minimal install is too big

Erik Cederstrand erik at
Thu Oct 4 22:49:00 PDT 2007

Tim Judd wrote:
> Hi all,
> Recently, for pure entertainment and a little bit of a experience
> thing, I have been looking and/or finding many devices that have linux
> embedded.  While in of itself the fact that it works, I'm not
> discounting.  But I'd like to expand it or get it running on a system
> that I am familiar with.  So I was playing with the idea of using
> FreeBSD on such devices, and I would deal with the individual hardware
> specs if I could get the general system small enough.
> The minimal install of FreeBSD as from the developers is about 130MB. 
> I want to get something working on a 8MB flash. (For those curious,
> it's a ethernet NAS device)
> picobsd is discontinued, nanobsd claims it can fit in 64MB.  I'd even
> go with some NetBSD flavor, as long as it's not "linux."  I've done
> some research and would like to see this happen, but may just end up
> using the GPL code from Linksys to get it working as I need it to.
> Thanks for any update/idea/clue.

I guess the answer is "depends on what you need". The most minimal 
system (just a prompt and a few utilities in from /rescue) would 
probably be mfsroot.gz from the installation media. It's around 4MB - 
you can add your own utilities from there, but it's a bit tedious to 
find out exactly which files, utilities and libraries you need. An 
alternative would be to have your root filesystem NFS-mounted. That way, 
you only need a kernel and a few boot files on the flash to boot, if 
your device doesn't support PXE.

There are a lot of tips in the "FreeBSD from Scratch" article [1]. Also, 
Erik Nørgaard's "PXEBoot Guide"[2] has lots of good info on net-booting. 
   And then there's of course FreeNAS[3] if you can get it running on 
your device.



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