Subject: Re: Install NetBSD over the top of Linux
To: Ken Hornstein <>
From: Carsten Hammer <>
List: current-users
Date: 06/15/1996 15:16:42
> >Does it make it anything easier to have a installed Linux
> >when installing NetBSD? I have a Linux box connected to
> >the internet and want to install NetBSD on it (deleting Linux).
> >It is a 486 with a 200MB HD. Just replacing the /vmlinuz with 
> >/netbsd does not work for (at least) two reasons as i understand:
> >
> >1. Major and minor device numbers dont conform to any standard.
> >   (is there any?)

What i mean is that i think it would be useful to have the harddisks on
NetBSD-Amiga have the same Major and minor numbers as NetBSD-i386,
I dont mind to change the NetBSD-Amiga device numbers to i386 style..
Of course it is difficult to do it with all devices as same are uniq on
some platforms but it should be possible to find a way to get NetBSD-Amiga 
boot on a NetBSD-Mac Harddisk after replacing /netbsd by the NetBSD-Amiga 
version. As i understand it it is necceassary for this to match the
device numbers to the same hardware devices on the different platforms.
And at least the major number distribution seems to be completely
arbitrary on the different NetBSD ports and Unixes in genereal.

> >2. NetBSD does not understand ext2fs of Linux
> Well, there are actually about a billion reasons it wouldn't work :-)  These
> probably include:
> - Lilo may not know how to load a netbsd executable

why? NetBSD-i386 has to boot to NetBSD somehow.. how?
Is there a tool similar to lilo that allows to boot netbsd?
What makes it impossible to replace lilo by something that allows NetBSD to
boot? Could lilo be modified to even boot NetBSD kernels copied to /vmlinuz?

> - NetBSD doesn't know how to run Linux binaries (you might be able to get
>   by with Linux binary emulation, but I'm sure lots of things won't work).

I was under the impression that NetBSD's Linux emulation has improved very
well. What exactly it the problem? 
Would it be possible to replace these parts and make it then work?

> In short, you really need to have the full system installed on top of the
> other one (the same holds true if you go the other way as well).
> >Is this correct?
> >I asked this question years ago here once: 
> >Would it be a good thing to have everywere (at least on NetBSD)
> >the same major and minor ids? 
> You mean, as the same as Linux?  I can't see a reason to do that (and it
> wouldn't help you in this case).

no, I mean to share the most important major,minor numbers under all free unixes.
The reason is to boot into a different operating system with minimal work.

> >And to try to get help directly for my problem:
> >Is there any filesystem that NetBSD and Linux know both and
> >that would help to do my migration to NetBSD?
> Well, there's always MSDOSFS.  I don't know of any others.

Unfortunatly this means to introduce a non transparent way to 
interpret msdos files as special files. How does linux do this? 
I heard it is able to boot from msdos fs. 
NetBSD doesnt boot at all if there are no special files. It doesnt even 
give a errormessage.

> >Is there a way to boot my box on a NFS mounted NetBSD-rootfs and
> >to install then via NFS?(security considerations are no
> >big problem for me, at least as long only this machine is affected)
> I think you might be able to do an NFS-mount off of one of the install
> floppies ... but if you can do that, why not just ftp the installation
> sets?

perhaps anybody out there knows something about this more exact?!
I cant see what ftping helps me if i dont have the space to hold the
NetBSD distribution on the msdos partition. 
> --Ken
thanks for your answer anyway,