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Re: GigaRouter (Was Re: Cisco as Big Brother))

  • From: Alexis Rosen
  • Date: Sat Oct 19 16:17:17 1996

Rob Liebschutz writes:
> I've been thinking about doing this for a while now.  The only product
> that I've found so far is made by a company called MCSI ((619)
> 598-2177) , but the only thing I've been able to get out of them so
> far is that the darn thing emulates a DOS filesystem through the bios,
> though they referred me to another company that does the firmware for
> their card, and claimed that this company could do custom firmware for
> me.  I think MCSI has a card that emulates a dual floppy as well.
> I'd love a card that just provided a single raw drive emulations, even
> IDE would be fine, so I could just copy a whole bootable file sytem
> image into it, but I guess 2 floppy images would suffice.

The dual-floppy configuration seems better to me. I've built single-disk
NetBSD filesystems that included the kernel, shell, and enough other
stuff (mount, ifconfig, etc) to nfs-mount the real filesystems. (Well,
yes, I did strip the kernel, but that's a detail :-)

With a bit more work, it wouldn't be too tough to build a one-disk boot
filesystem that could make a memory-based filesystem, copy a bunch of things
there from a convenient server, and run gated (or whatever) from there.

The reason the two-disk FLASH is nice is that if you ever have to update
your boot fs for any reason, you can simply make a completely clean new
one, and you're never in a state where your boot fs may be corrupt.
(You switch the PRAM's notion of which "floppy" to boot only after the
flash download finishes cleanly.)

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