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FreeBSD for power desktop Linux user?

bb

Member

Thanks: 11
Messages: 42

#26
Not really: Within the loader, the FreeBSD kernel is not active. The loader fully depends on the BIOS to setup devices.

Does lsdev show your internal drive?
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#28
bb said:
Not really: Within the loader, the FreeBSD kernel is not active. The loader fully depends on the BIOS to setup devices.

Does lsdev show your internal drive?
Yes, it does show the CDROM and the internal drive.

I think part of the problem is that the BIOS is refusing to detect the external USB hard drive even though it has that option for boot up.

Very peculiar. The BIOS is Phoenix BIOS from http://www.hp.com an update which I downloaded and flashed from Windows Vista (they only provide .exe files). Even with the "updated" BIOS I saw no change.
 

hitest

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 36
Messages: 312

#29
harishankar said:
Yes, it does show the CDROM and the internal drive.

I think part of the problem is that the BIOS is refusing to detect the external USB hard drive even though it has that option for boot up.

Very peculiar. The BIOS is Phoenix BIOS from http://www.hp.com an update which I downloaded and flashed from Windows Vista (they only provide .exe files). Even with the "updated" BIOS I saw no change.
That is a drag! Have you considered installing FreeBSD onto your HD? FreeBSD supports dual booting with Linux.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#30
I've decided to do the following:

1. I downloaded a Live Linux CD which I can use to back up and restore partitions (partedmagic). This so that I can take a full snapshot of my existing Debian system on an external drive.

2. I will wipe out Debian and install FreeBSD on my notebook and see how it goes. If there is a compelling reason to return to Linux, like lack of support for my hardware or wireless or I am unable to do something in FreeBSD which I absolutely want to do, I can always restore Debian.

It's a bit of a risk and gamble to mess with a well-established working, but I think with appropriate back up it should not be a problem.

Unfortunately I have no second computer or laptop free at the moment on which I can test FreeBSD which would be ideal.

I thought of using Virtualbox, but that will not give me a full experience of the OS as Virtualbox's own drivers will avoid hardware issues with FreeBSD.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#31
hitest said:
That is a drag! Have you considered installing FreeBSD onto your HD? FreeBSD supports dual booting with Linux.
I just missed your reply. Actually I don't have any free space on the HD and I cannot resize the Linux partition as well because it's quite full at the moment (almost 75%).

I don't want to get rid of Vista because I need it for Skype which I use to communicate with my brother overseas, and Skype won't play with 64-bit Linux even. Proprietary crap as it is, it's the only voice chat solution with video and there's no reliable video chat software on Linux either.
 

hitest

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 36
Messages: 312

#32
harishankar said:
I just missed your reply. Actually I don't have any free space on the HD and I cannot resize the Linux partition as well because it's quite full at the moment (almost 75%).

I don't want to get rid of Vista because I need it for Skype which I use to communicate with my brother overseas, and Skype won't play with 64-bit Linux even. Proprietary crap as it is, it's the only voice chat solution with video and there's no reliable video chat software on Linux either.
I understand. That is a smart idea to make a snapshot back-up of your Debian installation. I keep one partition of Windows XP Pro SP3 on one of my PCs so that I can easily access some proprietary company software.
I hope you enjoy the FreeBSD install, my friend! :)
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#33
hitest said:
I understand. That is a smart idea to make a snapshot back-up of your Debian installation. I keep one partition of Windows XP Pro SP3 on one of my PCs so that I can easily access some proprietary company software.
I hope you enjoy the FreeBSD install, my friend! :)
Yes, I'll need a few days though. I'm smack in the middle of my exams and this seems to be a non-ideal time for messing with my computer.

However, I'll still make a snapshot of my system before deciding whether to completely wipe it out or not.

I'd have preferred an external drive install, but for whatever reason that seems unfeasible. It's a pity because I have plenty of space on my 320 GB (effective 297 GB) seagate USB hard drive for this kind of thing and it's going waste.

The internal notebook drive is only around 150 GB effective capacity and I was unable to reduce Vista's NTFS partition size below 70 GB.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#34
I've done it...

Installed FreeBSD 8.0-current on an external USB hard drive which actually booted from the BIOS.

I've installed Xorg, Xfce 4 and I'm now typing this in Firefox. It took a while to download the Xorg files, but luckily the connection was fast.

There's no pre-packaged binary KDE 4 for -current; had I realized it I would have downloaded 7.2-release. It will take ages to compile from ports. :(

However, thanks to FreeBSD and the excellent handbook which I read from a tty, it was relatively painless (considering that FreeBSD is a geek OS anyway :D)
 

hitest

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 36
Messages: 312

#35
harishankar said:
I've done it...

Installed FreeBSD 8.0-current on an external USB hard drive which actually booted from the BIOS.

I've installed Xorg, Xfce 4 and I'm now typing this in Firefox. It took a while to download the Xorg files, but luckily the connection was fast.

There's no pre-packaged binary KDE 4 for -current; had I realized it I would have downloaded 7.2-release. It will take ages to compile from ports. :(

However, thanks to FreeBSD and the excellent handbook which I read from a tty, it was relatively painless (considering that FreeBSD is a geek OS anyway :D)
Congratulations, my friend!! Nicely done! Yes. Compiling KDE4 from source does take time. For future reference you can also install the KDE4 packages from the CLI with this command:

# pkg_add -r kde4

That will pull down, install KDE4 from the Internet.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#36
hitest said:
Congratulations, my friend!! Nicely done! Yes. Compiling KDE4 from source does take time. For future reference you can also install the KDE4 packages from the CLI with this command:

# pkg_add -r kde4

That will pull down, install KDE4 from the Internet.
This is what I get when I try

harishankar# pkg_add -r kde4
Error: FTP Unable to get ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/ports/amd64/packages-8-current/Latest/kde4.tbz: File unavailable (e.g., file not found, no access)
pkg_add: unable to fetch 'ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/ports/amd64/packages-8-current/Latest/kde4.tbz' by URL
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#38
I've added other programs from pkg_add, so the internet definitely works.

Also I ran portsnap fetch update but I didn't try compiling kde from source yet.

pkg_add xfce4 definitely worked. It appears that kde is not in -current as a binary package (or is it)?
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#40
DutchDaemon said:
Thanks. Looks like I dived into the deep end of FreeBSD. :)

But I've done a lot so far. Got even my favourite game Wormux to play.

What I've done so far in freebsd (but it took a while of configuration etc. etc):

1. installed X, Xfce and su login for regular user
2. mountable/umountable filesystems for regular user
3. sound, video to work
4. network and internet
5. msttcore fonts (this one was easy)

The only thing missing so far is KDE. I would definitely start using FreeBSD as my regular desktop if only it supported:

1. 3d acceleration for playing more graphic intensive games (this appears to be promising for x86-64 though).
2. my wizardpen graphics pen tablet which I use regularly to draw and colour my comics.

Everything else seems surmountable. In fact, I am surprised at FreeBSD's friendliness beneath the black and white command line, but maybe because of my already geeky background I'm assuming things too much. :D
 

tangram

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 74
Messages: 524

#41
Nvidia + i386 is pretty decent in term of graphics performance. amd64 drivers are being worked on.
 

hitest

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 36
Messages: 312

#43
harishankar said:
The problem is my laptop is not booting any i386 OS I've tried so far.
I'm running FreeBSD 7.2-amd64. Maybe you might like to try the 64 bit version of the stable branch of FreeBSD? This version comes with KDE 4.2.2 on the DVD.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#44
hitest said:
I'm running FreeBSD 7.2-amd64. Maybe you might like to try the 64 bit version of the stable branch of FreeBSD? This version comes with KDE 4.2.2 on the DVD.
It doesn't matter as of now. I wouldn't want to download another 2 GB just for this.

But once there is a stable release of 8.0, is it possible to switch from -current to -stable?
 

DrJ

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 45
Messages: 308

#45
harishankar said:
But once there is a stable release of 8.0, is it possible to switch from -current to -stable?
Sure, that is easy enough. You will have to recompile all your ports though (or use compat7 in the mean while).

EDIT -- I misread, and thought you were going from 7-STABLE to 8. Going from -current to -stable, both on 8, is trivial and requires no recompiliation.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#47
Thanks so far for all the help.

I think I'll purchase/download a FreeBSD 8 CD once it's released as production stable if I plan to install it as my main Operating System. By then I think there will be a working nvidia driver for x86-64. :)

I think except the annoyance/time wastage of having to compile a few things which are not binary packaged, FreeBSD is otherwise an excellent desktop OS.

The only thing that is likely to hinder my full move to FreeBSD is that I won't be able to use my graphics pen tablet using it (I use it often enough that I cannot do without a working driver for this device).

Until then I'm happy dual-booting (or booting off my external USB in this instance). :)
 

wonslung

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 16
Messages: 850

#48
I think the system of compiling software from source is a goods one once you get used to it. Sure it takes more time than binary downloads but you end up with a system set up to your specific needs with software optimized for your hardware. The only other downfall of the system is that no two systems are really the same and that can make it somewhat more difficult to track down problems when they DO occur but in my experience with the freebsd forums here, there hasn't been a major issue i haven't been able to resolve yet.

I feel like i've learned more in the first 2 weeks of using FreeBSD than i did the entire time i used linux and that's saying a lot. It's mopstly due to the help provided in this forum and the EXCELENT online documentation via the freebsd handbook, that is an unparalleled source of information.
 

harishankar

Active Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 128

#49
wonslung said:
I think the system of compiling software from source is a goods one once you get used to it. Sure it takes more time than binary downloads but you end up with a system set up to your specific needs with software optimized for your hardware. The only other downfall of the system is that no two systems are really the same and that can make it somewhat more difficult to track down problems when they DO occur but in my experience with the freebsd forums here, there hasn't been a major issue i haven't been able to resolve yet.
I don't think I'll get used to compiling from source. I was using gentoo for around a year and then let it rot away, simply because the compile from source became MORE annoying over time. It wastes so much CPU cycles and time that I am surprised that a lot of people use this method of installing software.

The optimization part - well, it's very arguable point and I doubt whether the few microseconds of speed improvement is worth hours and hours of compilation.

I feel like i've learned more in the first 2 weeks of using FreeBSD than i did the entire time i used linux and that's saying a lot. It's mopstly due to the help provided in this forum and the EXCELENT online documentation via the freebsd handbook, that is an unparalleled source of information.
This is a totally different point from the above and I agree with you.

Learning a system is different from doing all the grunt work over and over again.

In my book learning should be about something fresh and bring you knowledge.

Doing grunt-work or repeatedly executing commands or being forced to wait hours to get something to work which should take a few minutes is not part of my learning agenda.
 

tangram

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 74
Messages: 524

#50
harishankar said:
I don't think I'll get used to compiling from source. I was using gentoo for around a year and then let it rot away, simply because the compile from source became MORE annoying over time. It wastes so much CPU cycles and time that I am surprised that a lot of people use this method of installing software.
Then just stick with [cmd=]freebsd-update[/cmd] and use packages instead of ports ;)