Running BSD/OS on a 486

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I decided to try this BSD/OS out of curiosity, because it's available in the archives...

...and becuase I did not want to install DOS or NT on this computer.

Seriously, if not for games, installing DOS permanently on a 486, is a waste of a perfectly good computer :^).
However having said that, I find DOS a perfect operating system for testing if something boots, and formatting floppies, and I'm yet to find a UNIX that boots off a floppy disk. More about DOS here.

Fortunately archive.org published many BSD/OS install media. I went with version 4.2. To install the system, you have to write the boot image to a floppy and boot that, then insert the distribution CD into a CDROM. I believe you can also boot straight from the CDROM if your BIOS can do that.

The install procedure is pretty straightforward. I had to use Custom since my hard disk was smaller than 1GB, and the installer would not run the automatic install. The serial provided on the archive page really uses space characters. I had to uncheck most of the sets to fit on the 512MB flashdisk and still have some free space. Im amazed by the amount of software you can choose from!

The installer allowed me to configure the network interface. Having not seen a DHCP option, I just gave it a static IP address. The first thing that caught my attention after the first boot is that the DNS was not working.

DNS resolver fix

I jumped right into the man pages, assuming it uses resolv.conf. My assumption turned out right. I had to create /etc/resolv.conf and put

nameserver 8.8.8.8
      
in the newly created file. I wonder why the file was not there in the first place.

File transfer over FTP

BSD/OS 4.2 was released November 2000, which makes it a couple month younger than me. Due to it's age, the only networking software working out-of-the-box (besides the DNS issue) is ftp(1) and telnet(1).

I described how to set up a temporary FTP server, and that setup is how I mainly transfer files to and from the Unix.

Netowrking? The 00s called, they want their ciphers back

SSH exists.. and thats all I can tell right now. I tried to ssh to different hosts and every one of them rejected my attempts due to being unable to find a matching cipher.

Telnet on the other hand works incredibly well, but I wouldn't run any password though it.

Mounting floppies

Mounting floppies is pretty straightforward except for mount(8) not being able to autodetect the filesystem on the disk. You have to use mount_msdos(8):

mount_msdos /dev/fd0 /mnt
    

Cloning and formatting floppies

Having two free floppy drives (system boots from flashdisk) makes it very easy to clone a floppy disk (not sure if I have fdformat(1)/superformat(1), for now I format from DOS). All it takes is a dd(1) invocation:

dd if=/dev/fd0 of=/dev/fd1 bs=512
      
Unfortunately this is suboptimal on my current setup, since both drives share the same controller and it has to switch between disk A and B, making some pleasant noises. If I get my hands on an IO card with an FDC, ill probably put another floppy drive in it to make it more elegant

Formatting floppies with fdformat(8) is also pretty easy:

fdformat /dev/fd0
but there doesn't seem to be any utility to create an MSDOS filesystem.

Compiling new software

Compilation is pretty difficult cause I have about 100MB free on the system, so most modern software might not have enough space to compile.

Right now i'm trying to compile ircII, but i need to build OpenSSL first. I'll be updating this page as the progress goes on.

I also had to make one edit (so far) to ircII source code. Ill post a diff when I get it to work.

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