Well, darn. After black struggle, I have to admit defeat and time wasted on the mirrored 9500 project. Just after I posted last, even the limited success I was experiencing with the Jaz drive halted; and sadly, I must judge that a sufficient investment of time has been expended in my efforts to develop a sub-1gb bootable OS X image.

I’ll revisit matters at some indeterminate future point.

I should note that the developer of BootCD has generously corresponded in response to my questions. I have found that his CDs, when burned exactly as he recommends (using Disck Copy from an unmounted disk image) produces a bootable CD. What appears to be required, then, is a bit-based copy utility for OS X.

The alternate path is to carefully delete files from the “System” folder of a duplicated and verified bootable OS X volume. After trial and error, I was able to boot some very considerably slimmed volumes. Alas, in no case was I able to successfully get the boot process to move past the stage of startup which leads to the appearance of Aqua.

I found that the removal of any single item from /System/Library, such as the “Printers” folder, horked the process; so I assume that there’s some sort of manifest that the boot process is checking against and hangs on failure.

But five solid days is far too long to waste on such trivialities.