Problems booting 4.8R PicoBSD

Chuck T. freebsdfan at
Tue Jul 15 08:23:38 PDT 2003

I have a small PicoBSD based firewall project called thewall
( which was originally developed on FreeBSD 4.4R.  I 
no problems updating to 4.5R, however I've never been able to get it to 
since the isc dhcp code was updated prior to the 4.6 release.  Thanks to
Bob Bishop's help I'm now past that problem.

The primary reason I'm messing around it again is that I submitted a kernel
bug report (kern/31085) against the 4.4 release which was recently closed
because I could unable to confirm if the bug still existed on the current
release.  So I'm trying to PXE boot my project again to see if the earlier
bug still exists or not.

My 4.8R based kernel is booting via PXE using dhcp/tftp/nfs, but hanging 
decompressing the kernel.  A packet sniffer shows that it was trying to
read /pxeroot/etc/fstab.gz and failing that /pxeroot/etc/fstab.  I believe
that means that the kernel didn't find the embedded root file system image
for some reason.  I added a couple of printfs in md.c md_takeroot() to try
to figure out the problem, but md_takeroot() never seems to be called.

I have verified that the mfs image was written into the kernel in the 
place by looking at a hex dump of the final image.

I would appreciate any hints anyone can offer!

My PicoBSD configuration file is as follows:
--- snip ---
#Line starting with #PicoBSD contains PicoBSD build parameters
#marker        def_sz  init    MFS_inodes      floppy_inodes
#PicoBSD       2500    init   3072            32768
options MD_ROOT_SIZE=2500

machine         i386
cpu             I486_CPU
ident           PICOBSD
maxusers        10

options         INET                    #InterNETworking
options         FFS                     #Berkeley Fast Filesystem
options         FFS_ROOT                #FFS usable as root device [keep 
options         MFS                     #Memory Filesystem
options         MD_ROOT                 #MFS as root
options         COMPAT_43               #Compatible with BSD 4.3 [KEEP 
options         PCI_QUIET
options         NO_SWAPPING

device  isa0
device  pci0

# The 'ATA' driver supports all ATA and ATAPI devices.
# It can reuse the majors of wd.c for booting purposes.
# You only need one "device ata" for it to find all
# PCI ATA/ATAPI devices on modern machines.
device          ata0    at isa? port IO_WD1 irq 14
device          ata
device          atadisk         # ATA disk drives

# atkbdc0 controlls both the keyboard and the PS/2 mouse
device  atkbdc0 at isa? port IO_KBD
device          atkbd0  at atkbdc? irq 1

device          vga0    at isa? port ?

# syscons is the default console driver, resembling an SCO console
device          sc0     at isa?

device          npx0    at nexus? port IO_NPX irq 13

#options        CONSPEED=19200          #default speed for serial console 
(default 9600)
device          sio0    at isa? port IO_COM1 irq 4
#device         sio1    at isa? port IO_COM2 irq 3

# The following Ethernet NICs are all PCI devices.
device          miibus          # MII bus support
#device         sis             # Silicon Integrated Systems SiS 900/SiS 
#device         xl              # 3Com 3c90x (``Boomerang'', ``Cyclone'')
device          fxp             # Intel EtherExpress PRO/100B (82557, 82558)

pseudo-device   loop
pseudo-device   ether
pseudo-device   pty     16
pseudo-device   md
pseudo-device   bpf     2               #Berkeley packet filter
--- snip ---

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