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Old 03-09-2019, 08:19 AM   #1
linus72
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Wanting to Try A BSD variant- Which is Best For Me? Slacker, Debian, Arch Veteran


So Im going to be deleting vista off this laptop and installing multiple distros to play with, my hdd will look something like this-
Dell 1545 Inspiron with Broadcom 4312 wireless, 160GB hdd, 3GB RAM

Code:
sda1 Slackware 14.2 25GB
sda2 AntiX 25GB
sda3 Arch (variant archbang or arcolinux) 25GB
sda4 EXTENDED
sda5 some distro (slack current) 20GB
sda6 some distro 20GB (bsd variant)
sda7 some distro 12GB (live distros)
sda7 storage 20GB
sda8 swap 3GB
or something like that...
I want to try out a BSD distro like freebsd, midnightbsd, dragonfly, etc
What do I need to know about BSD before I do this?
Thanks any help appreciated!

Last edited by linus72; 03-09-2019 at 08:25 AM.
 
Old 03-09-2019, 08:41 AM   #2
fatmac
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When I used to have a couple of O/S on my disk, I installed Linux first & let BSD boot it, worked for me, rather than try & get grub to boot BSD.

Most Linux distros will work together OK, usually the last one to be installed will be in charge of grub, but you can have them booted from your favourite distro, as long as you install grub to the partition, not the MBR.
 
Old 03-09-2019, 09:04 AM   #3
sevendogsbsd
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Just a bit of info: there is no such thing as a BSD "distro". BSD is a single operating system designed by a team as a whole unit. Linux consists of multiple components (kernel, toolchain, etc) and is packaged into a distribution by RedHat, Gentoo, Slackware, etc.

Fatmac is on point - grub is a PITA with BSD.

One more word of advice: BSD is different than Linux and requires a different mindset - complete different commands, different file structure, etc. There are similarities or course but the best advice I can give is "Leave Your Lixunisms Behind When Running BSD". BSDs typically have excellent documentation although sometimes it can be outdated a bit. Don't expect hand holding in BSD forums - read the docs and if stuck, ask questions. Try BSD in a VM first to get familiar.
 
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Old 03-10-2019, 01:17 PM   #4
hitest
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My favourite flavour of BSD is OpenBSD. Up until yesterday I was dual booting Slackware64-current and OpenBSD 6.4. Today I'm running OpenBSD on my T410 Thinkpad.

Using fdisk on my Slackware DVD I set-up the partitions listed below during the install process. I set-up my OpenBSD partition as type A6.

Code:
sda1 swap
sda2 root
sda3 home
sda4 OpenBSD
Next I installed OpenBSD to /dev/sda4.

Re-booted into Slackware and edited /etc/lilo.conf and added the following addition to the bottom of /etc/lilo.conf. Then run: lilo -P fix. On the next reboot you will have a functional Slackware/OpenBSD dual boot.

Code:
other = /dev/sda4
label = OpenBSD
table = /dev/sda

Last edited by hitest; 03-10-2019 at 01:18 PM.
 
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Old 03-11-2019, 04:39 PM   #5
jmccue
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Looks like you have a 32 bit system, if that is the case, either OpenBSD or NetBSD 32 bit would be fine and it will be rather zippy.

I recommended those because their 32 bit versions do not contain the year 2038 issue. Where AFAIK FreeBSD still has that issue, as does Linux (for now)

Last edited by jmccue; 03-11-2019 at 04:41 PM.
 
Old 03-11-2019, 05:04 PM   #6
sevendogsbsd
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Interesting recommendation based on a software problem that MIGHT be an issue in 19 years, lol. I'm kidding but I did find that amusing.
 
Old 03-11-2019, 08:35 PM   #7
frankbell
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I would recommend FreeBSD, if what you are seeking is a learning experience. You will learn a lot as you follow the FreeBSD hand book to get it working. I don't know about its support for Broadcom wireless, though I found this.
 
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Old 03-11-2019, 08:46 PM   #8
hitest
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FreeBSD has firmware wireless support in their net install ISO so you can do a wireless install of FreeBSD. For OpenBSD you need to first do a wired install. On first boot-up of OpenBSD it will download any needed firmware required for your NIC, video card, etc. Then you can use your favourite text editor to set-up a wireless connection for OpenBSD. I've used FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD. Try them all and see what you like. Enjoy!
 
Old 03-11-2019, 08:55 PM   #9
jggimi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitest View Post
...For OpenBSD you need to first do a wired install...
Two small corrections.

WiFi install depends on your specific wireless chipset. You're only blocked from WiFi install if the chipset requires external firmware, and that firmware cannot be distributed with the OS. Granted, there are many chipsets in this category.

And, one can also install the OS from local media without requiring wired networking.
 
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Old 03-12-2019, 05:17 AM   #10
fatmac
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Quote:
For OpenBSD you need to first do a wired install.
Not true!

I have installed it on several of my machines, laptops, netbooks, desktops (fitted with wifi cards), & all but one set up my wifi as part of the installation, the exception was a broadcom chip.

I normally install from a pendrive, but have installed from a cdrom.

Last edited by fatmac; 03-12-2019 at 05:18 AM.
 
Old 03-12-2019, 09:25 AM   #11
hitest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post

WiFi install depends on your specific wireless chipset. You're only blocked from WiFi install if the chipset requires external firmware, and that firmware cannot be distributed with the OS. Granted, there are many chipsets in this category.
Agreed. Using the install64 ISO on my Lenovo T410 Thinkpad the firmware for my wireless chipset is not included. After a wired install the iwn0 firmware is downloaded, installed on first boot-up. Then I'm able to set-up wireless on my laptop.
 
Old 03-12-2019, 09:49 AM   #12
jggimi
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Just for fun, I looked through the wireless driver man pages. The score is currently 11 to 17. There are 11 drivers that either require no firmware to be loaded at activation, or have firmware distributed with the OS. The other 17 drivers require firmware to be installed after the OS is installed due to how the firmware is licensed.
 
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:53 AM   #13
hitest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
The other 17 drivers require firmware to be installed after the OS is installed due to how the firmware is licensed.
Thank you. So about 61% of wireless chipsets don't support a wireless install.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmac View Post
Not true!

I have installed it on several of my machines, laptops, netbooks, desktops (fitted with wifi cards), & all but one set up my wifi as part of the installation, the exception was a broadcom chip.

I normally install from a pendrive, but have installed from a cdrom.
You've been lucky to have supported wireless chipsets.
 
Old 03-12-2019, 11:19 AM   #14
jggimi
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I haven't gone on to check how many of those 17 drivers are included in the RAMDISK kernel. If the driver is in kernel, then an experienced and knowledgeable OpenBSD admin could (in theory) copy pre-downloaded and unpackaged firmware into /etc/firmware/ from local media, and then run the install script.
 
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Old 03-12-2019, 11:36 AM   #15
cynwulf
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For Broadcom wifi and OpenBSD there are two drivers that I know of: bwi(4) and bwfm(4)

bwi(4) supports the older b/g cards, such as the BCM4318, but not the BCM4312.

No idea at all with regards to what bwfm support as it's quite new and man page doesn't seem clear (to me) as to what hardware it supports.

The FreeBSD bwn(4) driver is supposed to support the BCM4312.

Installing over wifi might be a moot point here, in all cases, as it's Broadcom wifi we're talking about and that often means that the firmware can't be redistributed, unless something has changed? In FreeBSD it usually means installing the firmware from ports.
 
  


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