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boot floppy status
I got whiptail working as a complete dialog replacement, Erik Troan
at Red Hat has accepted my patches and will or has released it. Enrico
Zanardi has a mostly working Debian boot floppy for 2.0, but it runs on
an 1800K ram disk, which is larger than I would like. It still boots from
one floppy, the RAM disk compresses to 650K on the floppy, but a low-RAM
system would have problems, maybe even a 4MB+640K system. This is because
libc6 is bigger - mostly due to locales, wide character functions, and
nss, and much of this is referenced by core libc functions like printf().
We are exploring using an alternate libc for the boot floppy, this might
save us 200K. Someone has a really small one that builds "busybox" but
not all other tools yet. "Busybox" is my implementation of 30 tiny Unix
utilities for the floppy.
Most of the old shell-and-dialog stuff has been rewritten in C with newt.
Newt provides an OK user interface for boot floppies. You don't really need
X until later.