Making a Compact Flash-based installer

tsuraan tsuraan at
Tue Nov 29 16:40:09 GMT 2005

I've been using a custom bootable CD for a while to install a
customized build of FreeBSD on servers, but now I have a unit that has
neither a CD-ROM drive nor any molex connectors at all.  It does have
a pair of compact flash drives though.  So, what I'd like to do is
transfer the data from my bootable CDs to a compact flash card, so I
can install off that instead.  What I've tried so far is set up a new
disklabel on the drive (actually, on a file initialized with mdconfig)
that has its -b set to the CDs /boot/boot, and I've copied the
contents of the CD to the cf card.  This results in a card that is
bootable, but the boot loader says the card is not ufs (it is), and it
can't find the kernel.  The actual commands I'm using (from memory)

# dd if=/dev/zero of=mydrive bs=1m count=100
# mdconfig -a -t vnode -f cd.iso -u 0
# mount -t cd9660 /dev/md0 /cdrom

# mdconfig -a -t vnode -f mydrive -u 1
# bsdlabel -w -B -b /cdrom/boot/boot md1
# newfs /dev/md1
# mount /dev/md1 /mnt
# cp -r /cdrom/* /mnt/

# umount /mnt
# umount /cdrom
# mdconfig -d -u 1
# mdconfig -d -u 0

# dd if=mydrive of=/dev/ad2

So, has anyone done this, and actually had it work?

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