From a Parallel Port Using a Second Machine

PLIP Network Install

I got this courtesy by Nathan Myers <>: "Many distributions support installing via a network, using FTP, HTTP, or NFS. It is increasingly common for laptops to have only a single PCMCIA slot, already occupied by the boot floppy drive. Usually the boot floppy image has drivers for neither the floppy drive itself, nor the PCMCIA subsystem. Thus, the only network interface available may be the parallel port.

Installation via the parallel port using the PLIP protocol has been demonstrated on, at least, Red Hat. All you need is a Laplink parallel cable, cheap at any computer store. See the PLIP-mini-HOWTO for details on setting up the connection. Note that (uniquely) the RedHat installation requires that the other end of the PLIP connection be configured to use ARP (apparently because RedHat uses the DOS driver in their installer). On the host, either export your CD file system on NFS, or mount it where the ftp or web daemon can find it, as needed for the installation."

The PLIP Install HOWTO by Gilles Lamiral describes how to install the Debian GNU-Linux distribution on a computer without ethernet card, nor cdrom, but just a local floppy drive and a remote NFS server attached by a Null-Modem parallel cable. The NFS server has a cdrom drive mounted and exported.