Embedded vs other kernels on firebox

  • I installed the embedded kernel on my Firebox and all was working. One of my buddies from work said I should install the non-embedded kernel since it (the embedded kernel) doesn't support everything.

    I tried to do that and I hooked up my PC to the serial port and when I try to boot phase 2 nothing comes out the serial port.

    So the $64 questions are:

    1. Will the embedded kernel do everything the non-embedded ones do (with the exception of the keyboard and display)? If not, what are the restrictions?
    2. Why doesn't the non-embedded kernel output anything during boot to the serial port?

    and related and not so related:

    3. I'm trying to make the LCD work and my head buzzes everytime I try and read the threads on pcdproc et al. Is there one place that explains what needs to be done? Does LCDPROC have a pulldown for the firebox LCD? (This I tried when I installed the embedded kernel the other day and installed the LCDPROC package but could not get it started/working.

    Thanks leon

  • PS: I've got PFsense installed on a laptop drive installed in the firebox.

  • Embedded uses serial port for console.

    Non-embedded uses VGA port for console.

  • is that the only difference?

  • The differences depend on the pfSense version. I expect the details are given in the relevant release announcements on http://blog.pfsense.org such as http://blog.pfsense.org/?p=531 and following the links (e.g. features) on the pfSense home page ( http://www.pfsense.org ).

  • I guess I'm not real clear? On the current 1.2.3 embedded vs. others; a friend of mine said the embedded is limited in what packages it can use???

    also, on my lcd comment, any takers?

    thanks leon

  • From my understanding, the embedded does not install packages that are heavy on Read/Write operations because of the wear that causes on CF cards typically found in embedded installs. That is what  your friend is probably referring to.

    I've tried LCDproc on a box that I repurposed and couldn't get it working. I think you just have to try the different drivers and see if you can get one working.

  • thanks…thats what I thought but I am stumped as to how to get 1.2.3 installed on the HD with the non-embedded kernel since the non-embedded kernels user the screen/keyboard only it seems. thoughts?

    ok on the LCD.

    thanks leon

  • Edit: I just noticed you had another thread asking almost the same question. Also noticed that it sounds like you are already trying the steps I outlined below. I don't think there is a difference between installing this way and the normal installation. I thought you were talking about the nanobsd images made for embedded devices. I just compared the package list between one I have installed with this method and one choosing the normal kernel and they look the same.

    You could try somewhat following the steps in the wiki for installing on a symantec device. They should be similar and you can get the idea.

    Burn a copy of the latest stable version of pfSense – I chose 1.2.3-RC3 which I have used and is quite stable.
    Open the case of the Symantec 5420 and remove the HDD and the CF-to-IDE adapter. Put them both aside in case you want to revert to the Symantec system at some point.
    Take a HDD that can be erased and put it in your PC – remove all other HDDs from the computer so you don’t overwrite the wrong one and set this one to Master.
    Boot the pfSense CD and choose "Easy Install" which will give you the kernel option we need at the end.
    After the files are copied to the hard disk, choose "Embedded Kernel" from the custom kernel choices – this will give us output to the serial port since the Symantec 5420 does not have a monitor output or keyboard inputs.
    When the install finishes, choose reboot and wait for the computer to shut down. Before it boots again, turn the computer off and remove the HDD.
    Install the HDD into the Symantec 5420 and ensure the jumper is set to Master.
    Plug in your serial cable from your running PC and the Symantec 5420 serial port and begin a serial connection with PuTTY or another client program and connect using 9600 8-N-1 settings.

    From: http://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Install_pfSense_on_Symantec_5420_Security_Gateway

  • Hi there…that's what I did. I had the embedded kernel booted on a HD  in the firebox. But when I found out about the possibility of some packages not working on the embedded kernel I wanted to install the non-embedded one....so I am still stumped....ldz

  • You may instead want to look at the Nano builds, which support some packages and use the serial console.

  • ok now have to hunt those up :-)


  • by chance are the nano builds on the live ISO? I'm not at home but at work so can't check.

  • Unless you know for sure that there are packages you are missing, why do you want to change anything? I just looked over one running the embedded kernel as I mentioned in the previous post and it looks like the same packages are available as another box running the standard SMP kernel.

    The nanobsd builds are separate files in the same area you download the livecd.

  • @wa4zlw:

    I guess I'm not real clear? On the current 1.2.3 embedded vs. others; a friend of mine said the embedded is limited in what packages it can use???

    There's a big difference between the embedded version, and the embedded kernel on a full install. The latter is no different from any other kernel as far as functionality. The former is a different version intended for CF and due to the limits of CF has limits on packages.

  • right I understand that. So what I am trying to ascertain is how to get my firebox with a HDD installed as there is only a serial console avail and I want everything avail to me. I assumed wrong that if I install a FULL install image that the serial console is still active during boot.

    So what's the correct procedure to do this? Also, I checked out the nanos it seems there is no ISO for it just the OS?

    Thanks leon

  • Nano is a disk image, designed for use on the relevant sized (flash) disk.

  • ok so that doesnt seem to be an option….:-(

  • So, take a look at the advice that focalguy posted.

  • There's also nothing stopping you from writing a NanoBSD image to a regular disk of course. So it is still an option, but you won't be able to partition the system to use the whole disk (there's no need to either).

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