[talk] some notes on flashrd

George Rosamond george at ceetonetechnology.com
Tue Apr 21 21:53:49 EDT 2015

flashrd (www.nmedia.net/flashrd) has been around a long long time.  It
is a light weight build system for embedded OpenBSD for flash media. It
was created and is maintained by Chris Cappuccio, among others.

The current image at images/20150320 doesn't boot due to PIE settings,
but I can provide an image if anyone's interested until it's resolved. I
also have a build script that isn't quite elegant shell (yet), but it
does simplify configuring a build. Importantly, the build machine must
match the platform, so to build i386, you need an i386 box, unless
you're using a virtualized build system.

Lots of funky features, such as switching between read-only and
read-write modes, the use of vnodes, etc.

I started hacking on it last week.  There's a certain simplicity that is
nice.  I imagine that if FreeBSD's Crochet was limited to one board, the
two build systems would have a lot in common.

My build is only using bsd*.tgz and etc*.tgz files.  Adding a swap file
is vital to do anything interesting with a Soekris of course.

What's truly impressive is that I pulled out two ancient Soekris 4801s
with that potent 266mhz CPU and 128M of RAM, and it works fine.

Remote upgrades and fallback to the previous configuration if any
problems is simple and straight-forward.

There are regular DMA errors when booting off old CF cards.  I'm having
an issues forcing PIO mode and disabling DMA, as the changes to the
kernel don't seem to stick from UKC.  Any input appreciated.

boot> boot -c

wd* flags changed to 0x0ffc and 0x0ff0, but neither sticks after a reboot.

Anyways, worth checking out as a solution for small systems.


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