1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

FreeBSD for power desktop Linux user?

Discussion in 'General' started by harishankar, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    That's why I like FreeBSD, because it gives choices.

    Also sometimes it is necessary to use ports for some things, but since most software is available as packages, it does save eons of time.

    I like to compile - when I write the code myself :p
     
  2. hitest

    hitest Member

    Messages:
    254
    Thanks Received:
    18
    I do have a fast FreeBSD box, but, I tend to use packages instead of ports. FreeBSD is wonderful in that it gives you a lot of flexibility in the way you can install software.
     
  3. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    Unfortunately the wpi driver doesn't seem to work on my system, and I followed the man pages for wpi as well as the freebsd handbook on wireless networking but no joy.

    Wireless is annoying :(

    here's the output of wpa_supplicant
    Code:
    harishankar# wpa_supplicant -Dbsd -iwpi0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
    ioctl[SIOCG80211, op 98, len 32]: Invalid argument
    Failed to initialize driver interface
    ELOOP: remaining socket: sock=4 eloop_data=0x800e091c0 user_data=0x800e050f0 handler=0x421840
    


    dmesg output
    Code:
    harishankar# dmesg | grep wpi
    wpi0: <Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG> mem 0xd8000000-0xd8000fff irq 16 at device 0.0 on pci2
    wpi0: Driver Revision 20071127
    wpi0: Hardware Revision (0x81)
    wpi0: Regulatory Domain: MoW1
    wpi0: Hardware Type: B
    wpi0: Hardware Revision: ?
    wpi0: SKU does support 802.11a
    wpi0: [ITHREAD]
    


    Also the wpi driver doesn't seem to work because it's missing the firmware and the man page doesn't mention how to build the firmware (it just says that you must get the firmware)

    Where do I get the firmware from and how does the wpifw work? wpifw module is already loaded by the kernel, so obviously it's not working. :(
     
  4. wonslung

    wonslung New Member

    Messages:
    850
    Thanks Received:
    16
    did you put
    Code:
    wlan_scan_ap_load="YES"
    wlan_scan_sta_load="YES"
    wlan_wep_load="YES"
    wlan_ccmp_load="YES"
    wlan_tkip_load="YES"
    

    in /boot/loader.conf along with the the proper module?
     
  5. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    Yes, yes, all that done as per the handbook instructions. :) I followed the instructions both in the handbook as well as those in the wpi man page.

    No luck. The man page hints that I might need to obtain a firmware, but where do I get it from? I saw a hint that WPI firmware is not yet in FreeBSD in another thread. Is that so?
     
  6. avilla@

    avilla@ New Member Developer

    Messages:
    258
    Thanks Received:
    55
    from wpi(4)():

    add

    Code:
    wpifw_load="YES"
    legal.intel_wpi.license_ack=1


    to /boot/loader.conf and it will work (i've been using it for one year without a problem)
     
  7. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    Yes, yes, I have tried that. It still doesn't work...

    I said that I followed the man page for ipw and I looked at all that.
     
  8. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    Sorry I meant man page for wpi
     
  9. bb

    bb New Member

    Messages:
    42
    Thanks Received:
    9
    So you finally managed to boot off the USB drive?

    This is a good thing. 8-current has an updated loader. That's why I use it to boot my system with a ZFS root. The thing is that you can boot FreeBSD-7 with the very same loader. If you want to try:

    Download all files in ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/releases/i386/7.2-RELEASE/kernels
    (If you already have a CD, you can take the files from the CD)

    make sure you don't have a directory /boot/generic (default FreeBSD installation should leave you with the kernel in /boot/kernel)

    run install.sh like so:

    Code:
    sh install.sh generic
    mv /boot/generic /boot/7.2-RELEASE
    


    this will unpack the kernel into /boot/generic and rename the directory to /boot/7.2-RELEASE.

    when you reboot the system, go into the loader prompt and type the following:

    Code:
    unload
    set kernel=7.2-RELEASE
    boot -s
    


    You can now see if your system can boot 7.2-i386. If it works, you will finally get a prompt to choose the shell. Of course you won't have a 32bit shell, so the only thing you can do at this point is to reset your system. But it will show you if it is possible to boot the 32 bit system.

    By the way, have you tried 8-current i386? I cannot believe, that you can only boot the amd64 version.
     
    harishankar thanks for this.
  10. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    Thanks for your tips. I have not tried 8-current i386, but I've tried a few Linux distributions i386 on my laptop like Ubuntu Hardy and they wouldn't go past the first screen and hang up on looking for devices. Only adm64 built OSes worked properly so far as I can tell.

    However, having said that I don't mind trying FreeBSD i386, provided of course I can get my wireless to work. Unfortunately everything is set up as correctly as the man pages and the handbook indicated, but I've not got wpa_supplicant to work as you can see.
     
  11. DutchDaemon

    DutchDaemon Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

    Messages:
    10,765
    Thanks Received:
    1,870
    No need to quote an entire post when replying ..
     
  12. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    Hi, apologies.

    I was just making it clear who I was replying to for future readers of the thread. Often I come across threads where I sometimes find it difficult to note who is replying to whom, because of the lack of quotation.

    But I agree with your observation, it could have been pruned. I was being lazy :p
     
  13. DutchDaemon

    DutchDaemon Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

    Messages:
    10,765
    Thanks Received:
    1,870
    No prob. When your reply is right under the post you're replying to, either don't quote at all (it's implied), or just a relevant part of it.
     
  14. dejamuse

    dejamuse New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Thanks Received:
    3
    Try PCBSD

    This is really quite amazing that in this entire long thread there's not a single mention of PCBSD. All the trouble of installing FreeBSD, KDE4, etc is eliminated by PCBSD, and the community is VERY responsive for getting bugs fixed, and dealing with hardware issues.

    DesktopBSD is all but dead - forget it.

    PCBSD gives you all the advantages of the port/package system plus the ultra convenience of the PBI system. And now with the inclusion of the runports script, your own ports tree is completely isolated from the PCBSD ports tree, so you can't screw up the system by accidentally updating some port or accidentally deleting some package.

    I just installed the latest version (7.1.1) using the 64 bit version on a new Intel i7 processor with 6GB RAM, on an ASUS P6T motherboard, with RAID-0 on a pair of 750GB SATA drives, and an HD-4850 Radeon VGA, all crammed into a super slim box. I installed the OS in 15 minutes and everything worked - zero hardware problems. Admittedly the VGA is overkill for what I'm doing and I haven't tried any 3D stuff or games with it, but I think it would work from what I've read. There's been a very recent upgrade in the Nvidia drivers to fix a lot of issues too. I was also investigating the AMD64 driver from Nvidia and was told by them it won't be available for some time because of some hardware problems, though it is actively being worked on (requires some kernel changes I believe that might not make it into FreeBSD 8). There's a thread on that at the Nvidia forums (http://www.nvnews.net).

    You generally won't find the 64bit version any faster. I did it only because I'm running a server in a jail simultaneously with PHP and Drupal development, etc, etc, on the main machine so I wanted lots of memory, otherwise I'd recommend the 32 bit version and maxing out at 3GB RAM. You'll also find that a lot of the ports have not been compiled into 64 bit packages, and Wine is not yet available for AMD64, should you want to run Windoze programs. That said, the vast majority of available PBIs are available for 64 bit. Have a look at the selection here.

    Getting FreeBSD to work complete with all the bells and whistles like a firewall, is no picnic! It will literally take you weeks and that's if you're extremely knowledgeable, not to mention the hassle of upgrading and maintaining the installed packages. That's exactly why PCBSD exists. Check it out!

    ...Jeff
     
    harishankar thanks for this.
  15. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    Yes, I checked out PC BSD. There are more than 1 CDs and the downloadable DVD is huge. And I don't have the internet bandwidth to do an FTP install either.

    I would definitely love to try out PC BSD, but I will need the DVD sent to me free of cost. (I don't really want to buy a full set and pay for an OS that I'm probably just trying out and might not replace my desktop).

    ( The biggest concern for me about the *BSDs emerging from this thread in general is that there is a lack of drivers for specific peripheral hardware which I use, especially for things like digital pen-tablets (WizardPen in my case). I do a lot of digital drawing and colouring on my laptop and cannot do without it. I also use the HP built-in webcam for Skype video chat and I don't think FreeBSD has support for that either. The driver that supports it in Linux is uvcvideo )
     
  16. digitalsedition

    digitalsedition New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Thanks Received:
    0
    I keep meaning to try PC-BSD, but I don't like KDE, and there is no xfce install, I know it can be installed post initial installation but I figured it would be crazy bloated with KDE and xfce. Plus it's going on a netbook with a 8gb hdd.
     
  17. dejamuse

    dejamuse New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Thanks Received:
    3
    Yes, it's true that cam support in BSD isn't great, but it's slowly improving.

    PCBSD doesn't seem interested in producing a netbook version. With limited resources they just can't do it, but stripped down versions of FreeBSD exist and might be good choices for netbooks running Xfce.

    At the moment PCBSD is for those who want a powerful desktop OS based on FreeBSD which is arguably more stable and secure than Linux with performance about the same.

    The Wacom tablet driver is now included in the base install, so I can use my Intuos-2 tablet no problem. Never heard of Wizard.

    Skype is also available and if your cam is supported then you can also use the video option.

    I tried Ubuntu and Kubuntu but didn't care for it. I've been using FreeBSD for years for running servers so I'm familiar with it and was sick of Windoze, so it works for me. I'm also enamored with the ports system - there's nothing quite like it in the Linux world.

    I was not a fan of KDE4 when it first came out, but it has been substantially improved since then and I've come to like it, and man, the PBI system is the cat's meow! Installation of any program is less than 30 seconds, and web updates completely automatic.

    Have a look at this video introduction to PCBSD.

    ...Jeff
     
  18. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    I'll take a look at that video.

    Thanks for the link.

    Yes, I know Wacom is supported, but Wacom is again one of the more expensive brands and I cannot afford their range of tablets especially because I'm a hobbyist, not a pro. Wizardpen based tablets (and the brand that I bought - made locally by an Indian company) are 50% cheaper, so I bought that.

    I know that the hardware support is increasing radically in the BSD world and PC-BSD really really interests me, but I am not able to download it with my current internet connectivity and I don't want to purchase CDs/DVDs for just testing it out. :)

    Currently I am unable to get even my wireless to work in FreeBSD, even with the supported driver. So I guess there's a bit of investment in time and effort involved, but even that can be overcome.

    I wish I had the time and knowledge to write device drivers, but it's just a little beyond my grasp (my brother is a REAL techie - he writes drivers for VMs and is an official developer of Virtualbox employed by Sun).
     
  19. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    I've come back here because I'm still looking to migrate to FreeBSD, but there are a few deal breakers I haven't found satisfactory solutions for:

    1. MIDI music creation software. After googling around I'm still not sure if soft-synth works like in Linux or not. Especially the part about Timidity which runs as a background process and allows MIDI-aware programs to connect to it like a MIDI port.

    2. Xorg drivers for WizardPen pen tablet. While still not a big issue for me, I'd love to be able to use my graphics pen tablet in FreeBSD.

    3. Support for Gnome/Bluetooth. I would love to be able to connect to my mobile phone to download pictures from it. Not sure if this support is implemented yet.

    I'm so... so... tempted by FreeBSD, because my website currently runs on a FreeBSD based hosting and I am impressed by the increased performance over ordinary Linux shared hosting. Wondering if the desktop scenario will suit my needs as well.
     
  20. SirDice

    SirDice Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,605
    Thanks Received:
    2,381
    The software will work fine but there is a serious lack of supported MIDI hardware (meaning MIDI-in, out, through).

    If it works on Linux it's quite likely to also work on FreeBSD (minor exceptions aside).

    Tricky. Bluetooth works fine but Gnome/Bluetooth is too Linux specific to work properly on FreeBSD.
     
  21. dennylin93

    dennylin93 New Member

    Messages:
    784
    Thanks Received:
    104
    Rosegarden works.
     
  22. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    Finnally success. Posting this message from FreeBSD.

    I got Gnome+GDM working, wireless networking is configured. The biggest issue was using the wlan0 and not wpi0 as I tried earlier. My /etc/rc.conf looks like this now:

    Code:
    wlans_wpi0="wlan0"
    ifconfig_wlan0="WPA DHCP"


    Now I need to set up the other things, but thanks to the availability of the internet connection I can do it much easier. :)
     
  23. harishankar

    harishankar New Member

    Messages:
    128
    Thanks Received:
    2
    The wizardpen driver requires EVDEV kernel interface which is Linux specific.
     
  24. alp

    alp New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Thanks Received:
    3
    Devel version of nvidia driver works for me for a long time on my workstation. The workstation works without powering off for weeks (sometimes we have some problems with power) and I haven't noticed any shortages of the driver. However, the only heavy use of this driver on my work is to run screensaver.