boot loader

Thomas Ching tching at
Fri Oct 26 14:08:45 PDT 2007

Thanks Doug for your help. I am cc'ing freebsd-questions and I will drop
freebsd-hackers from the next email on.

A few things:
1. it's not a requirement, but I'd like to keep the current partitions
(therefore dual boot) just in case anything goes wrong.
2. can you point me to more readings regarding how I might perform the
following: " However in order to set the new slice bootable you'd have
to then use the disk editor"
3. I guess what you are saying is that if I go with the upgrade path
release 4->5->6, I can do "in place" upgrade over network.

Again appreciate your help.


-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Barton [mailto:dougb at] 
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 1:47 PM
To: Thomas Ching
Cc: freebsd-hackers at
Subject: Re: boot loader

FYI, for future reference this question is really more appropriate for 
freebsd-questions at

On Fri, 26 Oct 2007, Thomas Ching wrote:

> Hi, I am trying to do the following with existing systems running 4.5.
> I'd really appreciate if anyone has any hints, pointers, opinions, or
> even just "you should talk to this other group" for me.
> 1.	Existing system: FreeBSD 4.5 based with FreeBSD boot loader
> (boot0) in MBR

You're not planning to dual-boot anything, right? Just boot and run one 
operating system?

> 2.	I am trying to install a new software based on either FreeBSD
> 6.2 or later, or LINUX with the following restrictions:
> 	a.	No console access
> 	b.	No media access other than serial port, Ethernet,
> existing HD with 4.5 installed (i.e. NO CD/DVD, floppy, USB....etc)
> 3.	The hard drive (1) has enough empty space (currently not
> partitioned/used) so I can create a new slice to put the new
> in and boot from the new OS, but I am not sure how I can achieve that.

You definitely can't use any of the standard installation methods
console access. You also can't dual boot without console access.

> 1.	Is it possible for me to boot of FreeBSD 4.5 and "run an
> installation over Ethernet/ftp"?


> 2.	Is it possible for me to "tar up a FreeBSD 6.2" partition, put
> onto the 4.5 disk (new partition) then "sysinstall" (or something like
> that) to make the system boot from the new partition?

You could theoretically install onto a local system, tar it up, then 
unpack it in the unused partition on your remote machine, yes. However
order to set the new slice bootable you'd have to then use the disk 
editor, and if you get even one thing the tiniest bit wrong, you've 
bricked it.

If I were in your position I'd do this with make world, but that's going

to take a looooooooong time because you'll first have to update to the 
latest RELENG_4, then 5-stable, then 6-stable (at least) and then if you

don't want to have to do this again for a while I'd update to 7.0 when
is released.

The other alternative is to bribe someone who is local to do the 
installation for you, which all things considered would probably be
all around.

hope this helps,



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