From Richard Santora on 14 Sep 1998
Question. Can you download Linux applications onto a floppy disk formatted under dos and then install to Linux?
You can put tar, rpm or other types of packages on a DOS floppy (MS-DOS filesystem) and use that to transport any (sufficiently small) application.
You'd just mount the floppy (with a command like:
mount -t msdos /dev/fd0 /mnt/a
... and access the files under the /mnt/a (or whatever mount point you chose). You could then extract the members of a .tar.gz file with a command like:
cd /usr/local/from/floppy &&
tar xzf /mnt/a/mynew.tgz
... or you could use your favorite packaging commands to work with rpm and deb files.
Background. I am an inexperienced Linux Red Hat 5.0 home user. I selected the "everything" software installation choice from the installation CD onto my Dell XPS 60 with 40 Mb of Ram. I am using System Commander to use this pc to run dos based operating systems as well as Linux. I have internet access through Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. I am having difficulty getting a connection under Linux to my ISP, the Microsoft Network. (I have been able to get the modem to dial out using the Modem Tool and the Network Configurator in the X window Control Panel.) I would like to download one of the freeware PPP programs and also Netscape Navigator. When I download the PPP program using Windows 95, the file format extension will remain ".tar" or ".rpm" however; the Linux OS will not mount the floppy. I can get to the directory using "mdir" but I can not seem to get the program to install. Is there a work around?
If you can't get the floppy (or your hard drive) to mount under Linux than you're probably missing some module or kernel driver (your kernel might not have the MS-DOS/FAT -- or VFAT, etc support enabled).
If you can see it under Linux with 'mdir' (from the 'm-tools' package) than you can also copy it to one of your Linux native directories (such as /tmp) using the 'mcopy' command.
Read the 'mtools' man pages for details.