Reinstalling SunOS 4.1.4 without CD drive

Eric Christopherson echristopherson at
Fri Oct 2 09:01:03 CDT 2015

A very generous list member just gave me a SPARCStation 20 with SunOS
4.1.4 on it. I thought the first thing I would do would be to image
its hard drive in my Linux PC, in case I ever wanted to start fresh.

I assume that if I make a bitwise copy of it, I can later write those
same bits out. But now I'm wondering what would happen if the disk
developed marked bad sectors; would that make an exact image
impossible to write onto it?

I have a disc image of that release, but unfortunately no SCSI CD-ROM.
It occurs to me that I could perhaps make a SunOS filesystem on Linux
and untar things from either the install CD or the image of the
original HD into it, but I don't know if that would produce something
actually bootable. I'm hoping there would be some way within Linux to
capture the actual format of the filesystem to use as a skeleton.

Does anyone know if this is possible (viz. creating a valid, bootable
filesystem and untarring files into it)? Or should I just invest in a
CD-ROM drive?

        Eric Christopherson

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