Well, in some respects you may be right there. Floppies are old and to a fair extent unreliable but they’re still here and will probably be for some time to come. I’m not dissing them (I like them a lot :P) but I have to say that most of the disks I own won’t read nowadays and it can be a pain to find myself a disk when I need one.
This probably won’t work for embedded hardware (unless it’s x86 or compatible with GRUB), but here’s a somewhat Linux-oriented method you can use if you use the GRUB bootloader (or can get it running on your system):
- Download “memdisk” - the search term “grub boot cd memdisk sbm” should turn a few sites up that have this file, which will probably be called ‘memdisk’ or ‘memdisk.bin’. Alternatively, if you have SYSLINUX installed you likely already have the ‘memdisk’ file somewhere on your system.
- Somehow procure a disk image of the floppy in question.
- Edit GRUB’s menu.lst to include the following:
root (fdX) root (hdX[,Y]) # fill in as appropriate
- Voila! You should be up and running.
Tip: While something of a roundabout system, you could boot Linux or FreeDOS off a USB drive, start GRUB4DOS w/ memdisk from that, and boot whatever target OS you need from there, if your USB drive doesn’t like booting reliably in floppy mode.