2.3 Setup flavours

Previous versions of fli4l only supported booting from a floppy disk. This is normally sufficient if you actually use fli4l for routing only.

Due to the strongly increased number of optional (but not necessarily required!) software packages for fli4l, it is now possible to boot from a bunch of boot media (floppy, CD, HD, network, Compact Flash, DoC, ...) and to install fli4l onto a variety of media (HD, Compact Flash, DoC). In order to achieve this, there are three possibilities to boot the fli4l router:

Single Image
The boot loader loads the linux kernel and then fli4l in a single image. After that, fli4l is able to continue the boot process without having to access other boot media. Examples are the boot types integrated, attached, netboot, and cd.
Split Image
The boot loader loads the linux kernel and then a rudimental fli4l image which mounts the boot medium in a first step. In a second step, the configuration and the remaining files are loaded from an archive residing on that mounted boot medium. Examples for this are all floppy boot types, hd (Type A), ls120, attached, and cd-emul.
Installation on a Medium
The boot loader loads the linux kernel and then a rudimental fli4l image which mounts an existing fli4l installation without the need to extracting any further archives. An example for this is a type B hard disk installation.

Before you try the more advanced installation procedures, you should gain experience in setting up and using the one-floppy fli4l. Of course, the capacity of a floppy disk is limited. If you want to use fli4l also as an asnwering machine and a HTTP proxy, you will quickly hit the limits of a single floppy disk. For this case we made it possible to boot the fli4l router from a hard disk or a Compact Flash card, allowing you to bypass the limits of a floppy disk. However, installing fli4l onto a hard disk is a bit more complicated, therefore we recommend it only for advanced fli4l users. We would like to emphasize it again: For routing only, a single floppy disk is sufficient, there is no need to use hard disks!

The outcome of this are the three following installation variants:

Floppy router
Router on a single floppy disk, CD, or over the network--the hitherto existing setup
HD installation type A
Router on hard disk, CF, DoC--only one FAT partition
HD installation type B
Router on hard disk, CF, DoC--one FAT and one ext3 partition

2.3.1 Router on a single floppy disk, CD, or over the network

All necessary files are on the boot medium and are extracted to a dynamically sized RAM disk while booting. Using a minimalistic configuration, it is possible to run the router with only 8 MiB RAM. How much software you can configure and use is only limited by the capacity of the boot medium and of the available RAM.

2.3.2 Type A: Router on hard disk--only one FAT partition

This corresponds to the floppy version, with the only difference that the files lie on the hard disk instead, where the notion ``hard disk'' is also used for Compact Flash from 2 MiB upwards and other devices which are accessed like hard disks under Linux. Since fli4l 2.1.4, you can also use DiskOnChip Flash memory from M-Sys or SCSI hard disks.

The floppy disk limit for the archive opt.img is removed, but all these files must be installed into a properly sized RAM disk during the boot process. This increases the necessary amount of RAM if you use many software packages.

In order to update software packages (i.e. the archive opt.img and the configuration rc.cfg over the network), the FAT partition has to provide enough space for the kernel, the RootFS and TWICE the size of the opt.img archive! If you also want to enable the recovery option, the required space is additionally increased by the size of the opt.img archive.

2.3.3 Type B: Router on hard disk--one FAT and one ext3 partition

In contrast to type A, most of the files are not put into the RAM disk. Instead, they are copied from the opt.img archive to the ext3 partition on the hard disk at the very first start after the initial installation or an update. On successive reboots they are directly loaded from the ext3 partition. Using this type of installation, the amount of RAM needed for running the router is the least one, such that running the router with very low memory is possible in the majority of cases.

You can find further information on the installation onto hard disks in the documentation of the HD package which can be downloaded separately, starting at the description of the configuration variable OPT_HDINSTALL.

© 2001-2012 The fli4l-Team - 16 September 2012