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Re: Proposal for making raspberry pi and similar systems easier to install

On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 12:25 PM, Tim Rightnour <root%garbled.net@localhost> 
> Having just hooked up my pi, and installed the latest 6.99.17 image on it, I'd
> now like the system to be generally useable.  I propose the following to make
> it easier to install:
> 1) We provide a simple miniroot image, with an INSTALL kernel that contains
> sysinst, dhcp, and sshd.  The miniroot image would be formatted similarly to
> the current rpi.img file, where the user just dd's it to an sd card.
> 2) The image boots into a ramdisk.  It has a user "sysinst" with uid 0, whose
> default shell is sysinst.  Default password would be something simple like
> "netbsd".
> How would it work for the user?
> 1) User dd's the image, plugs the sd card and network cable in.  Machine boots
> up, grabs a dhcp address, fires up sshd and sits there.
> 2) If the user has a keyboard/monitor, they login as sysinst, and begin a
> normal install.
> 3) if not, they ssh in as sysinst, and begin a normal install.
> The installer simply needs to resize the ffs partition on the drive, and newfs
> it, and then begin normal sysinst-y stuff.
> I also think this scheme could be easily used for other embedded devices of
> similar nature.

The standard image isn't so nice in my case (2gb SD card), here's what
it looks like after the first boot:

Filesystem         Size       Used      Avail %Cap Mounted on
/dev/ld0a          558M       547M       -17M 103% /
tmpfs              624K       188K       436K  30% /dev
/dev/ld0e           52M       7.5M        44M  14% /boot
kernfs             1.0K       1.0K         0B 100% /kern
ptyfs              1.0K       1.0K         0B 100% /dev/pts
procfs             4.0K       4.0K         0B 100% /proc

It's true that something probably should be done.

In the specific case of the Raspberry Pi, it would be nice to just
boot a regular sysinst from an SD card, then do the install to a USB
disk of some sort (since you can get ones with large storage). At that
point I wouldn't mind leaving a small SD card in the machine whose
sole purpose is to boot  and mount root from the USB disk. Or I
suppose the hardware could possibly be hacked to boot directly from

But for other devices which don't have a nice console, I completely
agree. What you said is easier than trying to get a console and
netboot a ramdisk kernel or something. That is a large barrier to


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