Customizing your Freesco floppy (add/remove programs & files)

Problem:

You want to customize your Freesco floppy to include ONLY the programs you want, or to add new programs, or to have alternate configuration settings by default.

This is also useful if you don't need certain programs (eg: dial-up support) and want to make some extra room on your floppy for packages.

Solution:

This walkthrough assumes you're running another, separate Linux machine.

On your Linux machine, insert your Freesco floppy and mount it by typing:

mount -t umsdos /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppy
We need to make a temporary working directory to hold some files we're going to use. Type:

mkdir ~/freesco
cd ~/freesco
If you have a look in /mnt/floppy, you'll notice that you don't see all of Freesco's files listed. Similarly, if you delete files from the Freesco floppy while Freesco is running, you'll notice that some of them "reappear" when Freesco restarts.

This is because Freesco stores most of its files in a single compressed file on the floppy, called "ramdisk". Freesco loads this file as (surprise!) a RAM disk when it boots. We need to grab a copy of that file, so (while still in ~/freesco) type:

cp /mnt/floppy/ramdisk .
Next, we need to decompress the "ramdisk" file, which is actually just GZipped. Type:

gunzip < ramdisk > ramdiskimg
And now we want to mount it to "integrate" it into our working file system. First, make a directory, then mount the disk image into the directory. Type:

mkdir rd
mount -o loop ramdiskimg rd
Now, if you have a look in the "rd" directory:

cd rd
ls -l
You'll see all the files that were unavailable to you before. Feel free to make any changes you like, but be sure to avoid deleting anything important. Also make sure that you don't add too much to the floppy (more than 30kb or so) unless you delete other things to make room, otherwise the ramdisk won't fit back on the floppy.

When we're done making changes, we have to reverse the steps above to put the ramdisk file back on the floppy. First, unmount the ramdisk image:

cd ~/freesco
umount rd
Next, recompress it with GZip:

gzip -9 < ramdiskimg > ramdisk
Now, put it back on the floppy:

cp ramdisk /mnt/floppy
umount /mnt/floppy
That's it! Pop out your Freesco floppy and put it into your router... reboot and enjoy. If something doesn't work when you startup Freesco, then you probably changed or removed something that you shouldn't have - go back and try again.