Whistling FreeBSD 7

Hehe, as a friend requested a screen shot of when I got FreeBSD 7 up:

[click to enlarge]
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Well actually it is about an hour and a half to two hours after but I dunno how to take a screen shot of FreeBSDs system console without image magic, then again I could’ve always used the camera… But no one wants to stare at the command prompt but me <_<.

FreeBSD 7.0 booted incredibly fast for my exptation, even off the install CD I think it out paced PC-BSD 1.4 (which uses FreeBSD 6.3-stuff). As always I set a few of the install options before hand, low output while installing packages, debugging console on etc. Normally when I setup a FreeBSD box I do a custom installation and exact maximum control over what goes in. For this, I just chose to use the canned X-Kern-Developer installation set which is essentially FreeBSD + Kernel Sources + Xorg which is what I wanted, I’m not expecting to need any sources other then the kernels.

For the optional packages I picked out a bare minimal to get me started, zsh for my user account -> I can use any of the standard shells easy enough but I ‘like’ the zsh hehe. Also portupgrade to ease any installation issues and a desktop environment, I chose to go the gnome2 meta-route.

The install went very fast as usual and the whole time was basically spent installing X and associated crap. It did however bomb out on LibIDL not being found on disk 2 fragging the gnome install so it would seem and barfing at the ruby package on the disk set. I think this is rather /strange/ for having downloaded all 3 ISO’s to avoid things like that… But hey, I don’t mind. Usually when I install FreeBSD I only take off the CD-ROM’s what I’ll need to get the machine connected to the internet, usually nothing as far as whats in ports goes.

However despite the lack of a desktop and portupgrade utility I booted into an other wise fully functional system. Mounted my existing install on /mnt and merged my network config into the FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE one and copied over the xorg.conf file, volia we have working internet and X.Org ! No need to even load kernel modules, although sound didn’t work because I never added the line to /boot/loader.conf for it: no problem on a test install. Whether or not sysinstall has gained the ability to handle WPA Encryption over the years I didn’t bother because setting up my well supported PCMCIA card is a breeze as long as you can use a text editor.

I then set the gdm_enable variable in /etc/rc.conf then I had to change the site to fetch packages from because ftp.FreeBSD.org was still shouting about to many connected users so I set PACKAGEROOT to ftp://ftp13.us.FreeBSD.org/ in roots .login file, logged in & out and proceeded to pkg_add portupgrade and gnome2.

That took about an hour !!!! A little toying with pkg_info and wc, and I would say that gnome depends on about 365+ things… Glad I got a working X.Org install off the CD-ROM… It took ****for freaking ever**** to download all of the packages for gnome but one console command and a single line added to the config file and it just /works/ out of the box after a reboot, although of course I already had the xorg.conf file hehe.

I’m a KDE user by taste not a Gnome one but I decided to install Gnome and while I don’t care much for Gnome I am glad to see that aside from the long wait that installing and setting up Gnome on FreeBSD is as painless as it gets thanks to the hard work of those maintaining the port. Now, customizing Gnome to do your evil bidding is some times problematic hehe. I only like two things about Gnome, that it looks nice (usually) and that it gets well the **** out of your way.

If that is worth the horrendous inefficient user interface they have for file open/save dialogs I dunno… But KDE is the best in that regard that I’ve ever seen.

There was just one small problem, since the FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE install was going into a partition previously housing a linux distro I was testing a few months ago, it also took with it the GRUB configuration as was planned. So I had my GAG install CD ready before I started with FreeBSD because I knew I was going to be removing the boot loader I was using for PC-BSD (GRUB).

The problem, 2 OSes setup for booting in GAG but only the first would boot (FreeBSD 7). I even used the install disk to overwrite GAG with BSDs normal boot manager but no luck, it wouldn’t boot ad0s2a ! When ever I chose to boot off the second partition in GAG it would boot off the first, FreeBSDs boot manager would just beep at the second partition.

There is always more then one way to screw with a boot procedure, man I love thinking ^_^. Loaded up my trusty never wanta leave home without it Knoppix Linux LiveCD and used QTParted to unmark ad0s1a (FreeBSD 7) as active and to make extra sure I did the same to ad0s2a (PC-BSD 1.4) and set ad0s2a active again before commiting my changes.

Reboot and reinstall of GAG, PC-BSD boots fine and so does FreeBSD !

I know you’re only supposed to have one partition marked active and GOD and IBM only know what could happen if more then one ended up set active :. I figured that either GAG had to be goofing it up or there was some thing slagged. Sure enough QTParted told me both partitions were marked active..

I ain’t gonna ask how, not even if it is possible, so long as nothing explodes and my laptop works fully I am a happy spider hehe.

In my personal opinion, aside from my booting mixup I think any one able to read & understand English (I’ve never tried installing in another language) could get a working desktop in less then 2 hours if they sought after the suitable level of knowledge to configure there systems internet connection, for most wired users that is a cake walk during the install. And to setup an X.Org config file which is not a very hard task, when the proper values work that is lol.

PC-BSD on the other hand, 30-45 minutes time spent installing (mostly installing the files while you relax) and you have a fully functional KDE Desktop. That’s why I have PC-BSD on my laptop, because other wise I would have to install KDE manually… in which case I would probably skip it and just install amarok and friends 😉

With the increased performance in FreeBSD 7, I can’t wait to see PC-BSD 2.0 when they finally switch over. It should sure as heck boot faster for them then Ubuntu on a first date 😉

One thing I personally find weird, when I do have a problem 90% of the time if it makes sense I can figure out the problem eventually. The other 10% of the time, what makes sense doesn’t work 8=) so the only solution is to ‘fsck with it a bit.

1 thought on “Whistling FreeBSD 7”

  1. Originally posted on my Live Journal:

    subject: Congratulations
    by: (Anonymous) at 2008-03-01 06:07 pm (UTC)
    comment: Good work getting it up and running, try using FBSD 7 to update PC-BSD.
    Have fun. 🙂

    subject: This is a great Article
    by: (Anonymous) at 2008-04-23 11:06 pm (UTC)
    comment: I to have fallen in love with FreeBSD. Although my current rig prefers DesktopBSD to PC-BSD, I forsake them both (in a sadistic manor) to power through clean install FreeBSD. I have been using FreeBSD for about six months on my workstation without issue but I would really love to use full time as my primary desktop. 64 Bit nvidia drivers, native flash and many less than successful attempts at installing E17 have slowed my conversion but I will not give up. Thanks for reminding me of what is truely important; "WORLD DOMINATION"

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