8. Appendix A: Installing Linux from a DOS machine

In the original Emacspeak HOWTO, James Van Zandt provided instructions on how to install Linux from a DOS machine using a null-modem cable. As with the other instructions in this HOWTO, I tried, unfortunately without success, to duplicate this procedure. However, I have provided the information gathered during testing in the following section. If you successfully install Linux from a Windows™ or DOS™ machine over a null-modem cable, please let me know the procedure you followed and I'll include it here.

Please note that the original instructions for installing Linux over a null modem cable were written for a DOS machine. I first attempted to reproduce these instructions with my Windows 2000 machine (from the DOS prompt) and Red Hat 7.1. Although I successfully downloaded and installed JAWS for DOS (available from Freedom Scientific at http://www.freedomscientific.com/fs_downloads/morejaws.asp), I was unable to get a DOS VT100 terminal emulator installed. I tried using TELIX, which was popular several years ago, but when I tried to install TELIX version 3.51, I got a runtime error. Since I was unable to find any other DOS terminal emulators, I decided to try using a Windows screenreader and terminal emulator instead. This section documents the procedure I tried with the Windows machine.

8.3. Installation

Once your machines are connected via the null modem cable, boot the DOS/Windows machine, then start the terminal emulation program. For my test, I tried both Hyperterminal (which comes with Windows 2000) and CRT (which can be downloaded from http://www.vandyke.com/products/crt. For some reason, the arrow keys did not work in HyperTerminal, making navigation within the HyperTerminal window impossible. However, the arrow keys (as well as Tab and Return) do work in CRT, so I recommend using CRT as your terminal emulator.

Set the terminal emulator for 9600 baud, no parity, eight data bits, 1 stop bit. If "Flow control" is an option, select Hardware. Also be sure to set your terminal emulation mode to VT100. Start the terminal emulator connection (you won't get any data at this point, as your Linux machine should still be off).

Once you've set up the terminal emulator on your DOS/Windows machine, insert the "boot" floppy or CD into your Linux machine and boot the machine. With Red Hat, at the boot: prompt, I typed in the command linux text console=ttyS0. Note that the "s" in "ttyS0" is capitalized, and that's a "zero" at the end of the string, not a capital letter "o." Other distributions may require other strings, so if you know the syntax required for distros other than Red Hat, please let me know and I will include that information here.

Once you've typed in this string at the boot: prompt and hit Return, you should get output in your terminal emulator program on your DOS/Windows machine. Unfortunately, at this point I discovered that neither JAWS for Windows nor Narrarator produces speech output in either the HyperTerminal or CRT terminal windows. This ultimately stymied my attempts to install Linux over a null modem cable.

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