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Re: Installation from USB stick

Martin Husemann <> writes:
> [This topic came up elsewhere, but realy is worth discussing here]


> We seem to have all the tools and pieces to provide an easy to use install
> from USB stick but no instructions in the release notes - I wonder what
> way of installation people do prefer, and what tools we could optimize
> to make the experience as smooth as possible.
> I thought that just rawrite32 the CD ISO image to a USB stick should be
> enough, but have never tested that (besides rawrite32 could use some
> optimizations for large images, but that is another story).
> I have successfully created a bootable install USB stick from NetBSD by 
> just newfs'ing it, using isntallboot and copying the install kernel there
> (in current this would include the necessary modules). But this would be
> a bit complicated for someone trying NetBSD the first time.
> So: what is the easiest way?

Here are my thoughts.

1) We need to be able to install off of FAT drives, I think, because
   most people who have thumb drives have them FAT formatted and
   asking them to reformat is probably irritating.
2) But then we would need an equivalent of SYSLINUX, and a portable
   one at that.
3) In the ideal world, we tell people on Windows "unzip this onto your
   thumb drive and go", and we tell Unix people "untar this onto your
   thumb drive and go", but we still need to handle the boot blocks
4) On 3: can modern Windows make a thumb drive bootable? If it does,
   does still work?
5) My last experiments with bootxx_fat16 resulted in failure. They may
   be broken. We also need bootxx_fat32 I think given that thumb
   drives over 2G in size are increasingly common.

Perry E. Metzger      

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