Subject: Re: Embedded NetBSD Install
To: Loren M. Lang <>
From: Luke Mewburn <>
List: tech-embed
Date: 10/22/2004 10:30:08
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On Thu, Oct 21, 2004 at 03:13:36PM -0700, Loren M. Lang wrote:
  | I'm looking at replacing Linux used on an embedded device we are selling
  | with NetBSD, mostly for licensing reason.  This is a more high-end
  | embedded device with an AMD 586 running apache and php for it's
  | interface to the world.  It uses compact flash for it's hard drive.  The
  | default install of NetBSD using the installer and sets provided I think
  | is over 100 megs, maybe like 300 if I'm right.  My question is how do
  | people install NetBSD on small foot prints like in under 8 megs?  Do
  | they just pick and choice from the base sets what they need or are there
  | already put together sets for building small system?  I can probably
  | remove what I don't need, but I was curious if there is an easier way.

For a functional NetBSD system you only need the `base' & `etc' sets.
It's possibly to cut down the install to just the shared libraries and
user programs you need, but that's an issue of "trial and error".
For example, I have a very functional embedded appliance that uses a
10-20MB file system embedded in a kernel that ends up being 4-7MB in

  | Secondly, the host system is Linux right now.  I was thinking I could
  | just copy what I need to the Flash card using a reader attached to the
  | linux system, but how do I partition/disklabel and format the drive.
  | I'm not sure if linux supports disklabel, but I don't think it can
  | format UFS, not to mention load the BSD bootloader.  Is there an easy
  | way to do this or do I need to install a NetBSD system somewhere?

We don't have a "host tool" version of disklabel or newfs at this time,
so you'll need to do that on a NetBSD box.
It is possible to make an ffs file system using 'makefs' and then dd
that onto a drive.
Another alternative is use the 'embedded filesystem' trick I mention
above and boot the kernel off a bootable FAT CF card (I do this);
installboot(8) has more information on how do do the latter..

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