debootstrap to run mount inside chroot
for i in /proc/sys/kernel/grsecurity/chroot* ; do echo 0 > $i ; done
  • install and run debootstrap utility
apk_add debootstrap
debootstrap --arch i386 feisty /mnt

From here you can chroot to your mount point, edit your /etc/apt/sources.list, install a kernel and reboot.