FreeBSD and Amiga filesystems, formatting HDs, moving filesystem

David Marsh dm at
Sun Nov 5 14:35:22 GMT 2000


A long (and possibly confusing) subject, but describing things that are

I've finally got around to adding the hard disk from my old Amiga (2.5GB
3.5" IDE) to my FreeBSD box and was wondering if there is any way I can
mount it and be able to read the Amiga filesystem on the disk under
FreeBSD, so that I can salvage any useful files from it.

(I rather suspect that there isn't much useful on there, since this HD was
a replacement for an earlier one which died, and the shop took so long in
getting the replacement, that by then, I had already thought "Hmm, time to
just get a cheap PC.." and had started to build up my FreeBSD box! 
So there's probably only about a couple of week's mail on there while I was
configuring my FreeBSD box for the internet.. it's about 3 years'
old mail, at that.. ;-/ )

Failing that (or even succeeding in that, but once I've got any useful data
off the disk), I want to reformat the hard disk to use as a new /var
partition (this will enable me to have an enormous spool for use with the
wwwoffle web-cache <yippee!> ;-D)

I presume that the easiest way to do this is to use sysinstall.
Should I be aware of any particular issues here?
I've read about 'dangerously dedicated' mode; should I format the disk to
be compatible with other OSes anyway, just in case?
Is there any point in putting a small MS-DOS partition on the disk 'just

(FreeBSD does recognise that the disk does exist at present, which is
hopefully at least a step in the right direction [1]. dmesg reports:
wdc1: unit 1 (wd3): <FUJITSU MPA3026ATU>
wd3: 2503MB (5126688 sectors), 5086 cyls, 16 heads, 63 S/T, 512 B/S     )

[1] I remember all the disk geometry hassles I had when doing my first
install, <shudder>  :-(

Once I've formatted the disk (assuming I can 'just do it' with sysinstall),
obviously I want to make it the new /var partition.

Do I just need to add an appropriate entry to /etc/fstab, ie

/dev/wd3s??             /var            ufs     rw              2       2

The value of ?? presumably will be set by sysinstall.
If I guess wd3s1e, would I be right?
(I /think/ I'm starting to get the hang of slice names now..)

Obviously I need to remove the corresponding entry for my existing /var
partition on my existing HD. I presume I should then copy the contents of
the 'old' /var over to the 'new' /var before I reboot.

(uh-oh, cop-out. Can I get the system to notice the 'new' /var without
having to reboot? Does the system refer to /etc/fstab constantly or only at
boot time)

If that all goes to plan, is there any way I can 'reclaim' the space used
by the old /var partition, and assimilate it into my /usr partition
(without trashing /usr, obviously!)

And a final (non-FreeBSD) question: part of the reason I delayed installing
this hard disk for so long was because my computer case only has space for
2HDs (both of which are in use). I do have a spare 5 1/4 bay, however.
Right now the hard disk is just resting on the bottom of the computer case,
this is obviously not ideal!

Is it possible to get an adapter for the 5 1/4 bay (or even an extra bracket
to sling under the existing HD cradles - although this would put additional
HD bays a little bit _too_ close to the CPU fan!), or is the only sensible
solution just to buy a larger tower case?!

Thanks for any advice,


David Marsh,drmarsh at |          |
Glasgow, Scotland.              | If urgent, phone: +44 77-121-848-90 |
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