Subject: Re: Suggestions for easing 1.1 i386 installations
To: None <port-i386@NetBSD.ORG,>
From: Ken Hornstein <>
List: current-users
Date: 10/08/1995 02:00:16
>This probably sounds stupid, since there's probably not much notion of console
>I/O at that point in time, but is there ANY way to write an Ethernet driver
>such that if it's configured into the kernel and probing doesn't find anything
>at the given settings, that somehow you could be prompted to provide some
>alternate settings?  If the ed probe failed on my PC and it said "Hey, I don't
>find any ed card, is there one?" and I could say "Yes" and it prompted for
>new address/IRQ settings, I enter them and it re-probes and successfully
>finds them, oh boy would that be great.  Because the system *is* on an
>Ethernet with another host that does have the remainder of the system on it,
>and it seems to me that (from my limited experience) the PC architecture is
>a lot more likely to have network interface cards that aren't at the "expected"
>address/IRQ settings.  To put it another way: on my NetBSD/SPARC system, I'm
>never worried that any NetBSD kernel won't be able to find my "le0" interface!

FreeBSD has a "-c option at boot time, which apparantly puts you in a config
menu where you can list and modify all the IRQ's and IO addresses for all
the devices configured in the kernel (I'm not sure of the details myself,
since I've never seen it).

>From the descriptions that people have posted about this, it sounds like a
ritchiesend, especially in cases like yours.  I'm not sure if the FreeBSD
work is easily adaptable, but I'm sure it's worth looking at, in any case.

>them proved to be a real b*tch.  I was able - after much wrangling with "fdisk"
>and "pfdisk" and "disklabel", even resorting to hand-editing disk labels with
>"ed" from the install root until they worked - to mount a DOS partition onto
>the install root, but it was extremely painful; furthermore, many months later
>when I attempted it again (SCSI disk had gone toast in the meantime, and was
>out for repair for quite a while), I'd forgotten all the black magic again.

Personally, though, I'd think that having a better install so that it wasn't
so easy to trash your disk on an i386 would be a real win.  Everyone I know
that tried to install NetBSD (including me) has trashed their partition
table.  I don't even recommend NetBSD to friends anymore; I tell them to
try FreeBSD.  This way I'm sure they'll still be my friends :-)

I know, I know, I've complained about it before - one of the reasons that
I haven't done anything about it is that once I managed to get NetBSD
installed, I was extremely reluctant to fiddle with it.  Since I now have a
"spare" machine, I hope to get more involved with the 1.1 i386 install