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Seriously

Discussion in 'Installing and Upgrading FreeBSD' started by rtobyr, Apr 20, 2011.

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  1. rtobyr

    rtobyr New Member

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    I'm sorry to keep beating a dead horse, but I really, really prefer the BSD way of doing things vice Linux. I want nothing but success for this project. I therefore have the unfortunate duty of offering criticism (in a respectful manner [but with some humor], of course):

    Having installed and used many operating systems (and perhaps more distributions of Linux than all other operating systems combined), I have to say: You guys MUST do something about your installer. Not only was it easier to install Solaris, OpenBSD, Symbian, ReactOS, and Slackware AND build a working Hackintosh, but if I tried to imagine a lay-person doing it... well I couldn't imagine that. It would not be possible.

    After getting FreeBSD installed, I decided that I wanted a GUI (shouldn't a "User" install (which is what I chose) include a GUI by default?). Ports is still compiling GNOME2 and its dependencies. Meanwhile, I've already had to answer questions like, "Do I want extra debugging for Perl?"; "Do I want Python to be multi-threaded?"; "Do I want 64 bit integers on i386?"; "Do I want SSL support?"... You may as well ask the lay-person: "Do you want fries with that?"

    Please. I beg you. In addition to "User", "Developer", "Kernel Developer", and the other install profiles, add an "I just wanna look at the Internet and work on spreadsheets" profile. It should include kports or something similar. When I install a port, there should be an "I don't know if I want a patch to fix a microcode flaw, so just make those choices for me" option.
     
  2. wblock@

    wblock@ Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Developer

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    PCBSD is there for the end user.

    At least two new installers are under way for FreeBSD.

    If you don't know the appropriate answers to port options, just pick the default. Or use packages, where someone else has already made all the choices for you. The nontechnical end user who is happy to remain that way is still probably better off with PCBSD or one of the various Linux setups.
     
  3. Beastie

    Beastie Member

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    Something is being done. Also, from sysinstall()'s manual page:
    No. The next question becomes: which "GUI" has to be the default. And whatever the choice is, you can't satisfy everyone. And you can't include *everything* in the install disc/DVD.

    That's why PC-BSD and others exist.
     
  4. rtobyr

    rtobyr New Member

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    Really? Are we that arrogant here? Like I said, I don't want to be disrespectful but...

    That comes off as truly arrogant.

    Can't FreeBSD be attractive to lay-people?
     
  5. phoenix

    phoenix Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It is. It's called PC-BSD. As in "FreeBSD with a shiny gui pre-installed, a GUI application installer, point-n-click simplicity with the power of FreeBSD".

    What more do you want? Everything you complained about is "fixed" in PC-BSD. It's the whole reason PC-BSD exists.
     
  6. wblock@

    wblock@ Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator Developer

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    PCBSD is a desktop FreeBSD system operable by laypeople or experts, with a new installer and custom packages. Exactly what you want. But feel free to take offense if you're so inclined.
     
  7. ckester

    ckester New Member

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    Why does it have to be? We've already pointed to an alternative which should be more than adequate to meet their needs.

    PC-BSD is built on top of the FreeBSD kernel and world. It's the closest thing to a "distro" that there is in the BSD world, and it is aimed at those lay-people you want to attract.

    Do you go into the forums for Arch Linux and tell them they need to be more like Ubuntu? Or would you accept their answer that they have some goals for their project that are different from Ubuntu's? Are they being "arrogant" or simply helpful when they redirect you to Ubuntu after hearing you describe what you're looking for?
     
  8. rtobyr

    rtobyr New Member

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    I see where you are coming from. You don't see where I am coming from: Why do I need an alternative? Why can't FreeBSD have options for the masses?
     
  9. mix_room

    mix_room Member

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    A) You haven't bothered trying packages instead of ports. Much of the software you are complaining about is available pre-compiled. It doesn't get much easier than # pkg_add -r PKG_NAME

    Because it takes time and effort. If it were simple, trivial and easy it would already have been done. If you want it so badly: do it. Or pay someone to do it. The only reasons it "can't" be done is that no one has bothered yet.

    And finally: why did you call your thread 'Seriouysly'? That has to be the worst thread title lately. It has no information pertaining to the contents of the thread whatsover.
     
  10. vermaden

    vermaden Member

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    There is a project that already adresses that issue (bsdinstaller), its 'work in progress' currently and a temporary solution, the target is to create frontend to PC-BSD scripts.

    No. You are compiling GNOME2 and rest of the software You mentioned, someone who just wants GNOME would do pkg_add -r gnome2 without any needless compiling.

    Then FreeBSD is not for You, get PC-BSD which is purely desktop oriented. FreeBSD is like Debian in that case, just core system to start, You add everything You need after install.
     
  11. Terry_Kennedy

    Terry_Kennedy Member

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    I'd like to second this, but from the viewpoint of an experienced user. I've been using FreeBSD since 4.x, having come over from the BSDi exodus (where I was a contributor of drivers and utilities). I've used a variety of operating systems with bizarre installation rituals (DOS/VS Rel 32, anyone?).

    However, a recent attempt to install FreeBSD (8.2-RELEASE) on some re-purposed hardware had me feeling like a newbie confronting my first RSTS/E SYSGEN :(

    All of my other FreeBSD systems are running amd64, so I didn't have a "live" system to clone from. The box I was installing on was an older non-64-bit Xeon system w/ 4GB of RAM and a pair of 2.54TB da devices (actually, 8 drives each on a 3Ware twa controller which was old enough that it didn't support 2TB auto-carving).

    Armed with a disc1 and livefs CD (no DVD drive on that system) and 10+ years of FreeBSD experience, I set out to do battle...

    Both the disc1 install process and the livefs fdisk / bsdlabel utilities fell down badly - I actually switched to the livefs disc to see what sysinstall had done.

    The actual problems with those utilities don't need to be re-hashed - they're well-known. Suffice to say that it was not possible to make multiple FreeBSD slices (to keep each within 2TB) or create a UFS partition > 2TB.

    I spent several hours searching for a disc of 8.2 or 8-STABLE of a recent vintage with the new installer, but was unsuccessful - the only ones I could find were for CURRENT. I also found a number of contradictory sources of information on installing with GPT, but was unable to get any of them to work with the stock installer. [As I mentioned above, I had no i386 systems around - if I did, I would have simply rrestore'd from another box to populate the filesystems].

    I eventually said the heck with it and made a single 2TB slice and left the remaining .54TB on each drive unused.

    Given the constantly-increasing disk sizes available (3TB drives are available now, and even laptops have 1TB drives), this is going to affect more and more users.

    It would be very useful if there was a easy-to-find version of the new installer which could install either 8.2-RELEASE or some recent 8-STABLE. Aside from solving my particular issue, it would give the new installer a lot of exposure and probably get more people to give it a thorough test, before it shows up when 9.0 is cut from -CURRENT.

    I realize that changing the default installer in RELENG 8 violates POLA, but I think it would be useful to have it available as an option.

    This reminds me a bit of a recent discussion on freebsd-fs, where it was proposed that the experimental NFSv4 become the default NFS in -CURRENT. There were comments like "has this been extensively tested enough?", "what's the difference?" and even "you mean there's a new implementation?"
     
  12. vermaden

    vermaden Member

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    ZFS fully supports such disks.
     
  13. wokko

    wokko New Member

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    I have only recently installed FreeBSD about two months ago, coming from a Linux background. I found it quite easy to install FreeBSD alongside of my Gentoo installation.

    So I think the installer is quite fine.
     
  14. Terry_Kennedy

    Terry_Kennedy Member

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    Yup. But again, there's the "you can't get there from here (sysinstall)" issue. I had actually considered ZFS for this, but decided that on an i386 system with only 4GB of RAM (256MB of which shows up as "256MB of memory above 4GB unused"), it was going to be problematic. Therefore I didn't look for any of the "sysinstall with ZFS" cookbook articles.

    I am running ZFS on other boxes here and I like it, but those boxes have much newer CPUs w/ at least 32GB of memory each.
     
  15. danbi

    danbi New Member

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    Terry,

    While all your comments are valid, and are one of the reasons I still keep around i386 -stable (in jails, just to be able to create boot media), it is very probably that many other OSes would fail on that same hardware configuration. The installer must be updated, there is no doubt in this and there must be -stable ISOs available -- but this is distraction from the OP question.

    To the OP:

    What the OP really wants is PC-BSD. This IS FreeBSD, prepackaged for desktop usage. It is as much FreeBSD as any other FreeBSD install. You can use the same ports system, do whatever you want just like with any other FreeBSD system. It just comes pre-configured for desktop use. It also has an 'one click' graphical application installer etc. Just like Ubunto, for example. When FreeBSD is updated, PC-BSD is updated too. You don't lose anything, but the learning curve.

    You may look at FreeBSD as a development project. It develops new technologies. Very few "OS" projects do this. The products of the FreeBSD development is a generic operating system, that can be used for great many purposes -- desktop is just one of these and is definitely not the main focus of the OS, as such -- because the desktop is a 'user' thing from the OS perspective. One good example is Apple's OS X -- very similar to FreeBSD UNIX OS below very polished API and GUI. Most users have absolutely no idea that OS X is UNIX. Nor they need to. Look at PC-BSD as not that much polished OS, based on the constantly developing FreeBSD.

    Anyway, I too think that sysinstall is one of the most weirdest things in FreeBSD. I always try to avoid it, doing source upgrades of the OS and then creating my own boot media (usually USB based) to install from. Haven't used the release media for years...
     
  16. Terry_Kennedy

    Terry_Kennedy Member

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    I was just trying to point out (and apparently doing a poor job of it) that the need for a better installer is not just something that affects users new to FreeBSD.

    If they can't get past the first steps of creating slices and partitions, then the further shortcomings of the existing installer aren't going to matter too much to the,
     
  17. vermaden

    vermaden Member

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    Actually I havent used sysinstall for ages, everytime I install FreeBSD I use a method like that one: http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=12082

    Why You need i386? I moved to amd64 and I do not need anything from i386, I even play Diablo II using WINE.

    2GB RAM is a reasonable minimum for ZFS, but I also run FreeBSD with ZFS/GPT boot (booting from ZFS pool) with only 512MB RAM on amd64, that was 8.2-RELEASE, I run blogbench to see if I can PANIC it ... but I failed, it only returned me error about lack of memory, it did not rip my head off.

    That also was WITHOUT ANY TUNING which is needed with such low RAM, limit ARC and You will even run blogbench with 512MB RAM.

    I currently use ZFS on amd64 with 4GB RAM and everything works like a charm.
     
  18. Terry_Kennedy

    Terry_Kennedy Member

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    We're getting rather far off-topic here, but...
    No 64-bit support on the CPU - SL6VP.
     
  19. vermaden

    vermaden Member

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    So stick with i386, ZFS works also there.
     
  20. jb_fvwm2

    jb_fvwm2 Member

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    Just to join the discussion.

    I suspect this should digress into the sysinstall-has-not-been-rewritten for CAM/GEOM changes affecting v7 > v8 (or v8 > v9 for that matter.) If I am correct, a reminder that fdisk has a -f "file" option that if set up properly, with
    Code:
     man gjournal && man fdisk && man bsdlablel && man newfs 
    etc, a workaround in each instance can be carefully crafted. But issues then arise I am disinclined (NOR expert enough) to discuss (4kv disks, Bios - partition size limitations, UEFI incompatilities with raid cards/grub/legacy hardware/???) etc, since the "gotchas" outnumber the resources available to document/post/make guides ... and I've already posted about just some of those issues previously, and I profess to have very vague overviews of some of the issues.
     
  21. drhowarddrfine

    drhowarddrfine Member

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    At the risk of sounding arrogant myself, FreeBSD is an operating system for professionals. It is not intended for lay people and I don't think anyone would suggest lay people attempt that except for PC-BSD which has that as a goal.

    You can say the same for Linux. Many of those distros are not for lay people either but some are, particularly Ubuntu, which can be thought of as their PC-BSD.
     
  22. Zare

    Zare New Member

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    The above post is entirely correct. Why should every OS be "user friendly"? I quoted user-friendly on purpose, because not every user has a same vision of friendly attribute. If i am the user, FreeBSD is way, WAY more friendly than any incarnation of Windows. If my mother is the user, it would be completely opposite.

    But the topic is about sysinstall. I've had a fair share of pain with it, but i've used it for 10 years now and it's done it's job. A lot of it is missing - GEOM and ZFS support come first to mind. But IMHO the choice with new bsdinstall is valid; we'll have to do manual installations if we want newer functionalities right now, until bsdinstall goes mainstream, however doing a new framework grounds-up is a better choice than patching something that clearly belongs in another era.
     
  23. kpedersen

    kpedersen Member

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    I too am a little disappointed by the FreeBSD installer (both sysinstall && bsdinstall)

    I wish it was made simpler by getting rid of any menu based system and just asking a series of questions (like OpenBSD / NetBSD) where I can just keep tapping enter accepting the sane defaults and not having to navigate the menus with a keyboard.

    What FreeBSD should never use by default (And luckily I don't think it ever will) is a X11/GUI installer. They just piss me off and have limitations when installing via a serial console.

    "I only want to install an operating system... Not go to an art exhibition!" - Ludwig van Beethoven 1816

    Pretty much sums it up...
     
  24. AndyUKG

    AndyUKG Member

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    Hi,

    Just my opinion on this.
    Sorry I can't understand why you find this arrogant. I use FreeBSD exclusively for servers, I believe that's what the developers concentrate on, and I like that fact. Another group of people concentrate on making it more user friendly, hence PC-BSD. What's the problem? :S
    I guess Solaris has been make more desktop friendly in recent years, there are various reasons for this, but server OS's such as AIX, HP-UX, Solaris are normally not designed for laypeople, they are designed to be as reliable as possible in a server environment. That's why they are so good in that role, as is FreeBSD. There are core things that need work such as better driver support (I know they work very hard on this, just they don't have infinite resources) that would seem to be a much higher priority than making it easier to install GNOME for someone who wants a desktop OS.

    thanks Andy.
     
  25. jnbek

    jnbek New Member

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    Gonna throw my two cents into this mix. I've used FreeBSD since 4.4, I love FreeBSD, I have all the daemon stickers attached to everything, except my new guitars which I plan to correct shortly. I have no problem with sysinstall, my only complaint with it being when they moved it from /stand/ to /usr/sbin/ back in 200(4|5). However, after 10 years of using FreeBSD, I do share a concern about the fact the installer interface hasn't changed at all, with the exception of asking about which language(s) of documentation to install. I long have tried to evangelize FreeBSD to people, many of whom are Linux geeks, who found themselves lost after rebooting and after (insert some excuse, lack of driver, laziness, etc here).. Have gone off and installed (Insert some newbie *nix here). While admittedly, I've not installed PC-BSD recently, I do think the fact it's a separate 'distro', located in a different place is not conducive to newbie adoption. When people hear of FreeBSD, they're going to want choices. One of Ubuntu's biggest draws is it offers it's Server (think FreeBSD) and it's Desktop (think.. umm well Ubuntu) on the same page, under the same name. PC-BSD suggests another distro, not the same as FreeBSD. In my low valued opinion, I think the two projects should be equally available in the same place, and marketed as Server and Desktop versions. That way, everyone hearing about FreeBSD will be able to taste the nectar of goodness the rest of us have come to know and love, in any manner they choose to.
    </two_cents>
     
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