install via miniroot?

Marius Strobl marius at
Wed Jan 19 21:49:48 UTC 2011

On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 01:29:32AM -0500, Joel Heikkila wrote:
> Hello all,
> I recently got a nice older Ultrasparc machine and I'm interested in
> putting FreeBSD on it.  It doesn't have a CD-ROM drive.
> I've tried every configuration imaginable to me but I've been unable
> to get the "standard" netboot approach (tftp the loader, then load
> kernel via NFS) to get past the NFS stage with FreeBSD.  I managed to
> get Debian installed on it because Debian includes the kernel and a
> small root on the tftp install image.  I then used a NetBSD miniroot
> image which let me install NetBSD successfully.
> So I'd like to know, is there a miniroot (an image dd'd over an
> existing partition to bootstrap an install) or similar way to install
> FreeBSD from a working Debian or NetBSD install?  How would I go about
> that?  I notice a miniroot.ufs.gz file in the release/miniroot
> directory, but when gunzip'd then dd'd over either the entire drive or
> a swap partition, Openboot objects, claiming it is not a valid
> executable.

That's what miniroot.ufs.gz is intended for and what definitely worked
in the past but apparently got broken at some point in time due to some
(tool) change without being noticed at it is seldom used. The transition
from GEOM_SUNLABEL to GEOM_PART_VTOC8 for example would be a candidate
for that. If you want to look into this checking whether the boot code
still ends up in that image generally probably would be a good start.


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