Subject: Re: sysinst, two more notes
To: Wolfgang Solfrank <>
From: Jukka Marin <>
List: current-users
Date: 02/15/1999 16:57:08
> > Well, option is better than nothing..  Maybe someone could explain why the
> > current install system doesn't write the boot program in the boot blocks
> Well, while the actual reason we took out the installation of the mbr code
> into the mbr block is different, the main reason for not doing it is that
> you would overwrite any code some user might have deliberately installed
> in those boot blocks (like e.g. a boot selector like os-bs).

I understand this.. (this is what I explained to the guy who had linux on
his disk before :)

> Note that
> the mbr code _is_ installed if the installation system doesn't find any
> valid code in there.  That's the reason why wiping the first sector (yes,
> that'd be enough) works for you.

The same problem occurred once with a disk with an older version of NetBSD
installed on it.  We installed 1.3.2 from scratch, but the thing wouldn't
boot.  Took some time before I told the person at the console to "dd" zeros
to the first sectors of the disk and do the install again.

Maybe the installer should ask "Do you have a special boot loader installed
on the disk or do you wish to install a boot loader now?" - at least if I
saw a question like this, I would tell it to install the loader and so I'd
be safe.  If there's just a new menu option "erase disk sector 0" somewhere,
you have to KNOW to use it.  If you know what I mean.

> Offering an option to the user to overwrite the mbr code probably does
> make the most sense here.  Especially, since our new mbr code is capable
> of booting from partitions beyond the 8GB limit that other's mbr code has.
> Most likely, Frank's reworked sysinst code will do this when he is
> finished, and this will be included in 1.4.
> Hope it helps.

Me too. :-)