Making a Compact Flash-based installer

David Kelly dkelly at
Tue Nov 29 19:46:10 GMT 2005

On Tue, Nov 29, 2005 at 10:39:52AM -0600, tsuraan wrote:
> 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.

In prior employment we shipped a bunch of "embedded servers" with
FreeBSD on CF using Soekris hardware. What I suggest you do is rather
than duplicate your *install* CD on CF, simply use another machine to
install the desired image directly on the CF. Probably a good place to
use "dangerously dedicated" rather than a traditional MSDOS partition

FreeBSD ain't no write-only Microsoft Windows. The installed image is
robust and flexible so its easy to move one runnable image around from
one machine to the next.

CF media has a limited number of writes before the hidden magic built
into the media card starts replacing worn out blocks with spares.
Probably not a good idea to have a swap partition on your CF. Also add
"noatime" to your filesystems in /etc/fstab and do whatever you can to
minimize writing to CF.

David Kelly N4HHE, dkelly at
Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.

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