Embedded vs live? Noob questions…



  • I'm wanting to set up a system using either USB flash drives or cf cards. I'm scratching my head whether I should use the live iso or the embedded system.

    The docs I've seen for embedded seem to assume CF cards. Any problem installing it on USB flash drives?

    Does the live system minimize writes like the embedded system does?

    It appears the embedded system is stuck with a serial console. I used to use a VT100 myself back in the old days but I'm intimidated trying to get it working in the world of PC's, and I have no idea how to get the keyboard working with it. I don't own a dumb terminal myself any more. Can the embedded system use VGA and usb or ps2 mice?

    I assume if I get a CF card to SATA adapter it is then just a regular "hard drive" install, but how are writes minimized?

    The motherboards I'm familiar with don't have PATA at all so the boot drive is either something that plugs into SATA or USB,  I think. Not sure why people use CF cards any more with PATA going away.

    I have the pf book but I'm still not getting the full picture here. I have read up some on NanoBSD and understand the idea with that; I assume all embedded (late revision) pfSense uses NanoBSD.


  • Netgate Administrator

    You can use the nanobsd_vga images to avoid having to use a serial console.

    Steve



  • @Paul47:

    Not sure why people use CF cards any more with PATA going away.

    1. Not everyone runs pfSense on a "new" system.
    2. Documentation doesn't often reflect "developing" trends.
    3. It is still possible to purchase SLC (Single Level Cell; one bit per memory cell) CF cards. These are quoted as having many more write cycles than the MLC (Multi Level Cell; multiple bits per memory cell) flash typically used in consumer grade CF cards and USB sticks.



  • Ah, I ran into this page again where much is explained:
    http://www.pfsense.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=43&Itemid=44

    I see there are different sizes of the embedded version, and understand this is for different size CF cards, but have not been able to find out what is different between these different sizes. Are the applications left off the smaller ones, or something like that?

    Still wondering if I can install an embedded version on a USB stick. I'm guessing the memstick installer does not minimize or eliminate writes at all, as the embedded version does. I will give it a try.



  • I see there are different sizes of the embedded version, and understand this is for different size CF cards, but have not been able to find out what is different between these different sizes. Are the applications left off the smaller ones, or something like that?

    All the nanoBSD CF card builds have the same content - you just get more free space in the partitions on the bigger ones. There is no problem putting a 2GB nanoBSD build onto a 4GB CF card, for example. I suppose that in theory if you want to install every package known to mankind, then the extra free space to install more programs is useful. But in practice the smaller CF card images still have plenty of space.
    These installs run with the CF card file systems mounted read-only - the space is not needed or used for tmp, var, log files.



  • Thanks for clearing that up.

    Well I tried the i386 embedded image (2.0.2) on a flash drive and got a bunch of "g_vfs_done" errors, so I guess that doesn't work. strangely I could still get through the dialog where it asks about the ethernet devices, while it was cranking out these errors. But finally it choked.

    Still wondering if this is a kosher thing, putting a CF image on a flash drive (to prevent most writes and make it last longer).


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