Installing BSD 2.9 on a DEC Pro-350, Part II – Choosing a distribution

Before I explain the rest of the installation process, I need to explain the haphazard order of the images as distributed in the box#0, box#1 and box#2 directories. The notes on this subject are vague, and to determine the differences myself, I had to perform many installations and comparisons against those installations to figure out exactly what is in each image. Here’s what I discovered.

Maintenance Disks

There are 3 maintenance images – box#0/maintenance0.img, box#0/maintenance1.img, box#2/maintenance2.img. By performing an install with these 3 different images (but keeping the root and user images the same) and capturing the output of “ls -lR /”, I have concluded that all 3 images are identical. If for no other reason than simplicity and consistency, use maintenance0.img for all installs.

Root Disks

In box#0, there are 6 root images – root0.img through root5.img, and in box#2, there are 5 root images – root1.img through root5.img. Again, by installing both of these, I have determined what is different.

The 5 image root set has three files that don’t exist in the 6 image root set:


The 6 image root set has 12 files that don’t exist in the 5 image root set:


Finally, these files are found in /etc in the 5 image root set, but /lib in the 6 image root set:


Based on this, I would recommend installing the 5 image root set, as /bin/passwd is essential and /bin/ed will be very useful.

Usr Disks

This one is easy. There are 16 usr images named usr+k??.img between box#1 and box#2, and 3 images named usr?.img in box#2. The difference between these two is explained in the notes – the usr+k??.img images contain the kernel and networking sources. I have verified this by installing both of them. The usr_k??.img images create a /usr/net directory with sources in it, whereas the usr?.img images do not.

Based on the above, if you do not wish to compile the kernel and/or have a limited number of 5.25″ floppy disks, I recommend installing the 3 image usr set. If you have plenty of 5.25″ floppy disks lying around and need to compile the kernel, use the 16 disk set. Note that if you start with the 3 disk set, you can always restore the 16 disk set later (at the price of overwriting the contents of /usr).

So to sum it up, here is what I recommend installing:


That accounts for all the disks, except box#2/unknown.img. The notes say this is supposed to contain the PRO/COMM terminal emulation software, but I’ve tried twice to create this disk and both times all that was there was a lost+found directory.

Now onto Part III – the actual installation.

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