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Found at: raymii.org:70/Vim_as_PID_1_Boot_to_Vim.txt

This is a text-only version of the following page on https://raymii.org:
---
Title       : 	Boot to Vim, Vim as Pid 1
Author      : 	Remy van Elst
Date        : 	18-09-2014
URL         : 	https://raymii.org/s/blog/Vim_as_PID_1_Boot_to_Vim.html
Format      : 	Markdown/HTML
---
![image][1]
This is a response on a great article from [Pascal Bourguignon][2], namely how
to run [Emacsas PID 1][3].
As we all know, nobody uses emacs.
The above statement is ment to start a flamewar. Please do so, see the contact
page to contact me.
No, all joking aside, I found it to be a good article and wanted to see how I
could do that with Vim. Not in User Mode Linux, but by creating an actual ISO.
Boot to Vim, as you might want to call it.
This is actually fairly simple. Compile vim statically, set it as `init=` at
boot and you're done.
We are going to use small (9MB) distro named [Tiny Core, Core edition][4] and
customize that to boot right into our static build of Vim.

I'm developing an open source monitoring app called Leaf Node Monitoring, for windows, linux & android. Go check it out!

Consider sponsoring me on Github. It means the world to me if you show your appreciation and you'll help pay the server costs.

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### Building Vim
Please read and follow my [tutorial on building a statically linked Vim][6].
This will give you an executable we will use later on in the tutorial.
### Preparation
You will need a few tools to build the ISO, namely `cpio`, `tar`, `gzip`,
`advdef` and `mkisofs`. These can probably be installed with your package
manager. Please do that first.
First create a folder for building:
    
    
    mkdir vim-as-pid-1
    cd vim-as-pid-1
    
Also create a few folders for the ISO build:
    
    
    mkdir /tmp/isomount
    mkdir extract
    
Download the latest Tiny Core, Core edition (without GUI):
    
    
    wget http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/5.x/x86/release/Core-current.iso
    
Copy the files from the ISO:
    
    
    mount Core-current.iso /tmp/isomount/ -o loop,ro
    
    cp -a /tmp/isomount/boot /tmp/
    
This creates a `/tmp/boot` folder with the `core.gz` and boot loader. Don't
forget to umount it:
    
    
    umount /tmp/isomount
    
We will use the `/tmp/boot` folder later on when putting back together the ISO.
### Changing the ISO
Go into the folder where we will extract the `core.gz` root filesystem:
    
    
    cd extract
    
Use `zcat` and `cpio` to extract the `core.gz` rootfs:
    
    
    zcat /tmp/boot/core.gz | cpio -i -H newc -d
    
We now have an extracted root filesystem:
    
    
    # ls
    bin  dev  etc  home  init  lib  linuxrc  mnt  opt  proc  root  run  sbin  sys  tmp  usr  var
    
Place the [earlier built static Vim][6] in the `bin/` folder:
    
    
    cp ~/vim bin/
    
You can do more customizations, for example, editing the boot loader message.
That is in a file named `boot.msg` in `/tmp/boot/isolinux/`:
    
    
    # vim /tmp/boot/isolinux/boot.msg
    ^L
      _
     ( -   Boot to Vim
     //\   Vim as Pid 1, because Awesome!
     v_/_  https://raymii.org/
    
    Press  to begin or F2, F3, or F4 to view boot options.
    
### Changing the inittab
To boot in to Vim right away we need to change the init configuration. Edit the
following file:
    
    
    vim etc/inittab
    
Change the following lines:
    
    
    ::sysinit:/etc/init.d/rcS
    tty1::respawn:/sbin/getty 38400 tty1
    
To:
    
    
    ::sysinit:/bin/vim
    tty1::respawn:/bin/vim
    
Do note that this does not actually make Vim PID 1. Init will still manage Vim,
and do stuff like `fsck` and mount the root partition read/write. If you want to
go barebones, add `init=/bin/vim` to the bootloader (`isolinux.cfg`). Then, from
Vim, do `:!fsck /dev/sda` and `mount -o remount,rw /`.
### Building a new ISO
Make sure you are still in the `extract` folder. Issue the following command to
build a new `tinycore.gz` file which the ISO will use as it's `initramfs`:
    
    
    find | cpio -o -H newc | gzip -2 > ../tinycore.gz
    
Copy that over the original `core.gz` file in `/tmp/boot` which we copied
ealier:
    
    
    cp ../tinycore.gz /tmp/boot/core.gz
    
Create a new folder for the new ISO build files:
    
    
    mkdir /tmp/newiso
    
Copy the `/tmp/boot` folder to it:
    
    
    cp -a /tmp/boot /tmp/newiso/
    
Build a new ISO using `mkisofs`:
    
    
    cd /tmp/
    mkisofs -l -J -R -V Boot_To_Vim -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -b boot/isolinux/isolinux.bin -c boot/isolinux/boot.cat -o Boot_to_Vim.iso newiso
    
You now have a file in `/tmp` named `Boot_to_Vim.iso`:
    
    
    ls -la /tmp/Boot_to_Vim.iso
    -rw-r--r-- 1 root root 11044864 Sep 17 08:05 /tmp/Boot_to_Vim.iso
    
You can use this to boot a VM, or burn an ISO. If you exit `vim`, it will
restart.
You can start up a real shell by giving the `:!sh` command, in command mode. To
shut down, issue the `:!halt` command.
More info on remastering Tiny Core can be found [here][7].
![image][8]
   [1]: https://raymii.org/s/inc/img/boot-to-vim-1.png
   [2]: http://www.informatimago.com/index.html
   [3]: http://www.informatimago.com/linux/emacs-on-user-mode-linux.html?raymii.org
   [4]: http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/
   [5]: https://www.digitalocean.com/?refcode=7435ae6b8212
   [6]: https://raymii.org/s/blog/Statically_cross_compiled_vim_for_x86_x86-64_and_mips.html
   [7]: http://wiki.tinycorelinux.net/wiki:remastering
   [8]: https://raymii.org/s/inc/img/boot-to-vim-2.png
---
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