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Old 06-14-2014, 07:06 PM   #1
astrogeek
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Registered: Oct 2008
Distribution: Slackware: 12.1, 13.1, 14.1, 64-14.1, -current, FreeBSD-10
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My FreeBSD adventure... continued...


I continue my path into FreeBSD, begun in original posts here and here, but thought it best to start a new thread as that thread was actually PC-BSD 10 related.

I have run various BSDs in VMs in the past, but only from curiosity and never for actual use. My intent now is to learn and support at least one BSD to the comfort level I now have with Slackware, and I have decided to do that with FreeBSD, at least for now.

Documentation and Guides

In addition to this forum as a resource, I have added the FreeBSD Handbook, FAQs and a few others to my local library server so that is available on demand and is my primary reference. Overall I find it to be of excellent usefulness and have been able to answer most of my own questions along the way - so far. The only thing I find lacking is maybe a top down view of major topics before jumping into "how-to", for example on ports and packages mentioned below, but I have been able to get things going!

Boot and mounts

As noted in the above posts, I decided on FreeBSD-10.0, and was able to install and multi-boot with Slackware managed Lilo on a two-disk system.

I am able to mount the FreeBSD root slice under Slackware as type '5.xbsd' (something like that), readonly. I have an ext3 partition that I use for shared data among my Slackware installs which I would like to mount under FreeBSD. I have not yet gotten to that except that I did not see support for ext3 built-in. Anyone care to point me in the right direction?

Packages and Ports

I am a Slackware user and find the slackbuilds system to be the absolutely best method of managing my own systems ever!

I think that I will come to feel the same way about the FreeBSD ports system - once I learn my way around!

I have read the Handbook package and ports sections, several times, and find all the answers there, but I still have not found that solid orientation of how pkg, pkgng, portsnap, portmaster and other things actually fit together. Some of it seems to be historical and some architectural, but I still feel a little adrift with it from an overall perspective.

That said, I have figured out how to build and install my necessary packages such as vim, tmux, bash, sudo (yes, I think I will remain a basher-sudoer). xorg-minimal is building as I type this.

I installed the ports and sources from DVD using the installer options, and built vim, tmux, bash and a few other things from there. But when I began to build xorg-minimal I repeatedly hit "missing" pieces that could not be downloaded. I manually found a few, then decided something was not right. I then discovered portsnap fetch, extract and update, which seem to have fixed the errors. I had thought that since they were installed with the system they would have been up to date, but apparently not so. I then found the extract step to still be necessary which seemed counter to the Handbook and the fact that it was installed... confusing but I now have that ironed out I think.

These are not complaints by the way - just the result of disorientation on my part I think!

I find the level of automation a little frightening - I love SBo and prefer to build incrementally from my own dependency list! On the other hand I like "make" and find the makefile based package management very appealing! I can learn to use 'make all-depends-list' and 'pkg info' to organize my own level of control/granularity, or hopefully, I can build my confidence in the ports system and build from the top - old dogs and new tricks...

Network

I setup my network without any bumps in the road - static IP, local DNS, ifconfig and route - a little different but no surprises.

User Accounts

I also had to learn my way around the user account manager tools and methods, a bit different than my habits expect, but that is what man pages are for!

I added my user to the wheel group and still installed sudo - old habits and commonality of methods with my GNU/Linux systems.

A further comment on csh vs bash, sudo, etc... I actually found that I was mostly at home with csh and write scripts to 'sh' under Slackware anyway, so I was tempted to use the defaults. But my tired old eyes and some well refined shell defaults convinced me keep it the same across systems, so I installed bash, an inputrc, set up colors, and other things for familiarity mostly.

Other things...

The filesystem tree is a little different than I am used to, but nothing problematic. The use of /usr/local/... seems consistent and reasonable, but unfamiliar.

vidcontrol was a pleasant surprise - makes setting console resolution a snap! Also /etc/rc.conf simplifies many things kernel and boot related!

So far the only thing that looks like it will need extra effort is that I will want to set up a PXE based installer for FreeBSD 64 and 32 bit versions to fit into my sphere of things. FreeBSD does not seem to have an easy path to PXE installs (although it does have diskless boot support, but that is a different thing). Apparently OpenBSD has native PXE installer support, but from what I have read I will need to build my own kernel and modified installer to get it for FreeBSD... anyone here done this?

So to wrap this post up - I am very happy with my intro to BSD/FreeBSD! I am not really looking for support - yet - but will probably do so as I progress, this thread will be the place!

Looks like my xorg-minimal has finished... now to see if it works...

Thanks to all who encouraged and who have answered questions here for others, which has also been a help to me!
 
Old 06-14-2014, 08:50 PM   #2
hitest
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astrogeek,

I am very happy for you, the BSDs are awesome!
I currently run FreeBSD 10.0 in Virtualbox; I've used FreeBSD since 5.x. FreeBSD has an amazing security update feature, freebsd-update. My favourite BSD and the one that I run day to day is OpenBSD 5.5. I dual boot OpenBSD and Slackware on this box and I also have another OpenBSD 5.5 box. For me OpenBSD just makes sense to me. I tend to use packages on OpenBSD. I can install ports, but, prefer packages. I do apply security updates by compiling from source on OpenBSD. The BSDs are fantastic!
 
Old 06-16-2014, 03:02 AM   #3
kooru
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I subscribe this thread
 
Old 06-16-2014, 04:55 PM   #4
astrogeek
Senior Member
 
Registered: Oct 2008
Distribution: Slackware: 12.1, 13.1, 14.1, 64-14.1, -current, FreeBSD-10
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Original Poster
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Hello hitest, kooru and lurkers! I will consider you my cheering section for this thread! ;-)

When I started this thread I expected to have many questions and need much support - but I am pleasantly surprised to say that to this point at least, FreeBSD seems just like home!

So instead of questions, here is a continuing summary of where I have gotten to with FreeBSD and some useful things I could not find in the Handbook but figured out - maybe they can help someone else. If this thread gets too wordy, someone please politely tell me...

Xorg-minimal and Xorg

Being a minimalist, I began by installing xorg-minimal from ports. I first looked for a synopsis of the differences and found only that the minimal was "the minimal required to run an X server". Concise, but not very informative. The dependency lists were longer than I wanted to compare as well, so...

I did in fact get Xorg running with xorg-minimal, but hit many bumps trying to start any useful X applications! I wanted to run Fluxbox but could not get it to start due to missing fonts and whatever else. Even the minimal twm, xterm, etc were all missing or unable to run with xorg-minimal.

Rather than try to sort it out, I simply deinstalled xorg-minimal and installed the whole xorg port. Using the Handbook as guide, no problems encountered, and not a big a build as I expected.

I have old Nvidia hardware but am happily running with nv for now. (I had installed the Nvidia driver under xorg-minimal but also removed it).

I added urw fonts, my own selection of True Type fonts (all according to the handbook), xsel and xclip both from ports as I use them in my Tmux config. rxvt-unicode from ports, plus Fluxbox and Xfce4 (a bigger build than expected).

I now have a happy X environment for when I need it!

I know that Xfce4 is now available with Slackware, but I am a long time happy Fluxbox user and I have never even started Xfce. I started it in my FreeBSD box with excellent first impressions - I'll learn my way around Xfce as an added benefit of my BSD experience - but no new threads for now.

Mounting Ext[2,3,4] Partitions

I installed FreeBSD on my personal main Slackware64 machine, so to be useful I need to be able to pass files between them. I usually have other machines online at any given time and can sftp to a second box, but I really needed a shared partition on the same disk.

I had read that BSD could mount Linux partitions, but when I actually tried I found that there were some restrictions. As of FreeBSD 10.0, here are the important points:

1. FreeBSD can only mount Linux Ext2 partitions.
2. Ext3 and Ext4 partitions are essentially journaled Ext2 and can be mounted as Ext2, but of course the journal will become 'dirty', so the next Linux mount will want to fsck it - every time.

So, the only convenient solution is to format an actual Ext2 partition for data interchange, which is what I have done.

FreeBSD /etc/fstab:
/dev/ada1s6 /mnt/lbsd ext2fs rw,noauto 0 0

I found some old forum posts that indicated writing to Ext2 was unreliable, but I also found newer posts, and notes in the FreeBSD change logs which indicate this is no longer a problem.

I have exchanged large, small and many files both directions for testing - no errors, so I will assume it is safe (enough) until I have any reason to think otherwise.

User Accounts

I keep UIDs consisten for same users across my own systems to reduce ownership/permission issues in contexts such as NFS.

I have written a shell script that I run on new GNU/Linux installs as needed to create selected accounts, but the tools are different under FreeBSD so I simply verified the UIDs were safe and created the accounts manually. If/when FreeBSD becomes an integral part of my digital life I'll need to script this and a few other things.

I also keep a repo of custom rc files such as ~/{.Xdefaults,.Xresources,.tmux.conf,.vimrc,...} which I add to /etc/skel/ under Slackware installs. For now I have done this manually for each account, but will need to add a scripted set for FreeBSD.

Packages and Ports

Within my little sphere of things, I maintain a repo of sources, build scripts, packages, install media, notes and backups suitable for the "armageddon" option - I can effectively reinstall and/or rebuild just about anything I use from the local repo without external access (i.e., internet).

Two important aspects of that are that I now do all new installs via PXE/NFS/HTTP from those same repos, and anything new that I build or add, is first built for the repo, then installed from there. I was not able to do that with FreeBSD due to lack of PXE installer support...

I would like to add FreeBSD to my repo to that same level of support. I think that I can do that with the ports system for sources and build scripts/makefiles, so am now working through the Porter's Handbook and reading Makefiles... this might take a while! Any comments or suggestions for maintaining a selective local ports repo welcomed...

The PXE/NFS installer looks like the bigger task to me. Comments also welcomed... I'll post from that bridge when I cross it...

Thanks for reading along with me!

Last edited by astrogeek; 06-16-2014 at 05:43 PM.
 
Old 06-25-2014, 09:51 PM   #5
astrogeek
Senior Member
 
Registered: Oct 2008
Distribution: Slackware: 12.1, 13.1, 14.1, 64-14.1, -current, FreeBSD-10
Posts: 2,029

Original Poster
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spam post reported

update: spam post has been removed, thanks LQ admins!

Last edited by astrogeek; 06-25-2014 at 11:39 PM.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 06-26-2014, 12:07 AM   #6
hitest
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by astrogeek View Post
spam post reported

update: spam post has been removed, thanks LQ admins!
Indeed! Many thanks to the admin team.
 
Old 06-26-2014, 07:54 PM   #7
astrogeek
Senior Member
 
Registered: Oct 2008
Distribution: Slackware: 12.1, 13.1, 14.1, 64-14.1, -current, FreeBSD-10
Posts: 2,029

Original Poster
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My FreeBSD experience continues to be fun and problem free!

I just built Firefox from ports and visited LQ as my first web site from FreeBSD. Testing to see if I get the FreeBSD icon on LQ with my best guess for user agent string...

It worked!

Last edited by astrogeek; 06-26-2014 at 08:00 PM.
 
Old 06-27-2014, 12:44 AM   #8
kooru
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrogeek View Post
It worked!
I see
 
  


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