Subject: sysinst, two more notes
To: Current Users <>
From: Jukka Marin <>
List: current-users
Date: 02/14/1999 11:03:53
I installed NetBSD 1.3.3 on one more i386 box last night.  The disk had
linux installed on it before.  I used sysinst with the default options
(and default partitions suggested by sysinst to avoid any problems I
had with the other machines recently ;-)

Install went OK, but when I tried to reboot the system, there was still
a linux boot loader in the bootblocks (and the system didn't boot up,
of course).  I booted off the install floppy again, did "installboot",
rebooted - no go.  Linux boot loader was still there.

I booted off the floppy, did "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/rwd0d bs=64k count=100",
installed NetBSD again - and it worked.

A suggestion: When installing NetBSD from scratch and using the entire disk,
why not doing the "dd" trick automatically?  What is there to lose?  I have
been bitten by the same problem twice now - the first time it wasn't too
easy to figure out what the problem was, but this time I knew better.  I
know about this now and I can do "dd" before installing anything, but this
can be a real problem to users who don't know what the problem is.

Another thing about sysinst: When installing NetBSD on a SCSI disk on i386,
the disk reported geometry of 97 sectors per track and sysinst used this
value.  Install went OK, but the system didn't boot off the hard disk (I
guess this was because bios didn't like this many sectors per track).

I like sysinst, but there seem to be lots of things that need to be fixed.

Hmm, one more thing comes to mind:

When you have several NetBSD systems in one place, all sharing the same
group of users, gateways, domain names etc. it would be nice if sysinst
would let you install one extra "package" with the initial password
database (accounts for the operators), small set of tools (shells,
editors, ssh etc.) and configuration files (xntpd config etc.).  Currently,
there's a lot of work that has to be done manually after sysinst has done
its job.  This can be difficult when the only person who can access the
console doesn't know what to do and you have to tell him what to do,
keystroke by keystroke..  (export TERM=pc3, vipw (how to use vi, how to
create a new account), edit /etc/group, edit /etc/rc.conf...).

It would be great if you could create a basic config set which would be
automatically installed on every system you set up (after a disk crash
or other hardware failure, for example).  (Yes, there are backups, but
you can't easily restore the backups on a new disk, either.)