Hi--

On Nov 13, 2009, at 3:54 PM, David Allen wrote:
I'd consider adding something to /etc/rc.d/mountcritlocal (which
normally mounts the local filesystems) to setup a RAMdisk on /var and
then do "rsync -a /var_template /var" (or use a dump/restore or tar
pipeline).

At the risk of sounding obtuse while asking for more help, I can work
out the rsync or dump part, but the rest I don't  get. The
mountcritremote essentially just does a mount -a -t ..., yes?  To
insert a few mdmfs commands followed by rsync commands, for example,
would require re-writing most the script.  Is there  a better place to
this?

Quite possibly. I used NetBSD for a flash-based Soerkris boxes a while back, rather than NanoBSD. It looks like reading /etc/ rc.initdiskless might be informative.

The reason I ask is that some time ago I had a look at nanobsd which
is designed to run on RO flash media.  The /var and /tmp directories
are created as memory devices that supposedly get re-populated from a
/cfg directory at boot.

Right...

The /usr/src/tools/tools/nanobsd/nanobsd.sh setup script has a
function named setup_nanobsd_etc.  Essentially, it writes out an
/etc/fstab file and does a 'touch /etc/diskless'.  Unless there's
magic that happens behind the scenes with that /etc/diskless file, I
don't see how anything gets re-populated.

The existence of /etc/diskless means /etc/rc runs /etc/rc.initdiskless:

% grep diskless /etc/rc
dlv=`/sbin/sysctl -n vfs.nfs.diskless_valid 2> /dev/null`
if [ ${dlv:=0} -ne 0 -o -f /etc/diskless ]; then
        sh /etc/rc.initdiskless
# Run these after determining whether we are booting diskless in order
# to minimize the number of files that are needed on a diskless system,

Regards,
--
-Chuck

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