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My FreeeBSD experience


cooper
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So as sort-of promised I started to work on getting FreeBSD going on this Mini-ITX machine.

Hooked up the board to a decent PSU (will become a PicoPSU once the CD/DVD drive isn't needed anymore), attached my 2 SATA drives and the IDE CD/DVD drive. Popped in the 6.2 release disk 1 CD, turned the thing on and selected the default from the boot menu.

Some shit gets loaded and stuff scrolls across the screen in a pace I can't keep up with nor can I stop the screen output and scroll back up (Linux: 1 - FreeBSD: 0).

I enter the boring menu from which I select the standard install. It tells me I will be dropped into fdisk at which point I can press 'A' to just use the default setup that FreeBSD recommends. Nice. I click OK and a prompt comes up telling me that no harddisks are found. Okay, so, FreeBSD's SATA support may still be a little spotty (Linux: 2 - FreeBSD: 0), I go to look for a command prompt.

In the Fixit portion of the menu I find an option listed as "4 Shell - Start an Emergency Holographic Shell". No idea what Holographic is supposed to mean here, but I select it. It says it's started it on terminal 4, so I ALT-F4 to it and am greeted by a root prompt. I start by typing 'ls' and get "ls: not found". Clearly: useless. I exit (which doesn't do anything), jump back to terminal 1 and select option 2 - run the Live CD. I get a warning that "ldconfig could not create the ld.so hints file and thus dynamic executables are likely not to work". They weren't kidding. I type 'ls' and it says it can't find 'libutil.so.5'. I type 'cat .' and it says libc.so.6 cannot be found. Basically, when I entered this mode I was told of a problem without informing me in any way, shape or form of its cause, and since pretty much ALL programs are dynamic executables and even fucking LibC itself cannot be found I've run into yet another shell that's completely worthless.

So, end result: I'm off to give Gentoo another go. Maybe they've inproved since the last time I've used it.

Sorry VaKo, but so far my impression of FreeBSD is that it's rubbish. This particular motherboard uses the VT8237R controller, which according to the FreeBSD manual ata(4) should be supporting since at least version 4.2 of FreeBSD. I asked for help in #freebsdhelp on EFNet and they first suggested I get another controller. When I pointed out it should've been supported they just shut up. I'd be prefectly willing to give FreeBSD another go should any clever ideas arise on how to get it actually _onto_ the system without me swapping out hardware that's been around for quite some time and that has outstanding support for it in Linux.

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Well, on boot the bootloader tells me "c: is disk0 d: is disk1" so I was hopeful.

Then from within the install program I get the simple message "no drives found!" and a direction to the HCL. There are no error messages of any sort that explain to me WHY this is happening, and I don't get a command prompt that allows me to investigate.

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In regard to not finding the disks, I have no idea, I've never had that problem but maybe you have just been unlucky in the model of controller you have or something.

When you tried to run the LiveCD you were definitely using the correct disk, right? CD 2?

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I booted off disk 1. When the installer that comes from there tells me that I can get a LiveCD prompt kind of deal, and doesn't tell me I need to swap CDs, I don't swap CDs.

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I've always just used the net install disc tbh. Why don't you try just having one disc in, when you get to the disc bit, ignore the warning about the geometry being wrong (it reads the disc, it doesn't trust what bios says), hit A, then Q, then don't install a boot manager, A & Q again, and it should work. I've done this on IDE, SATA and SCSI based systems and its never ever been a problem.

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I've always just used the net install disc tbh. Why don't you try just having one disc in.

I'll try that, but the thing is that I was planning to use RAID1 on this, hence the 2 disks. It's not seeing either, so I don't see why using just 1 disk will make much of a difference. But I'll just finish up this Gentoo install, detach those disks, add a new disk and have a go at the net FreeBSD installer next.

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Okay, retrying, I get ad4 and ad6 as detected disks in the booting process. During install it still says it can't find the disks, and VT2 reads:

sysinstall: kern.geom.conftxt sysctl not available, giving up!: Not a directory

DEBUG: Unable to open disk ad4

And then the same for ad6.

As for the A + Q then A+Q thing, that's what you suggest I do when I reach fdisk. Problem is, I don't reach fdisk. Before fdisk starts I get that No Disks found message.

Interestingly, I tried working a bit more with this holographic emergency shell thing, and using the find command I can do a _little_ bit of browsing on the system. The first thing I notice is the complete lack of any type of fdisk program.

I'm giving up again. For this attempt I actually used the 7.0 snapshot for today.

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I think I'd agree, it took me about 5 attempts (spaced out over a few years) before I got Linux working, but the first time I ever installed FreeBSD it just worked.

I'd just like to point out that every install of windows I've ever done has worked the first time.

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I think I'd agree, it took me about 5 attempts (spaced out over a few years) before I got Linux working, but the first time I ever installed FreeBSD it just worked.

I'd just like to point out that every install of windows I've ever done has worked the first time.

Of course, almost all hardware is thoroughly tested with and has drivers written for Windows by the hardware vendor.

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G'day all,

Long time reader first time poster. . .  (ah, that's lame what a great way to start the day. )

So after reading this thread I was filled with dread as I had just downloaded the iso's for 6. 2-Release for AMD64.  My first installation failed miserably . . .  that is until I realised it was working and just booting me straight into a shell, problem being that the FreeBSD boot loader had stolen my grub from the MBR.  So after some tweaking I got grub back to it's old self.  As I wasn't getting a graphical X environment when I booted I assumed that I had missed a few check boxes during the installation, being a fresh install I wasn't too worried about doing a complete format on that partition and reinstalling FreeBSD with a X Window system.

This was all good and well until I rebooted after the second install (being last night now) and ending up at the tty0 shell prompt again (after adding FreeBSD to my grub menu that is). . .  This time though I did some reading on the FreeBSD website and re-read the install instructions.  Then I realised that X11 was installed all i had to do was 'startx'.  Phew.  Now I wanted KDE, just because I could all this power was going to my head.  So after installing kdebase and dependencies from the second CD, I started KDE with 'kdm'.  I was over the moon and now I have even set it up to start KDE straight away.

Long story short I am so smart, I am so smart, S-M-R-T.

I just needed somewhere to gloat and I thought here was the best spot, well maybe not for Cooper but hey.  If I can do it I have faith in you.  :)

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If I can do it I have faith in you.  :)

Oh, this has nothing to do with skill or patience like most OS installs. It's been my experience for some time now that SATA is a bit of a bitch to work with. I'm sure that if I had used an IDE disk things would've worked out better. And since I'm working on phasing out a few of them I'll soon have plenty of time to play with this.

In case people are wondering, this box I was installing to is now running Gentoo, the only *IX OS I managed to get installed to my liking since...

FreeBSD: Doesn't see my drives from the installer

OpenBSD: Doesn't even START an installer (presumably because since there's no HD found, what would you want to install?)

Debian: Netinst comes with a kernel that (loudly) fails to initialize the SATA chipset on this board, so again no harddisks.

Ubuntu: Failed to install a working bootloader on my RAID1 boot disk. On boot I'd immediately get a register dump.

Gentoo I tried first but threw it out when I realise I would have to compile everything on this slow as fuck 800 MHz Mini-ITX board. However since this is going to be a server, not that many humongous programs need to be running on it. So far I'm quite pleased with it.

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If the kit wasn't 100% I'd expect Gentoo to have just as much issues as the rest of them.

Debian was using too old a kernel for their netinst, ubuntu apparently tried to install grub or lilo (I was unable to intervene to pick one myself) onto /dev/md0 (aka the partition) rather than /dev/sd[ab] (one, or preferably both of the drives). And since I didn't get a usable prompt with Ubuntu either so I could manually install the bootloader into the MBR after installation that installation got fucked up quickly aswell.

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