Q

Creating a kernel, GRUB boot with Scientific Linux CERN 4.3

A desktop expert recommends tinkering with the boot configuration utility instead of creating a boot partition, in order to boot from a USB drive.

I am trying to download the Scientific Linux CERN 4.3 onto an external USB2 hard drive. I have created all of the CDs and installation runs smoothly including the 3 main partitions "/", "/boot" and "/swap". After that I am not sure how to create the proper kernel and how to boot the GRUB. Can you help me?
Scientific Linux CERN is a sub-distro of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Unless you are tinkering for the fun of it or you actually work at CERN, I would suggest it's better to use Red Hat Linux itself. It will be more up-to-date, and there will be more mainstream help -- including paid support from Red Hat, if you want that.

You don't need a separate /boot partition/. That's an artifact of ancient history and no longer necessary or desirable. If you have successfully completed the installation, then simply rebooting the PC (by powering off then on again) is enough to bring it up in the new operating system.

If that does not happen, then I would suspect that the problem relates to the external USB-connected disk drive. It is not yet common for PCs to support booting from USB devices. If you know for a fact that your PC does have this capability, then you need to go into the boot configuration utility, and set the choice that tells the system to boot from USB disk instead of IDE disk.

Different manufacturers have different ways of getting into the boot configuration utility. It is typically done by pressing a function key early in the boot sequence. You probably do not need to make any configuration changes to GRUB. When you did the installation, GRUB was installed on the USB disk as part of the Linux installation.

This was first published in November 2006

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