Would it be possible to format the currently unpartitioned part to OBFS, and then copy the contents of a nightly image to it from either XP or Linux
You probably need the BeFS driver for Linux, mkbfs and makebootable from Haiku, and some coding skills to make them work. There are people building Haiku on Linux, but I don’t know how much else you can do from Linux. You could ask on the primary mailinglist: openbeos at freelists.org
XP is not very likely.
Try making a Haiku CD instead. It should be possible now. Haven’t tried it myself though. I’m not sure whether Haiku’s DriveSetup is complete yet, so you might have to use the shell to run mkbfs and makebootable and copy the files over to a real harddisk partition. Either in Tracker or using “copyattr --data --recursive”.
Finally, there's the issue of making Haiku boot from GRUB, and or making all three boot from Bootman. I prefer Bootman over GRUB, but as I only see it for a few seconds, I'm kind of indifferent as to what is used. I'm not an expert with bootmanagers at all, so some wise words from folk who do would be appreciated.
There are a couple of ways to do it. The PC disk partitioning scheme is very simple. Disks starts with a master boot record (MBR) followed by the partition table, with four slots, and the rest of the disk is available to these four partitions. (Which can be subdivided further, "extended", to have more partitions. A common thing in dual-boot installations that include Windows and Linux, as Linux usually needs, or needed, at least two partitions. The second one for virtual memory swap space.)
Each partition too starts with a boot record. The boot records of the disk and of the partitions are tiny. There’s not a whole lot of space for an elaborate boot manager in them, which is why many boot managers use a partition, or share it with some operating system. Grub often shares a partition with Linux, using a folder to store it’s menu settings and modules for filesystems that don’t fit inside Grub itself.
Either of Grub and Bootman can live in the MBR at the start of the disk. Grub can also live in a partition’s boot record. The one place where Grub can’t live, is at the beginning of your BFS partition. Grub doesn’t know BFS, AFAIK. It doesn’t know how to find “zbeos”, and it can’t store its extras on a BFS partition. Neither of Grub and Bootman can boot BeOS/Haiku directly. They rely on the existance of BeOS-native bootcode embedded in the boot record of the BFS partition. It’s put there by the utility called ‘makebootable’. (I suspect DriveSetup adds this bootcode to partitions it formats, but I’m not sure. In the shell you have to do it manually.)
So, you can have either Grub in the MBR, and in Grub terminology “chainload” the BFS partition, or you have Bootman in the MBR and Grub in some partition’s boot record. (Your Linux partition, most likely.) I think it’ll work fine either way.
You might want to check out the documentation on how to install Syllable. It covers chainloading BeOS. Haiku should be no different. Note however that Grub and Linux numbers the devices differently from BeOS, IIRC.
BTW, anyone, feel free to correct me if there’s anything I got wrong here.