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Installing OpenBSD 4.8 on a Soekris 5501

  • March 04, 2011
  •   category: unix
  • tags: bsd, obsd, openbsd, pxeboot, soekris, tftp, tomato, unix

I tried to do the install via a direct install to the CF via a USB media reader on my laptop, that gave me the runaround for a bit, turns out most USB style CF card readers work but I managed to find one that does not 1.

Turns out I was just being a dummy, and using the bsd.rd from my local amd64 install and not the i386 one I should have been using, swapped those out and the rest of the install is standard fare OpenBSD. To get the setup working I found a pretty solid guide 2 that is a few years old but gives a pretty good start to finish view of the process. I ended up setting up an OpenBSD image in VirtualBox and exposing it via bridged networking so I could access it via the rest of my network. On that machine I installed tftp and ftp, and used my existing router to point at there 3. As for the actual install see the instructions for the best up to date guidance 4, once the pxeboot part is out of the way the install proceeds as expected, depending on the size of your media select your options appropriately, if the drive is under 2G you may have to be more careful.  In this case I am using an 8G Seagate ST1.2 CF microdrive, so it is less of an issue of space, but still an issue of minimizing read/write cycles but that we don’t really deal with that until after the install.

Once the OS is installed we can reboot, and double check the ComBios settings to set the correct boot device 5 6 so it boots back up automatically in the future.  Now back into OpenBSD we want to address the fact that we are on a Compact Flash drive, essentially we want to setup a read-only filesystem 7. I stumbled across a number of implementations of this using mfs8 which provides a in memory virtual disk to perform the majority of the reading and writing. I ‘ll be following up on that in another post when I can dig into mfs and start configuring this little baby to take over my networks heavy lifting, stay tuned…

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