Solved Unable to "bless" FreeBSD 13 boot file on a Mac Mini (Late 2012)



New Member

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Have you tried just installing on the external disk without blessing and boot FreeBSD

Yes, I have tried that. While the Mac Mini Startup Manager alllows you to select the disk, it doesn't detect or start FreeBSD from it. I get the same error / output as I described above.

Problem is probably SIP now

I do not think so - SIP comes to picture only after macOS boots. This seems more like a firmware issue.

Given your use of macOS: I assume that you'll want at least a desktop environment, maybe much more, on FreeBSD.

True. I only plan to use lightweight WMs - either JWM or FluxBox that only need a few MB's of memory to run (I have already experimented with FreeBSD + Fluxbox on a Virtualbox VM with 2 GB RAM and it seems to work fine). (If I remember right, bigger swaps were necessary once only because RAM was limited and expensive. That is no longer the case and I think 1 or 2 GB is more than sufficient for today's modern system that have both faster processors and larger capacity RAM 8+ GB. I did read that ZFS does need a lot of RAM (though it frees it as necessary), and thus had a doubt if you suggested larger swap size keeping ZFS in mind?

Bigger pictures include future readers who might have the separate issue. Thanks.

Agreed - as per your suggestion, I have started a new thread here - FreeBSD 13 not Booting from External HDD on Mac Mini (Late 2012).


Son of Beastie

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… if you suggested larger swap size keeping ZFS in mind? …

The suggestion is unrelated to management of memory for ZFS.

… RAM was limited and expensive. That is no longer the case …

Similarly, hard disk drives have become relatively inexpensive.

… FreeBSD 13 on an external HDD. …

Visualise yourself using the installation for between three and five years. All the things that you might want to do, in the future, some of which you can not predict.

If you limit yourself, now, to 1 GB swap, then when you require more you'll either:
  • use all or part of an additional disk for the shortfall; or
  • reformat the original disk – be prepared for e.g. backup and restore of everything in the pool
– that's it, in a nutshell. Both actions are possible, but neither is ideal.

HDD space is cheap. Throw a good amount of it at swap, now, so that you'll never need to think about the bother of reformatting during the lifetime of the disk.

Some discussion of memory here: