As I reported, my Ultra5 had problems with the 80GB harddisk I mounted on it, because the disk was having its problems already (serves me right for using Maxtor, as I said in that post). Unfortunately the only disks I’m left with now are SATA, and even if I have a PCI controller for SATA, it won’t allow me to boot the Ultra5 itself.
I got then two solutions to get it to work: use an IDE drive for the boot sequence or netboot. I decided to try netbooting, as that sounded like the simplest solution, just set up rarpd, tftpd and bootpd, and it will boot, right? Doesn’t seem so.
First of all, the first link you find is this in murray’s devspace, that is not updated, the links for the loaders are broken, and a quick Google run finds that the normal loader should work as well now, and this is right, it does start the netboot, unfortunately it only tries to access the kernel through NFS root, that I don’t want to use (as I have a real harddisk to start from!); the release notes for CURRENT (coming from French language so most likely not that current either) also refers to loaders that are no more available.
After two hours of fiddling with the loader, I’ve stopped with the current status being not operational. Now RARP does not seem to work either, and I’m not sure why. But the main problem is that I want the kernel being loaded through TFTP, not NFS, and this does not seem to be supported anymore, I’m afraid. The FreeBSD handbook only explain using BOOTP for diskless installation, but this is not diskless. I’m now trying to get it to work with the other disk, I’m tempted to just make the 8.2G the primary disk, and use the 160G only as extension when I’m needing it. The problem is that’s not easy to fit two harddrives on that box. (8.2GB is not that much when you’re working on stagebuilding, I can ensure you that).
Tomorrow I’ll have something to do.. even if I had already enough lately :/ I want to relax!
You might be interested in flash memory with 40-pin IDE connector. A 32MB device should be enough for /boot and costs less than 15€. Bonus is that they won’t headcrash.