Possible (or smart) to put freebsd-boot on USB stick for root-on-ZFS?

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Tue Mar 24 08:29:20 UTC 2015

On Tue, 24 Mar 2015 00:49:46 -0700, Mehmet Erol Sanliturk wrote:
> I was using a FULL installation previously : Everything on the SAME HDD .
> When it was becoming necessary to install a new operating system , I was
> using another HDD and after installation on it the new OS , I was copying
> my files ( in my home directory in previous HDD ) into new installed HDD .
> This was taking approximately twelve hours .

This setup gives you the ability to relapse to the old "state"
whenever something fails - both the OS and your files will be
as you left them. I think the main problem here is the copying
process. If you are using separate UFS partitions, using dump
and restore to transfer files might be quicker than "stupid"

> I one instance , my OS has been corrupted by a malicious inject ( this is
> my suspect because I could not find a true reason for what was the attack
> through "Bash" )  .

The "modern" installation method of "curl ... | sudo bash" maybe? ;-)

> Now , I am using the following set up :
> I am using TWO HDDs :
> One is ONLY OS , and other is for my data files ( all of them downloaded
> from Internet as open source project files ) mounted after installation of
> OS .

This is a good approach. In case you can't use separate disks,
at least use separate UFS partitions. If you're using ZFS, you
can apply the restriction that /home is not mounted during OS
installation or upgrade.

> When I want to upgrade to a new OS , I am using a NEW HDD ( I am NOT
> installing onto existing HDD ) by disconnecting power of existing OS and
> data HDDs .

This will also help you to avoid accidental messing with boot
records or partition tables. I "happily" remember the OS/2 installer
damaging my partition table, and I had to reconstruct it manually
with a hex editor and a handheld calculator. :-)

> After installing the new OS and verifying that it is working correctly , I
> am powering the data HDD and using an fstab entry to mount it .

You can do something similar with ZFS and connected disks: Use
boot environments as known on Solaris. Create a snapshot of the
working installation first. Then install the new OS. Boot into
that environment and check if everything works. Make sure /home
is out of scope, just in case. And if you're happy with it, you
can delete the snapshot. If not - make it the active installation
again and purge the damaged new install. See the "beadm" port
for details.

> Use a USB stick or HDD ( revolving platter or SSD ) for ONLY OS and OTHER
> HDDs for your data files .
> OS my be on any convenient medium : revolving HDD , SSD , USB stick , it is
> not important .

If you don't mind longer startup times, you can even use a SD
card in an USB enclosure, or a USB stick. This makes it possible
to have "pluggable OS versions", like "beadm in hardware". :-)

> You may generate any number of copies of it as a spare for possible
> failures of used OS device :
> In case of failure , the only thing is to do is to shut down the computer ,
> attach a spare OS medium and boot the computer .

Exactly. BEs allow you to do this with your regular set of hard
disks. However, by applying ultimate fat fingers, you can still
damage things. It's way harder to do that when your old install
is on a separate physical disk, disconnected, safely stored.

> I am not using RAID , but "rsync" : one with -"-delete"  as a replication
> of current data disk , another without "--delete" for fear of accidental
> deletions .

Also have a look at cpdup, it's very handy.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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