Subject: Re: Need help with a port-prep FAQ
To: Izumi Tsutsui <>
From: Tim Rightnour <>
List: port-prep
Date: 03/25/2006 23:42:03
On 25-Mar-2006 Izumi Tsutsui wrote:
>> Get sysinst working.
> Maybe we have to add some MD stuff to create fdisk partition
> of the native OS which firmware can recognize, but I wonder
> how it can be implemented.
> (FYI ARCBIOS on arc machines require FAT partition to load bootloader)

Thats my plan.  I haven't really dug into it yet, so this is a bit high level,
but my general thought is that when you say "use the whole disk for netbsd" it
will create a 5MB prep partition and use the rest for a NetBSD partition. 
Dealing with existing setups is the bigger mess.  I assume you are in the same
boat I am here, so I'll let you know how/if I solve it.

>> Clean up old cruft in the bootloader to try and make it smaller.
> VGA stuff in bootloader contains many unneeded and ugly stuff
> and need to be cleaned up.
> (sys/dev/ic/vga_subr.c:vga_reset() could help?)

Yeah.. I may look at that.. thanks for the pointer.  Right now its just a
jumble.. I think I can cut out about 1/4 of the code that just isn't needed.
(like all the framebuffer device foo)

>> Cut down the size of the INSTALL kernel so it fits on one floppy again.
> It's better to pull standalone wdc(4) driver from cobalt port?
> (BTW, anyone has standalone siop(4) driver?)

The bootloader situation is a hideous mess.  The bootloader has a standalone
fdc driver, but I question if it works or not, given that I still can't figure
out how to get the fdc working under NetBSD at all, and I think the prep
bootloader one was lifted from bebox.

The whole "lets write a bunch of standalone drivers in the bootloader" thing
smells of a real fiasco to me.  For prep, we would need siop, wdc, pcn, tlp, we,
fdc, and possibly a few more.  Even worse, we would need to start parsing the
residual data, which means we would need a cut down pnpbus, and so on, and so
on, until we half half a kernel in there.  It's a noble idea, but I just do not
want to deal with it now.  The only scenario that seems sane to me is using
kloader to double-jump the kernel.

As for cutting down INSTALL.. my primary thought is that I can cut a few
options that aren't needed, cut the bootloader down just a bit, and rename it
to INSTALL_FLOPPY.  Then build the floppy images with that, and provide a
more-full-featured INSTALL kernel for use on the CD and netboot images.  There
should be plenty of room there. As for the current floppy images, we are only
over by about 20-30k, which I think is fixable.

The reality is that these machines are so easy to netboot, that floppy installs
are only a minor concern to me.   I think the big problem would be the prep
laptop which supposedly cannot be netbooted, but I think might have a CDROM, so
it should be ok there.  That being said.. I'm fairly confident I can get 4.0 to
fit on the floppy.

>> Test installation out, make sure it all works nicely.
> Hmm, if no one has tested 7248, I'll dig up mine from my closet.

I have a 7248, a 7024 and a 7043-140.  Independant verification is allways good
though.  But I need another week or so to get my head wrapped around sysinst
again and hopefully get something working.

Tim Rightnour <>
NetBSD: Free multi-architecture OS
Genecys: Open Source 3D MMORPG: