Summary: Creation of a boot, custom install tape?

From: Paul Evan Matz (bmskc!moe!paul@uunet.UU.NET)
Date: Sat Nov 09 1991 - 04:35:38 CST

Original Posting:
> Since future versions of SunOS will only be available on CD, we have
> been wondering how will do OS upgrades for our customers who have
> systems (SparcStation 2 s) that are standalone, with only a 150M 1/4"
> tape drive and NO CD drive. Some related questions:

> Is 4.1.1b really the last version available on tape?

> Will there be a utility for creating a boot tape on versions 4.1.2 and
> later (SVR4...)?

> If not, is there enough documentation to: figure out where the miniroot
> is on the CD, a way to load it into a spare file system, mount it for
> customization, write it back onto a tape, and then once on a tape, a
> way to copy it from tape into the swap partition for booting?

The portion of the responses were, "quit complaining, and buy a CD drive".
One guy suggested I start a "service" organization myself to do the upgrades.
Many seemed to think it was worth the price, although there was a
wide range of costs given, from $300 - $600 (my price list shows $995).

There was a significant response from other co-OEMs, saying, "yea, we're
stuck in the same boat; We've been screaming at Sun about it, but...".
The consensus was that, so far anyway, Sun has done everything it can
to make OEM's lives difficult in this regard. Only one person suggested
there might be a way to do what I proposed, and that was only concerning
4.1.1b; 4.1.2 and after is still a big question mark. These people agreed
that, perhaps if enough people ASK Sun to provide a little bitty script
for making a configurable boot tape, they might do it. There seems to be
no standard tools for creating boot tapes, and no plans for providing them.
Anybody out there at Sun have any comment?

What people fail to understand about all of this is that, it is not only
a matter of cost for drives (with a world service organization of, say,
100 people, that's a cool $30-50K), but it is also a matter of not
wanting our installations to be done manually in the field. I can just
imagine the telephone support calls when the field guy accidentally
installs ALL of SunOS; "What does 'File system full' mean?". What we
really want to do is provide an entirely automatic install, with no
questions asked. Stick in the tape (or hook up the external device),
and enter an explicit boot command for the alternate boot device; the
rc scripts will do the rest.

These days, a small SCSI magnetic disk is about as cheap as a CD drive.
At least we can configure it to do what we need. Sure would be nice if
we could send our field guys a $20 tape instead of a $X00 disk subsystem,

Thanks for the responses goes to:!daryl

| Paul E. Matz, Principal Engineer, PPG Biomedial Systems |
| RR 2, Box 55, 26 Lewis Road, Pound Ridge, NY, 10576 |
| Phone: 914-234-0745, or 914-234-0661 |
| (in KS:) |
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