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boot image sizes for 9.x

The install boot image (sysinst.fs) is, as of 9.0, too large to boot on the 43p 7248. This has also carried over to NetBSD 9.2, which causes the ISO to no longer boot, since that image is used in building the bootable section of the ISO. As mentioned in some prior posts here, there seems to be a 2MiB limitation on the boot image size. I can confirm sysinst.fs does not work (boots to black screen, with blinking white cursor in the top-left) and also that sysinst_small.fs does work. I tested these images through the firmware net boot feature.

The boot images may need to be reworked if the 2MiB limit is indeed a hard limitation of the firmware or hardware. The generic.fs image is not really useful at this point in time, since it cannot be booted and the GENERIC kernel configuration is ideal for the fully featured, secondary kernel, and thus should not be trimmed down. Originally, there were only two kernels for port-prep, a GENERIC and an INSTALL, but with the release of NetBSD 4.0. a second INSTALL_SMALL kernel was added, since the original INSTALL kernel (and generated image file) became too large to fit on a 1.44MiB floppy. The INSTALL_SMALL image is currently too big to be used on a floppy, but still works for net booting or as the image used to create the bootable part of the ISO. I don't know how many folks are still interested in using floppies, since net booting is an option, but it should still be possible to make a usable image, although with reduced functionality. I have experimented with a modified INSTALL_SMALL kernel config and successfully trimmed it down to produce a 1.1MiB SMALL kernel for use with the PReP partition. An alternate method to get a bootable PReP partition is to dd the sysinst.fs image (when it's <2MiB) into it. From my experience, this will load the bootloader and try to load from disk, or eventually fail and then try in(), booting into the RAM disk installer.

Sysinst does not currently produce a working PReP partition, because it uses the GENERIC kernel, which is too large. It should either use the INSTALL kernel (although even that is too large at the moment, so INSTALL_SMALL instead) or a new trimmed-down "SMALL" kernel that is <2MiB.

The following directory indexes should provide some perspective of how the image files were originally sized (they all were able to fit on a floppy disk). On a side note, generic.fs looks to last have been <2MiB with the NetBSD 5.2 release.

Index of pub/NetBSD-archive/NetBSD-2.0/prep/installation/floppy/
Name			Last modified		Size
Parent Directory	06-Dec-2004 00:27	1kB
BSDSUM			06-Dec-2004 00:29	1kB
CKSUM			06-Dec-2004 00:29	1kB
MD5			06-Dec-2004 00:29	1kB
SYSVSUM			06-Dec-2004 00:29	1kB
generic.fs		06-Dec-2004 00:29	1424kB
generic.fs.gz		06-Dec-2004 00:29	1394kB
generic_com0.fs		06-Dec-2004 00:29	1413kB
generic_com0.fs.gz	06-Dec-2004 00:29	1388kB
sysinst.fs		06-Dec-2004 00:29	1441kB
sysinst.fs.gz		06-Dec-2004 00:29	1409kB
sysinst_com0.fs		06-Dec-2004 00:29	1430kB
sysinst_com0.fs.gz	06-Dec-2004 00:29	1404kB

Index of pub/NetBSD-archive/NetBSD-4.0/prep/installation/floppy/
Name			Last modified		Size
Parent Directory	16-Dec-2007 08:54	1kB
BSDSUM			16-Dec-2007 08:55	1kB
CKSUM			16-Dec-2007 08:55	1kB
MD5			16-Dec-2007 08:55	1kB
SHA512			16-Dec-2007 08:55	1kB
SYSVSUM			16-Dec-2007 08:55	1kB
generic.fs		16-Dec-2007 08:55	1863kB
generic_com0.fs		16-Dec-2007 08:55	1854kB
sysinst.fs		16-Dec-2007 08:55	1545kB
sysinst_com0.fs		16-Dec-2007 08:55	1535kB
sysinst_small.fs	16-Dec-2007 08:55	1413kB
sysinst_small_com0.fs	16-Dec-2007 08:55	1403kB

Index of pub/NetBSD/NetBSD-8.2/prep/installation/floppy/
Name			Last modified		Size
Parent Directory	31-Mar-2020 11:16	1kB
MD5			31-Mar-2020 11:17	1kB
SHA512			31-Mar-2020 11:17	1kB
generic.fs		31-Mar-2020 11:17	2610kB
generic_com0.fs		31-Mar-2020 11:17	2601kB
sysinst.fs		31-Mar-2020 11:17	2028kB
sysinst_com0.fs		31-Mar-2020 11:17	2018kB
sysinst_small.fs	31-Mar-2020 11:17	1876kB
sysinst_small_com0.fs	31-Mar-2020 11:17	1867kB

Index of pub/NetBSD/NetBSD-9.2/prep/installation/floppy/
Name			Last modified		Size
Parent Directory	12-May-2021 23:02	1kB
MD5			12-May-2021 23:04	1kB
SHA512			12-May-2021 23:04	1kB
generic.fs		12-May-2021 23:04	2717kB
generic_com0.fs		12-May-2021 23:04	2708kB
sysinst.fs		12-May-2021 23:04	2137kB
sysinst_com0.fs		12-May-2021 23:04	2128kB
sysinst_small.fs	12-May-2021 23:04	1957kB
sysinst_small_com0.fs	12-May-2021 23:04	1948kB

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