Subject: Re: Help me defend NetBSD's honor!
To: Peter Seebach <>
From: Ignatios Souvatzis <>
List: current-users
Date: 03/09/2003 11:52:28
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On Sun, Mar 09, 2003 at 02:59:33AM -0600, Peter Seebach wrote:
> So, I've gotten myself what is either a wonderful contract or an awful one.
> Three people have tried and failed to achieve this.
> The subject of our discussion is a Soekris systems box - an N4521.  AMD sc520
> single-chip processor, some memory, two cardbus slots and a CF slot, one
> serial port, two ethernets.
> The goal is a purpose-built box that fetches data over a serial port and
> makes it available somehow over wireless LAN.
> Two things would make this much easier:
> 1.  Is there a sane way to make NetBSD run *totally* headless - no
> console device?  The only serial port will be used up by something else.
> (I can work around this temporarily, but in the long run, it's the best
> thing for me.)

I suggest a workaround: the Soekris 4501 (I assume also the 4521, I think it's
built around the same CPU) should have two serial ports - so configure your
kernel to use the other serial port as kernel console.

You still should make sure to not enable nasty things in the BIOS, of course
(e.g. - whatwasit - ctrl-p to break out of automatic boot).

> 2.  I seem to recall people doing read-only boot filesystems; is this as
> easy as I'd guess it would be (union mount an mfs filesystem over / early
> in the boot)?

That's the easy method. Also, tell syslogd to only log over the net or shut
it up totally, maybe install mini_sendmail (from pkgsrc) so that you can
get locally generated (think cron!) mail onto the operator's box, etc.

/dev is nowadays no problem - just leave it empty (only MAKEDEV), and init
will mount a mfs and populate it.

For a more complicated approach see [1].


[1] myself, "A shared write-protected  NFS root file system for a cluster
    of diskless machines",

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