Install on CF card… WHY SO HARD



  • Ok I'm not ranting about the actual image process… well besides that it's not possible on Windows Vista... but...

    I have pfSense running since Feb on a Dell Optiplex 170L desktop PC since February 2008. It has onboard Intel Pro 100/VE Lan and PCI card 3Com 3C905B-TX. No issues, compared to running DD-WRT on a Linksys WRT54GL router it's great and I've never needed to reboot (the Linksys I demoted just to a "dumb" AP and I still need to reboot that every 1-2 weeks). The only thing is it keeps the 160gb SATA drive running 24/7... what a waste for something thats < 1gb.

    So I bought a CF-to-IDE adapter. I followed the instructions on the wiki and got everything working fine, except that the embedded image does not have a driver for the 3Com card.

    No issue, just install onto the CF card and do the "unsupported" hack of changing the platform to "embedded" later. No. that does not work. The CF is detected in the BIOS as it should, can boot from it fine as "IDE hard drive" BUT when I boot from the pfSense livecd (latest one downloaded today just at 3am) everything works until the point I select option 99, it says there is no harddrive in the system!!!

    So anyone have a solution for this?

    Or even better why isn't there a full CF image with all the LAN drivers? Yes I understand the intent of the image to be for specialized embedded systems but why not encourage "green computing?"



  • And yes I did try to disable DMA because I hear some cards or adpaters have issues. It took 25 minutes to boot the livecd and did not aid in the CF IDE detection.



  • Follow this unsupported instruction. Worked for me:

    http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,6840.0.html



  • @joako:

    Ok I'm not ranting about the actual image process… well besides that it's not possible on Windows Vista... but...

    It's possible on Vista?  I write embedded to CF on Vista all the time.

    @joako:

    So I bought a CF-to-IDE adapter. I followed the instructions on the wiki and got everything working fine, except that the embedded image does not have a driver for the 3Com card.

    The embedded kernel has exactly the same drivers as every other kernel. The only difference that comes to mind is some hardware doesn't work with uniprocessor kernels. If you select the SMP kernel during install and do the same embedded platform hack, it might work.



  • You could try booting from USB pen http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,9845.0.html cheep method. Easy to try new versions and you don't need to take the lid off to swap the boot device. Just a thought!



  • @cmb:

    @joako:

    Ok I'm not ranting about the actual image process… well besides that it's not possible on Windows Vista... but...

    It's possible on Vista?  I write embedded to CF on Vista all the time.

    When I tried on Vista it failed at the very beginning of the process. It then damaged the CF card even Vista disk management would see the 1GB CF card as "24MB" and Vista disk management did not let me re-format. I had to take the card and put it in a machine running Windows XP… but ok.

    @cmb:

    @joako:

    So I bought a CF-to-IDE adapter. I followed the instructions on the wiki and got everything working fine, except that the embedded image does not have a driver for the 3Com card.

    The embedded kernel has exactly the same drivers as every other kernel. The only difference that comes to mind is some hardware doesn't work with uniprocessor kernels. If you select the SMP kernel during install and do the same embedded platform hack, it might work.

    And can you tell me how this applies to a Pentium IV 2.4ghz that is NOT multi-threaded? What you are saying is if I had 1.2 pfSense installed on a hard drive via the livecd ISO running with 2 network cards and I switched to using the same exact hardware on the embedded image everything (except add-on packages) will work including the LAN card?

    What I am saying is I had a Dell Optiplex 170L desktop PC with the onboard Intel LAN and a 3Com 3C905B-TX PCI card with 1.2 pfSense installed on a 160gb Hitachi SATA hard drive (replaced from the original Maxtor drive that shipped with the system from Dell) I then used the "embedded" image and followed the procedure on your site on how to setup the image. It would boot fine from the CF card up until the point it was asking to setup the network interfaces –- the list of interfaces detected was blank.... Do you have then an alternate explanation for this behaviour?

    Regards,

    Andrew



  • @cheesyboofs:

    You could try booting from USB pen http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,9845.0.html cheep method. Easy to try new versions and you don't need to take the lid off to swap the boot device. Just a thought!

    But in that case I would be using the same exact image as for "embedded" CF card? How would that change the fact that that image does not appear to have any common LAN drivers?



  • @joako:

    When I tried on Vista it failed at the very beginning of the process. It then damaged the CF card even Vista disk management would see the 1GB CF card as "24MB" and Vista disk management did not let me re-format. I had to take the card and put it in a machine running Windows XP… but ok.

    heh  it didn't "damage" anything, Windows can't read FreeBSD's file system.

    @joako:

    And can you tell me how this applies to a Pentium IV 2.4ghz that is NOT multi-threaded? What you are saying is if I had 1.2 pfSense installed on a hard drive via the livecd ISO running with 2 network cards and I switched to using the same exact hardware on the embedded image everything (except add-on packages) will work including the LAN card?

    Yes, it will most likely work. I don't have time to explain why.

    @joako:

    But in that case I would be using the same exact image as for "embedded" CF card? How would that change the fact that that image does not appear to have any common LAN drivers?

    For the second time, the embedded kernel has exactly the same network drivers as every other kernel.



  • @cmb:

    @joako:

    When I tried on Vista it failed at the very beginning of the process. It then damaged the CF card even Vista disk management would see the 1GB CF card as "24MB" and Vista disk management did not let me re-format. I had to take the card and put it in a machine running Windows XP… but ok.

    heh  it didn't "damage" anything, Windows can't read FreeBSD's file system.

    Not in the sense that it can never be used again but Windows Vista said the ENTIRE CARD was only 24mb when infact it was not. Windows Vista would not format it again to the 1GB size in any way. Disk Management showed a single 24m disk with a single 24m partition and 0 free (unpartitioned space) yes of course Windows could not read the CONTENTS of the partition, I never expected it to.

    @joako:

    And can you tell me how this applies to a Pentium IV 2.4ghz that is NOT multi-threaded? What you are saying is if I had 1.2 pfSense installed on a hard drive via the livecd ISO running with 2 network cards and I switched to using the same exact hardware on the embedded image everything (except add-on packages) will work including the LAN card?

    Yes, it will most likely work. I don't have time to explain why.

    Most likely in theory you think it MIGHT work, but in the world of reality it just did not work.

    @joako:

    But in that case I would be using the same exact image as for "embedded" CF card? How would that change the fact that that image does not appear to have any common LAN drivers?

    For the second time, the embedded kernel has exactly the same network drivers as every other kernel.

    Well they might be there, I don't know I didn't fully check. But they are certainly not loading and certainly the same exact network cards that work when the system is isntalled on a hard drive or when booted from the live cd DO NOT WORK AND ARE NOT DETECTED.



  • @joako:

    Not in the sense that it can never be used again but Windows Vista said the ENTIRE CARD was only 24mb when infact it was not. Windows Vista would not format it again to the 1GB size in any way. Disk Management showed a single 24m disk with a single 24m partition and 0 free (unpartitioned space) yes of course Windows could not read the CONTENTS of the partition, I never expected it to.

    What does that tell us?
    Dont use windows to partition anything.
    http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ has a number of partitioning tools on it with which you should be able to repartition the card so you can use it for something else.

    @joako:

    Well they might be there, I don't know I didn't fully check. But they are certainly not loading and certainly the same exact network cards that work when the system is isntalled on a hard drive or when booted from the live cd DO NOT WORK AND ARE NOT DETECTED.

    How did you check that they are not detected?
    Can you post a dmesg of this system?
    If you post the dmesg of the livecd and a dmesg of the embedded install we could see if there actually is a difference (which i dont believe).



  • Hi.
    I've uploaded both 1.2.1-latest and 1.3-latest onto my old LV-673 with Pentium-M. As far as I have done for both CF/HDD installations for both releases, only the differences are that I don't use CF-IDE things, and my CF is only $7 512M bytes crap, other than that I don't see any differences between embedded and full(?) images, both detect on-board stinky Marvell NIC just fine everytime, whatever kernel is installed. I wrote embedded to CF on Vista.

    cheers,


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