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NANOBSD(8)              FreeBSD System Manager's Manual             NANOBSD(8)

NAME -- utility used to create a FreeBSD system image suitable for
     embedded applications

SYNOPSIS [-bhkw] [-c config-file]

     The utility is a script which produces a minimal implementa-
     tion of FreeBSD (called NanoBSD), which typically fits on a small media
     such as a Compact Flash card, or other mass storage medium.  It can be
     used to build specialized install images, designed for easy installation
     and maintenance.

     The following options are available:

           -b              Skip the build stages (both for kernel and world).

           -c config-file  Specify the configuration file to use.

           -h              Display usage information.

           -k              Skip the buildkernel stage of the build.

           -w              Skip the buildworld stage of the build.

     The features of NanoBSD include:

           o   Ports and packages work as in FreeBSD.  Every single applica-
               tion can be installed and used in a NanoBSD image, the same way
               as in FreeBSD.
           o   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.
           o   Everything is read-only at run-time.  It is safe to pull the
               power-plug.  There is no necessity to run fsck(8) after a non-
               graceful shutdown of the system.
           o   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

   NanoBSD Media Layout
     The mass storage medium is divided into three parts by default (which are
     normally mounted read-only):

           o   Two image partitions: code#1 and code#2.
           o   The configuration file partition, which can be mounted under
               the /cfg directory at run time.

     The /etc and /var directories are md(4) (malloc backed) disks.

     The configuration file partition persists under the /cfg directory.  It
     contains files for /etc directory and is briefly mounted read-only right
     after the system boot, therefore it is required to copy modified files
     from /etc back to the /cfg directory if changes are expected to persist
     after the system restarts.

     A NanoBSD image is built using a simple shell script, which
     can be found in the src/tools/tools/nanobsd directory.  This script cre-
     ates a bootable image, which can be copied on the storage medium using
     the dd(1) utility.

     The necessary commands to build and install a NanoBSD image are:

           cd /usr/src/tools/tools/nanobsd
           cd /usr/obj/nanobsd.full
           dd if=_.disk.full of=/dev/da0 bs=64k

     This is probably the most important and most interesting feature of
     NanoBSD.  This is also where you will be spending most of the time when
     developing with NanoBSD.

     Customization is done in two ways:

           o   Configuration options.
           o   Custom functions.

     With configuration settings, it is possible to configure options passed
     to both the buildworld and installworld stages of the NanoBSD build
     process, as well as internal options passed to the main build process of
     NanoBSD.  Through these options it is possible to cut the system down, so
     it will fit on as little as 64MB.  You can use the configuration options
     to trim down the system even more, until it will consist of just the ker-
     nel and two or three files in the userland.

     The configuration file consists of configuration options, which override
     the default values.  The most important directives are:

           NANO_NAME     Build name (used to construct the working directory

           NANO_SRC      Path to the source tree used to build the image.

           NANO_KERNEL   Name of the kernel configuration file used to build
                         the kernel.

           CONF_BUILD    Options passed to the buildworld stage of the build.

           CONF_INSTALL  Options passed to the installworld stage of the

           CONF_WORLD    Options passed to both the buildworld and
                         installworld stages of the build.

           FlashDevice   Defines the type of media to use.  Check the
                         FlashDevice.sub file for more details.

     For more configuration options, please check the script.

     To build NanoBSD image using the nanobsd.conf configuration file, use the
     following command:

           sh -c nanobsd.conf

     It is possible to fine-tune NanoBSD using shell functions in the configu-
     ration file.  The following example illustrates the basic model of custom

           cust_foo () (
                   echo "bar=topless" > \
           customize_cmd cust_foo

     There are a few pre-defined customization functions ready for use:

           cust_comconsole      Disables getty(8) on the virtual syscons(4)
                                terminals (/dev/ttyv*) and enables the use of
                                the first serial port as the system console.

           cust_allow_ssh_root  Allow root to log in via sshd(8).

           cust_install_files   Installs files from the nanobsd/Files direc-
                                tory, which contains some useful scripts for
                                system administration.

     src/tools/tools/nanobsd  base directory of the NanoBSD build script.

     Making persistent changes to /etc/resolv.conf:

           vi /etc/resolv.conf
           mount /cfg
           cp /etc/resolv.conf /cfg
           umount /cfg

     A more useful example of a customization function is the following, which
     changes the default size of the /etc directory from 5MB to 30MB:

           cust_etc_size () (
                   cd ${NANO_WORLDDIR}/conf
                   echo 30000 > default/etc/md_size
           customize_cmd cust_etc_size

     make.conf(5), picobsd(8)

     The utility first appeared in FreeBSD 6.0.

     NanoBSD was developed by Poul-Henning Kamp <>.  This man-
     ual page was written by Daniel Gerzo <>.

FreeBSD 6.2                     August 28, 2006                    FreeBSD 6.2


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