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SubjectRe: boot/root floppies in modern times?
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> Obviously (but not to me initally) the USB floppy isn't a real floppy
> controlled by a floppy controller, but it is a USB mass storage device.

Correct.

> I've seen the initrd option in the kernel config along with the other RAM
> disk stuff. I have a feeling that is the path I'm going to need to go
> down, but I've never delt with it before (I know Linus is gung-ho about
> initrd from posts I've seen by him here). So I figure I'd better learn
> about it sooner or later.

initrd is basically a ramdisk image loaded by the bios before control
is transferred from the loader to the kernel. Thus you can have a floppy
with a file system, lilo and a kernel on it (if you squeeze).

Then you can set it up so that

The boot loads the initd
It runs the needed USB drivers
It mounts the /dev/sda disk and copies it to /dev/ram1 ramdisk
It transfers control
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