OpenBSD Journal

Embedded OpenBSD

Contributed by jose on from the small-and-powerful dept.

Michael Lucas has written a new piece about OpenBSD on the OnLamp BSD site . This article, Homemade Embedded BSD Systems , covers installing OpenBSD on the Soekris system, but this could apply to any system which uses a CF device to boot. As usual, some great tips to get you started.

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Ron Rosson () on

    I wish he would have mentioned opensoekris. Plus there is not enough horsepower in a soekris to act as an IDS sensor.

    1. By Michael Lucas () on

      Nothing happened to opensoekris; it's just not the method I prefer. In an article like this, if you cover all the alternatives you wind up with something twice as long and half as useful. :-)

      Also, a Soekris box has enough power for IDS in certain situations. Would I put it in front of a multimegabit/sec site? No. But I'll use it on low-traffic networks without a problem.

  2. By Adam Getchell () on

    A mention of OpenBrick would be cool too. I used wildly different directions to install onto my OpenBrick-E. Part of the directions came from Netikus (, but they got the part about installing read-only root and /dev wrong, and since then I've added a few more mfs entries (/var/db and /var/www) in order to allow packages to install and get Hatchet to work.

    I'm interested in the build scripts so that I can patch these OpenBricks.


  3. By thomas () thomas at beeblebrox dot net on

    I bought myself a soekris 4801 and wanted to use OpenSoekris or flashdist to install OpenBSD on its CF card. They both didn't suit my needs because I wanted more flexibility. The article from Gray Watson sounded interesting but looked like too much work, especially too patch/update. So I decided to adapt flashdist to my needs.

    To use soekrisdist, you simply have to untar base.tgz and etc.tgz (you can also add your own tgz-archive with extra packages you need) to a directory, eg. "/usr/soekris/files". Then you can remove/add/change files in "/usr/soekris/files" until everything is like you want it. After that you have to build a kernel for your soekris and put it into a directory, eg. "/usr/soekris/kernel/bsd". Then you should be able to run soekrisdist: sd0 /usr/soekris/files/ /usr/soekris/kernel/bsd

    As I use a 256MB CF card with my soekris, I didn't design soekrisdist to create an as small as possible embedded OpenBSD. I wanted the CF card OpenBSD to be very similar as the "original". So I changed "/etc/rc" as less as possible: "/etc/hostname.sis0" etc. are still needed, services are started via "/etc/rc.conf" or "/etc/rc.local" etc.

    Maybe some reader can use this script. But be cautious, it may work for me not necessarily for you. If don't want to edit files in "/usr/soekris/file/etc/" and don't much bother about flexibility flashdist and OpenSoekris are better solutions for you.


    1. By thomas () thomas at beeblebrox dot net on mailto:thomas at beeblebrox dot net

      Oops, I forgot to give you the URL to soekrisdist: Here it is.

      1. By thomas () thomas at beeblebrox dot net on mailto:thomas at beeblebrox dot net

  4. By djm () on

    I use my own flashboot distribution for this.

  5. By Peter Williams () on

    Thanks for posting this article. This sounds like a really neat project to try out and implement on my home lan. Neat!

  6. By Peter () on

    I've been using the Soekis Net4501's for home firewall and NAT boxes for quite a while now. I started originally with the old emBSD project's software, but moved onto using IBM 340M Microdrives. I can install a standard OpenBSD 3.4 onto this drive (minus man pages, compilers, games, and X) and still use just under half the drive. This way I have a standard system without any major limiatations and without having to worry about too many writes to a CF device. Besides at $44 for one of these Microdrives its almost cheaper than a CF card!


    1. By krh () on

      How are Microdrives in terms of noise, heat, etc?

      1. By Peter () on

        Within the Soekris' Net4501 enclosure the sound is more or less non-existant. If I put my ears near the box I can hear a very minor sound, but it is impossible to hear it past a foot or so.

        As far as heat does, I haven't actually measured it, but the case doesn't feel any warmer then when I ran it with a 64M CF.



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