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Introduction (next68k-specific), Diskless NetBSD HOW-TO

NeXT Firmware procedures

Which NeXT machines can netboot

All NeXT workstations can boot over their network interface. A network boot-strap procedure can be started by entering the appropriate ROM monitor command.

Obtaining an IP address and downloading the boot loader

NeXT workstations first try to acquire an IP address using the Internet Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP) or the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) in BOOTP-compatible mode. When using BOOTP, the bootpd server uses the ethernet address of the machine to determine its IP address and a bootloader filename. If the BOOTP request is successful, the firmware in the NeXT expects to be able to download a second-stage boot program via the TFTP protocol. It will do this by setting up a TFTP connection to the server that answered the earlier BOOTP request, and asking for the file returned by the BOOTP request. The second-stage boot program then loads the kernel using NFS.

You can find the second-stage boot program in installation/boot in the NetBSD/next68k distribution. This boot program will then load the netbsd kernel.

Firmware commands

To get to the ROM Monitor prompt, press the command and the backquote key on the keypad (`) after the system has completed the power on self test and before it starts to boot an operating system.

The firmware command to load over the network is ben. Use the following syntax to boot NetBSD:

Other arguments can be passed to the boot loader by specifying them on the end of the command line.

To make booting over the network the default, use the p command. At the first prompt, enter `en()netbsd' as the boot command. It is also useful to answer yes to "verbose test mode", so that the monitor displays the boot progress. For example:

boot command: sd()? en()netbsd
DRAM tests:  yes? yes
perform power-on system test:  yes? yes
        sound out tests:  yes? yes
        SCSI tests:  yes? yes
        loop until keypress:  no?  no
        verbose test mode:  no?  yes
boot extended diagnostics:  no?  no
serial port A is alternate console:  no?  yes
allow any ROM command even if password protected:  no?  no
allow boot from any device even if password protected:  no?  no
allow optical drive #0 eject even if password protected:  yes?  yes
enable parity checking if parity memory is present:  no?  no

BOOTP notes

NeXT machines can use BOOTP or DHCP to determine their IP address and other boot information. When using BOOTP, be sure to set the vendor magic field in the bootpd server's /etc/bootptab to auto, or else the NeXT will ignore the BOOTP response from the server. The equivalent DHCPD field is to set always-reply-rfc1048 false;.

Begin setting things up (suggested order):

  1. bootpd or dhcpd
  2. tftpd
  3. nfs
  4. client filesystem
  5. finishing up

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