GNU Linux/FREESCO/Guides/Bootable CD
- 1 Disclaimer
- 2 What is Freesco?
- 3 What are the requirements?
- 4 Where do I get it?
- 5 Can it be edited?
- 6 In what ways can you use Freesco?
- 7 How do I edit the ramdisk?
- 8 Full Steps for creating Freesco Bootable CD like I did (sorta)
- 9 Resources
- No liability for the contents of this documents can be accepted. Use the concepts, examples and other content at your own risk.
- There may be errors and inaccuracies in this document that may be damaging to your system. Proceed with caution, and although this is highly unlikely, the author(s) do(es) not take any responsibility for problems that may occur.
- All copyrights are held by their by their respective owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.
- Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements (although I prefer OS/FS apps/tools).
- You are strongly recommended to make backups of any data you do not wish to lose. Though chances are slim, this is without guarantee.
- Data integrity is not warranted. Any damage whether consequental or coincidental is not my liability. Downloads are provided for your conveinance, and the MD5 Signatures are also provided for your conveinance. No warranty is provided.
- You are responsible for using all software mentioned herein as the authors of the software intended. Any software mentioned being shareware will need to be registered if you plan on using them for a period other than mentioned in their respective liscenses.
- Summary: You are responsible for your own actions.
What is Freesco?
FREESCO is/was designed to be a replacement for commercial routers, and pretty much is used the same way. However, unlike a commercial router (and its OS) FREESCO is Free software. Both in cost, availability and source code. Also, FREESCO is well supported, and very flexible with it's configuration. The FREESCO forums  are well developed and very friendly toward questions from newbies, as long as you did your homework before asking a thousand questions. ;-)
What are the requirements?
It's able to run on a 386 with 8 MBs of ram, a floppy drive and two network interfaces (be it modem or NIC). Although for performance reasons you will want to use at least a 486 with perhaps 16 MB ram.
Where do I get it?
Can it be edited?
Yes. FREESCO is a small UMSDOS based GNU/Linux distro developed on ZipSlack 3.9  . Since it uses UMSDOS, it is editable by anything that can read/write that file system. Examples include all versions of DOS, Windows and quite obviously, GNU_Linux. I'm not certain, but possibly read/write by Mac and OS/2. Though don't quote me on that last one. ;-)
How do you edit FREESCO?
The one line answer is, Edit the scripts using a UNIX compatible text editor.
Run Setup. This will modify most settings that will need to be changed.
If you have scripts or commands that you wish to run on bootup, there is a section in
rc_user for that purpose. For more information about that, see the forum .
FREESCO is composed mostly of well written scripts plus all the binaries that are needed to function properly. So, all in all, it's very easy to tweak.
You're probably talking about the FREESCO kernel. The kernel has patches that have been applied since the stock 2.0.38 kernel which, the FREESCO kernel was built from. If you're wanting to change the FREESCO kernel, I would recommend that you download ZipSlack 3.9  and the source for the GNU/Linux FREESCO kernel  and compile it with any options you might need.
When I last edited the previous version of this document , a vulnerability  had been discovered with 2.0.x kernels (2.0.0 through 2.0.39 inclusive) that resulted in information disclosure due to a memory leak in the source code. With the right firewall configuration (not providing ICMP error response), this was a non-issue for affected kernels.
From Secunia Advisory 8991 :
A vulnerability has been identified in Linux Kernel 2.0 branch allowing malicious people to see random parts of the memory.
The problem is that the Linux Kernel fails to calculate the size for an ICMP error response. This causes the Linux Kernel to return too much data when sending ICMP errors.
The data which is returned by the Kernel appears to be random data from memory. This could lead to exposure of passwords, system configuration and more.
Apparently, there is no way for a malicious person to control what parts of memory the data comes from.Linux Kernel versions 2.0 to 2.0.39 are vulnerable.
If you plan on making a bootable FREESCO , you'll have to have some way to mount the cdrom. I use a monolithic kernel, where everything is built in. It makes it easier for me, and I have read that A Monolithic kernel can talk directly to its devices faster than a module .
Whether this is true or not, I do not know. In reality, I have not noticed any real difference as of yet in speed. Perhaps on a heavily used system there is a major difference, but I have not noticed a difference on any of mine.
If you like having a smaller kernel, and for the ability to unload and load device drivers should any of the devices hang, having kernel modules may prove to work better for you. I have heard that many administrators prefer this method. The choice is yours. If you want a monolithic kernel compiled with iso9660 support, you can download my custom kernel  and related modules 
This kernel has support for :
- minix 
- 3c90x compatible NICs (See below)
- loop back support
I'd suggest you get two (or 3 depending on your setup) 3c905Cs anyway. They are a favored card, and for good reason.
Another thing, as you'll find out, the space you'll save (10K or less) really doesn't matter from a storage perspective, as you'll have about 650+ MB of space to play with.
In what ways can you use Freesco?
How do you make Freesco boot from cd?
Can you use the floppy as a boot image?
How do I edit the ramdisk?
I use Windows, what tools do I need?
ZipSlack 3.9 - What is it and do I really need it?
I use Linux, what tools do I need?
Should I use a regular distro or do I need ZipSlack 3.9?
Full Steps for creating Freesco Bootable CD like I did (sorta)
- FREESCO forums
- FREESCO homepage
- Official FREESCO package repository
- ZipSlack homepage
- ZipSlack 3.9 download mirror
- Notepad++ homepage
- Metapad homepage
- SourceForge.net - FREESCO Kernel source code
- The last version of this document was from circa 2005-2006
- Linux kernel IP stack incorrectly calculates size of an ICMP citation for ICMP errors
- Secunia.com Advisory 8991
- Official Linux kernel 2.0.40 changelog
- Red Hat Certified Engineer Linux Study Guide ISBN 0-07-212155-6
- My custom FREESCO kernel
- My custom FREESCO kernel modules
- it made so little difference I went ahead anyway