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NetBSD Installation and Upgrading Have trouble getting NetBSD on your toaster?

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Old 11th June 2012
velikij velikij is offline
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Smile About to install NetBSD in system which is already XP/Ubuntu/FreeBSD triple boot.

I'm about to replace FreeBSD with NetBSD in an I686 system which currently is a triple boot (using Grub2) between XP, Ubuntu 12.04, and FreeBSD 8.1. I want to keep using Grub2, so what I want to do is install NetBSD into the slice/DOS partition where FreeBSD resides now. I want to make sure I don't override the MBR when doing this. When the installation is done, I expect to boot into Ubuntu and run update-grub, which should properly detect the NetBSD partition - it's able to do that now with FreeBSD, for sure, and is reputed to do so with the other BSDs.

Any hints or caveats - I'm new to NetBSD (and this forum).

- Peter
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Old 11th June 2012
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velikij View Post
I'm new to NetBSD (and this forum).
Welcome!
Quote:
I want to make sure I don't override the MBR when doing this.
Chapter 2 of the NetBSD Guide should be the first document studied. Chapter 3 is an example of stepping through the various installation steps. Following selection of language & keyboard type, the install script prompts for how NetBSD is to be installed. This is where you can be dropped into an fdisk(8) interface for editing the MBR partitions.
Quote:
When the installation is done, I expect to boot into Ubuntu and run update-grub, which should properly detect the NetBSD partition...
I have never used grub2 as a bootloader, but from memory the general form of what needs to be added to grub's menu.lst is something akin to the following:
Code:
title NetBSD
root (hd0,6)
chainloader +1
There are two obvious things you should do before proceeding:
  • Back-up any & all important data from all operating systems installed which is critical to retain.
  • Research the specifics of grub's syntax further. I believe the pertinent manual for grub2 can be found at the following:

    http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/manual/grub.html
I don't regularly use NetBSD, so I cannot give definitive answers to your questions. However, spending time in the search engine of your choice will likely provide more information.

Good luck.

Last edited by ocicat; 11th June 2012 at 02:29 AM. Reason: add clarity
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Old 11th June 2012
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IdOp IdOp is offline
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Hi velikij, and welcome to daemonforums!

I don't use grub either, but in addition to ocicat's advice, two thoughts.

1) If you decide to place NetBSD onto the current FreeBSD partition, you might change the partition type to NetBSD ahead of time with a familiar version of fdisk. This is certainly not necessary, but might make the install a bit less stressful, as you don't have to do that part of the job in an unfamiliar environment.

2) With the limited information, the following may not be new or useful to you, but NetBSD can be installed in an extended partition. Something to think about if your disk has some free space at the end. E.g., if your FreeBSD is in a primary partition, and you ever want to try OpenBSD too, it could go there while keeping NetBSD in the extended partition.

Other than that, go for it and good luck.
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Old 15th June 2012
velikij velikij is offline
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I was able to install NetBSD as I described in my original post.

The hardest issue was deciding on partition sizes. I wanted at least a separate /home partition, and ended up with separate root (/), swap, /usr, /tmp, and /home partitions, but am still unsure as to whether my chosen sizes were optimum.

It took me a while to get network settings right in /etc/rc.conf, but I was able to do that after a few tries.

Now I have to figure out which repository to use for adding packages. A recent post in another section of this forum will probably help.

Thanks to those who made suggestions!
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Old 15th June 2012
velikij velikij is offline
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In particular, Ubuntu 12.04ʻs update-grub for Grub2 does indeed detect the NetBSD partition and generates the proper section of /boot/grub/grub.cfg for booting NetBSD.
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Old 15th June 2012
ocicat ocicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velikij View Post
II wanted at least a separate /home partition, and ended up with separate root (/), swap, /usr, /tmp, and /home partitions, but am still unsure as to whether my chosen sizes were optimum.
Finding "optimum" partition sizes all comes down to understanding the use case of the system. No two systems are the same, & don't expect to get it right the first time. So adopt a means to backup important data, & don't be afraid of installing many, many times. This is the way to learn.
Quote:
Now I have to figure out which repository to use for adding packages.
NetBSD's package system has its documentation too:

http://netbsd.org/docs/pkgsrc/

Studying this document upfront will save you lots of time & frustration. Spending time developing familiarity with the contents of NetBSD's Website will help you as well.
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