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Introduction to NanoBSD
This document provides information about the NanoBSD tools, which can be used to create FreeBSD system images for embedded applications, suitable for use on a USB key, memory card or other mass storage media.
NanoBSD is a tool developed by {phk} and now maintained by {imp}. It creates a FreeBSD system image for embedded applications, suitable for use on a USB key, memory card or other mass storage media.
It can be used to build specialized install images, designed for easy installation and maintenance of systems commonly called "computer appliances". Computer appliances have their hardware and software bundled in the product, which means all applications are pre-installed. The appliance is plugged into an existing network and can begin working (almost) immediately.
The features of NanoBSD include:
Ports and packages work as in FreeBSD - Every single application can be installed and used in a NanoBSD image, the same way as in FreeBSD.
No missing functionality - If it is possible to do something with FreeBSD, it is possible to do the same thing with NanoBSD, unless the specific feature or features were explicitly removed from the NanoBSD image when it was created.
Everything is read-only at run-time - It is safe to pull the power-plug. There is no necessity to run man:fsck[8] after a non-graceful shutdown of the system.
Easy to build and customize - Making use of just one shell script and one configuration file it is possible to build reduced and customized images satisfying any arbitrary set of requirements.
NanoBSD Howto
The Design of NanoBSD
Once the image is present on the medium, it is possible to boot NanoBSD. The mass storage medium is divided into three parts by default:
Two image partitions: `code#1` and `code#2`.
The configuration file partition, which can be mounted under the [.filename]#/cfg# directory at run time.
These partitions are normally mounted read-only.
The [.filename]#/etc# and [.filename]#/var# directories are man:md[4] (malloc) disks.
The configuration file partition persists under the [.filename]#/cfg# directory. It contains files for [.filename]#/etc# directory and is briefly mounted read-only right after the system boot, therefore it is required to copy modified files from [.filename]#/etc# back to the [.filename]#/cfg# directory if changes are expected to persist after the system restarts.
Making Persistent Changes to [.filename]#/etc/resolv.conf#