Subject: Re: i386 boot floppy size
To: Alan Barrett <>
From: Thor Lancelot Simon <>
List: current-users
Date: 02/09/2006 15:48:20
On Thu, Feb 09, 2006 at 07:53:11PM +0200, Alan Barrett wrote:
> Do i386 machines exist that have none of the following?
>   1. floppy drive with BIOS able to boot from floppy;
>   2. CD drive with BIOS able to boot in hard disk emulation
>      mode or native mode (or whatever they are called);
>   3. USB or other removable media slot with BIOS able to
>      boot from a
> I would have expected the machines that lack (1) to have (2) or (3) or
> both.

There are plenty of machines out there in the world -- I'm thinking in
particular of older rackmount machines -- that may have a floppy
controller in them, but to which it is not necessarily practical to
attach a floppy drive just to install a new operating system.  And USB
boot is a comparatively new thing.

I know that there are machines that support only the virtual-floppy
El Torito method because I used to have one on my desk.  It also had
the BIOS quirk that it could do extended int13 reads/writes only for
drives large enough to require them, so I got painfully familiar with
what its BIOS could and could not do while debugging the bootblocks.

I still occasionally run into machines with the latter problem, so I
would not be surprised at all if there are also more than a few out
there that have the former; the one I had was pretty run-of-the-mill
ordinary hardware (Intel server motherboard, Phoenix BIOS) circa 1998.

  Thor Lancelot Simon	                           

  "We cannot usually in social life pursue a single value or a single moral
   aim, untroubled by the need to compromise with others."      - H.L.A. Hart