Subject: Re: NetBSD reliability and capabilities
To: Andreas Drewke <>
From: Thor Lancelot Simon <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 02/02/2005 15:57:44
On Wed, Feb 02, 2005 at 06:10:58PM +0000, Andreas Drewke wrote:
> Hallo,
> i like to ask a serious question.
> The software company I am working at might make a deal with another company to 
> sell server system with a small Flashcard or rom as storage device(approx. 
> 256 or 512mb) where a Unix-like-OS and our Server Software will be running 
> on.

A ROM is a poor choice for this application.  Really, on x86, anything
other than CompactFlash is a poor choice.  CF looks just like an IDE
disk to the hardware -- so, assuming the absence of truly obnoxious
BIOS bugs, it will boot and run with no special work at all.

NetBSD boots and runs fine with serial console and no video card.  You
will, again, need a machine with a BIOS that doesn't totally lose; but
these are not hard to find.  I have more x86 systems that run "headless"
than with video cards, and I only very occasionally encounter a system
whose BIOS refuses to boot without video.

NetBSD will work just fine without swap, so long as you have enough
RAM for your applications.

A number of manufacturers make hardware that's well suited for this
kind of thing.  For example, Soekris makes several models of small
x86 machines with a decent amount of memory, compactflash slots,
serial BIOS with a decent command-line interface, and reasonable
expansion options.