Posts Tagged ‘NetBSD’

Last night I wanted to try something new on Mirage, my Sun Ultra 5. After changing the configuration of the SCSI disks, moving some drives between the two channels of the controller ( and changing the correspondingly devaliases in the NVRAM with several nvunalias / nvalias commands ), I thought about installing NetBSD-current ( currently 5.99.55 ).

This wiki list a serie of commands that would compile and install NetBSD-current assuming that a release of NetBSD is already running. So because I already had a NetBSD 5.1 running on Mirage, I thought of following the “short way”… only to find out that fetching the sources via anoncvs took nearly 4 hours. I’m not blaming anoncvs, because trying to fetch the tarball and extracting all the files took nearly 2 hours two days later.

Now, the most “interesting” thing is that the build script, before compiling the kernel and the userland, need to compile the compiler, because NetBSD 5.99 need GCC 4.5 compiled for the target architecture ( in this case, sparc64 ).
I was just thinking to stay with 5.1 ( losing some opportunity offered by current, like some ZFS support etc. ), when I tought about doing some test on a VM in VirtualBox. During the installation process I choose to get the sets ( a bunch of tgz files ) from http rather than from the CD. Looking at the options for the http install, I tought of doing something “nasty”:

using the 5.1 installer to install 5.99.

It’s longer to explain than actually doing it, but this is possible because on the nyftp http mirror ( ) inside the pub/NetBSD-daily/HEAD/ directory are stored the last five build of NetBSD-current. Inside each directory ( named after the date and time of build ), there are the directories for each architecture, containing the binary sets ( the bunch of tgz files ) that will be used from the installer.
So, after changing the options in the installer accordingly to what is needed, the installation can start and will end with only two minor problems.

The first one is that it’s not possible to set the root password, the second is that the rc_configured variable in /etc/rc.conf will not be changed by the setup program, resulting in a single user boot after reboot, with the root filesystem mounted in read-only.
But these are problems that even a NetBSD newbie know how to solve ( If someone is interested in something like NetBSD-current, then a basic knowledge of vi and of the standard UNIX commands, like mount or passwd is take for granted ).

Mirage is now running NetBSD-current with a LVM volume ( not as powerful as ZFS but require a lower overhead ) in the Sun StorEdge FlexiPack 599, and has been configured as a NFS ( Nightmare Network File System ) Server.


Ott 31

Recently I needed a *BSD machine to test a software I’m developing with two friends for an university research project.
My choice went for NetBSD of course ( latest version is 5.0.2, but the 5.1 is coming, anyway…).
But I can’t use Mirage, my UNIX (Oracle Solaris) server, for two reasons:

  • The only disk inside has Solaris on it and I don’t want to remove it, install NetBSD, then reinstall Solaris again;
  • I need two network cards and  Mirage has only one ( the Happy Meal ).

Because Raptor is powerful enough, I decided to virtualize NetBSD on VirtualBox, so I can have up to four network cards, as much RAM (and CPUs) as I wish, remote desktop, etc.

So, I created a virtual hard drive, then I created a virtual machine and tried to boot it… No way… Some strange errors at boot, during kernel loading…
Now, the NetBSD slogan is “Of course it runs NetBSD”, meaning it is able to runs on almost anything with a CPU and some RAM, including the toaster.
Being unable to run on one of the most used desktop virtualization software is unacceptable. It has to be my fault, I’m missing something.
Something critical for every OS I’ve used (and they’re many) is the / or the C: partition. The boot loader could be able to launch the kernel, but the kernel could not be able to find and mount the partition.

So, get my advice. When creating a virtual machine for NetBSD, add a SCSI controller to handle the virtual disk instead of using the classical IDE interface or the newer AHCI interface.