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chris2's gentle guide to installing NetBSD in a prgmr DomU (January 2009)

Installing NetBSD as DomU is easy, but not trivial.

Boot your preconfigured system, jot down its IP address:

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet
          inet addr:64.62.205.XXX  Bcast:  Mask:

You will also need the IP address of a DNS server. You can copy the one from /etc/resolv.conf , or you can use a public DNS server, such as Google's Pulic DNS Server at

From the control menu on your dom0 host, destroy/shutdown the instance, and restart ("create/start") it, selecting the "rescue" option from the bootloader. Login as 'root'.

Your fixed disk, as known to the linux rescue image, is /dev/xvda. Later, when booted to the NetBSD installer, it is identified as /dev/xbd0.

For NetBSD, this disk must be partitioned, and the NetBSD installer files placed therein.

fdisk /dev/xvda

From within fdisk,

  • delete the existing partition, *which will destroy your current OS image and dataa*
  • create a new primary partition #1, with first cylinder at default=1 and last cylinder at +32M
  • write the new parition table to the disk.
  • exit fdisk

Success to this point is evidenced by the prseence of /dev/xvda1

If the file 'netbsd64.tar.gz' exists in /distros, skip over to <a href=<"#Unpack_Installer">Unpacking the Installer</a>

Otherwise you'll have to proceed here with

Fetching the Installer

Wait for DHCP to time out.

Setup IP with

ifconfig eth0 up 64.62.205.XXX/26
route add -net gw eth0

Partition /dev/xvda, create a 32mb ext2 partition as partition 1, make a directory boot/,

wget and extract to /mnt/boot/ :

(or newer)

Create a file boot/grub/menu.lst with this content:

timeout 5

title NetBSD run
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /boot/netbsd-XEN3_DOMU

title NetBSD install
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /boot/netbsd-INSTALL_XEN3_DOMU

Skip to <a href="Boot_to_Installer">Booting the Installer</a>

<a name="Unpack_Installer">Unpack the Installer</a>

Unpacking the Installer

This section presumes the presence, in the rescue instance, of /distros/netbsd64.tar.gz

<a name="Boot_to_Installer"</a>

Booting the Installer

Shutdown again.

Create instance. Boot first grub item, then pick "NetBSD install".

Install onto xbd0(!).

IMPORTANT: Change disklabel such that xbd0a starts after the end of the ext2 partition. Add a disklabel for the /boot partition, so you can update the kernels and adjust the menu.lst later. (You can find out its sectors by using fdisk /dev/xbd0). Here is an example disklabel setup for a 3072M disk with a 32M boot partition:

 We now have your BSD-disklabel partitions as:
 This is your last chance to change them.
    Start  MB   End  MB  Size  MB FS type    Newfs Mount Mount point
    --------- --------- --------- ---------- ----- ----- -----------
 a:        31      2912      2882 FFSv1      Yes   Yes   /
 b:      2913      3040       128 swap
 c:         0      3071      3072 NetBSD partition
 d:         0      3071      3072 Whole disk
 e:         0        30        31 Linux Ext2
 f:         0         0         0 unused
 g: Show all unused partitions
 h: Change input units (sectors/cylinders/MB)
>x: Partition sizes ok

Install by FTP, setup networking by the noted data. Adjust the FTP paths to the snapshot you use.

Reboot, now with "NetBSD run".


19:30, 3 February 2009 (UTC)