Subject: re: i386 floppy no longer fits
To: Martin Husemann <>
From: matthew green <>
List: tech-install
Date: 01/11/1999 19:28:51
   But I dare to differ: the floppy boot and the CDROM boot should not behave
   the same. Having a firewall booting from CDROM straight into multi-user
   mode would be a win. And an install CDROM should start sysinst without
   any further questions like "please insert root filesystem".

a 'firewall booting from CDROM' would *have* to be something local, and
thus what you do with it is entirely upto your, and should not limit or
really affect what NetBSD does.  certainly, we should avoid making things
like this hard... indeed, we should facilitate the building of such
cdroms as easily as possible, *with* local changes, etc..  i personally
have recently written cdroms of bz2'ed dump files of my system,
*including* a bootable image on the floppy, so that the backup media
holds all i need to recover, should that become necessary.  fortunately,
the 'standard' install media is OK for this, so i can just use the
normal netbsd version, but i can imaging wanting to build specialised
images, etc.

building truly useful and long-lasting bootable/install media is a
hard thing to do.

i've recently been playing with the sparc bootable floppy image again
(for cdrom booting, mind you!), and when i added some missing
functionality, it blew the ramdisk's size, and i had to grow it a bit
more.  now, while the boot floppy itself, with a /netbsd.gz and /boot
has about 250KB spare, and thus i should be able to grow the embedded
ramdisk image to cover this, i can't due to the fact that the SPARC
architecture uses non-contiguous memory, and the boot loader currently
fails if the kernel (text + data) is slightly less than 4M.

so, effectively, unless we change the way the SPARC boot floppy works
(how??  how do you make it *also* useful for cdroms too?), there will
aways bit this limit, and as there is only 46k free on the ramdisk, i
imagine that it will be gone in a year or so.  and then the kernel
growing will take more space out of that not-quite-4M region, forcing
the size of the ramdisk down.

if anyone has comments or suggestions on making the sparc bootimage
better, please let me know.