I think I am close to getting GELI to boot from CD. 
Here's what I've done.

#Followed instructions per these threads [1].  This
#included creating a file backed memory disk to allow
#GELI to mount the root filesystem with a keyfile on
the #CD.

#You'll see from my previous post, and that of others,
#that many were having trouble booting from USB sticks
#even from modern BIOSes[2].  No one has been able to
#identify the problem to date. In the meantime booting
#from CD is supposed to be a far more reliable.

#I followed the instructions for mkisofs from [1]b,
and #burned to cd-r like this:

burncd -f /dev/acd0 data grubboot.iso /iso

#This works great! until the dreaded loader takes
#you'll recall loader hanging and not being able to
#read the kernel from the USB pendrive was a previous
#issue.  Here is the current output from loader while
#booting the CD:

BTXloader 1.00  BTX version is 1.01
Consoles: internal video/keyboard
BIOS drive C: is disk0
BIOS 631kB/980480kB available memory

FreeBSD/i386 bootstrap loader, Revision 1.1
([EMAIL PROTECTED], Sun May 9 02:19:03 UTC 2006)
Can't work out which disk we are booting from.
Guessed BIOS device 0x9f not found by probes,
defaulting to disk0:

can't load 'kernel'

Type '?' for a list of commands, 'help' for more
detailed help.

# if I 'lsdev' I get the following output.

cd devices:
disk devices:
disk0: BIOS drive C:
  disk0s2: FFS bad disklabel

#disk 0 is an unencrypted FBSD6.1 install.  Disk0s2 is
#the GELI install.  I assume there is a problem
reading #the cd device because there is no output? 
This was #the same problem when booting from usb;
whichever disk
#was the usb would have no output in the same way.  

#I want to mention that if I boot from the FBSD
install #disk and and escape to the loader prompt and
lsdev, I #get:

cd devices: Device 0x1

#Also while booting the BTX screen says:

BIOS CD is cd0

#You might comment on why I'm using grub instead of
#cdboot? the main reason is I want to take advantage
of #menu.lst to choose between OSes when booting from
the #CD.  I'll also try all of this with /boot/cdboot
to #see if I can just get it to work.  In the mean
time, #ideas?  



[2] a. 

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