Subject: Re: Can't partition and format Sun3 disk
To: Jason Thorpe <>
From: Brett Glass <>
List: port-sun3
Date: 12/29/1995 10:48:02
>> It turns out that Sun does have a "format" program in the RAM disk
>> kernel on the boot tape. NetBSD 1.1 doesn't, though, which means you
>> can't install on systems where you CAN install SunOS.

> Umm ... Why?  The necessary disklabel tools are in the sun3 ramdisk and 
> miniroot...

A disk "labeling" tool cannot work on a disk that has not yet been
low-level formatted. You need to low-level format the disk before you can
write ANY information to it, including the "label" (a misleading term; it
actually holds information about the disk's physical geometry, media
defects, and partitioning). 

Thus, one also needs a formatting and surface analysis program on the
installation tape.  Sun provides this on the first SunOS tape (the
one with "munix" on it), but NetBSD doesn't.

To sum up: if your disk drive has not previously been used with SunOS (or
an earlier version of NetBSD), you cannot install NetBSD from the currently
provided install tape. To fix this "can't get there from here" problem,
NetBSD must add a low-level formatting utility to the install tape.