Install OpenBSD 6.0 on a Soekris net6501


Recently I bought a Soekris net6501 to build a home network in my new house.
Things you need before you start:

  • USB / mSSD drive to install OpenBSD on
  • USB drive to boot from
  • Serial cable for the initial installation

First go to a mirror and download the amd64 OpenBSD install image, which ends on the .fs extension. The one for OpenBSD 6.0 is called ‘install60.fs’.

The installation procedure will use an USB stick to boot the installation process.
The USB stick itself was created on a Linux Desktop system, using dd. There are many ways to get the install image on an USB stick. Google if you are not using a Linux desktop.

I downloaded the install image to my ‘Downloads’ folder, and the USB stick was on /dev/sdb

dd if=./Downloads/install60.fs of=/dev/sdb bs=1024k

Once the USB stick/ disk is ready, insert it in your Soekris net6501.

Now prepare your terminal console. I’ve used Minicom for this purpose, but any kind of terminal emulation program can be used.

Execute the following on the command line:

minicom -D /dev/ttyUSB0 -b 19200 # no software or hardware flow control

Important to note is:
– The baudrate must be set to 19200 baud
– You must disable software and/ or hardware flow control

Once connected with the serial console cable, plug in the power cable to your Soekris so that it can be boot up.

At the boot prompt, configure the installation image to send its output to the serial console.

Using drive 1, partition 3.
probing: pc0 com0 pci mem[620K 1022M a20=on]
disk: hd0+* hd1+ hd2*
>> OpenBSD/i386 BOOT 3.29
boot> stty com0 19200
boot> set tty com0
switching console to com0
>> OpenBSD/i386 BOOT 3.29
boot> bsd 

There are two commands that must be executed at the boot prompt:
stty com0 19200
set tty com0

After the serial console options have been set, boot the kernel by typing bsd and hiting ENTER

The first steps are to configure the network interfaces.
Please also make sure you have enabled sshd, so that after the installation you can access the firewall without using the serial console cable.

The rest of the installation won’t be covered here.

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