Trying to build 8.0 Headless Installation Disk

Tim Judd tajudd at
Fri Jan 15 18:39:43 UTC 2010

Replies inline

On 1/13/10, Martin McCormick <martin at> wrote:
> Tim Judd writes:
>> ^^^  mkisofs needs to have the boot record
>> -b boot/cdboot -no-emul-boot
>> And as another option, you might look at mfsBSD, it runs off mfs (RAM)
>> disks with sshd being enabled by default.  Once it boots (kernel
>> starts probing), the cd can be ejected.
> This could be a game changer if I could somehow get the
> FreeBSD8.0 installation CD to run remotely via this method.

The install mediums are a basic freebsd kernel with a MFS-root that
provides a cut-down userland including the binary sysinstall.  The
kernel tries a few binaries to run as the initial binary, init.

The last item it will try to launch on startup is sysinstall.

> 	The problem is that some of the systems that I am
> upgrading are 150 miles away. We have people there who are not
> comfortable with Unix but who are certainly able to install and
> remove CDROM's on request. If I could get the sysinstall
> application to talk to me over the network, I don't care if it
> is a serial line or not.

You can run sysinstall over any connection, I've had it running on the
local console (of course), serial console, and ssh session.

> 	If we could get this down to 1 or two CD's, a major
> millstone will be removed from my neck.
> 	As a computer user who happens to be blind, the serial
> console is extremely useful and I usually make whatever version
> of FreeBSD  we are using in to a serial console disk so it comes
> up serial, even if it is right next to me. It just makes things
> go more smoothly if one doesn't have to hunt up a keyboard and
> hope this or that box still has a sounder so you can hear any
> beeps.

I'm surprised on how far braille has gotten onto computer systems.

> 	I have even put a portable radio on top of a server and
> listened for activity because that was the only way to tell if
> it was booting or in Lala Land. Just for the record, a steady
> sound usually means Lala Land and a sound like whales competing
> FOR territory and female attention means something is happening.
> 	Anyway, not needing to modify the installation disk,
> itself would be nice.
> 	In closing, I love FreeBSD and nothing said here is a
> gripe or complaint. FreeBSD is Unix and therefore accessible.
> Utilities like installation disks and rescue applications are
> always a little tricky because they deal with the system at a
> very low level.
> Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK
> Systems Engineer
> OSU Information Technology Department Telecommunications Services Group
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