What Is The Biggest Hurdle In Getting FreeBSD To Work On A Given Machine? :)

RedPhoenix

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I know it's never really cut-and-dry, but I've noticed that usually, it's either the graphics or the Wi-Fi (sometimes both). I also know this applies to really ANY OS, but I'm being specific, since this is a FreeBSD forum... :) I also ask because I'm getting a cheap Laptop for an early birthday gift (Geeky squeals :D)! But the main reason I'm asking is because of the ASUS X205TA, which, historically, has had problems with anything BUT Windows 8/10. Also, I had a TON of Caffeine today. :) Think I'll SSH into FreeBSD and install Chocolate Doom! :) Have a good one, fellow BSD Knights! :D
 
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RedPhoenix

RedPhoenix

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Failure to do pre-purchase research/reading on said machine.
And once I again, I fail to see the obvious. :) Sorry. :) But beyond that, sometimes, there isn't ANY info available, which is something I'm worried about. :)
 

shepper

Aspiring Daemon

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Here is what I mean by pre-purchase research. Start by doing a web search: I used "ASUS x205ta + dmesg + linux"
I got this hit: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/ASUS_x205ta
Reading that I deduce that it has a wonky bios that only boots 32bit efi, broadcom wireless/bluetooth that needs firmware installed during boot, Intel baytrail video with C-state power saving issues and a special system on chip alsa quirk for sound. Each of these will likely be an Issue in FreeBSD and YOU could search each those issues on this forum and the web.
 
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RedPhoenix

RedPhoenix

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Here is what I mean by pre-purchase research. Start by doing a web search: I used "ASUS x205ta + dmesg + linux"
I got this hit: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/ASUS_x205ta
Reading that I deduce that it has a wonky bios that only boots 32bit efi, broadcom wireless/bluetooth that needs firmware installed during boot, Intel baytrail video with C-state power saving issues and a special system on chip alsa quirk. Each of these will likely be an Issue in FreeBSD and YOU could search each those issues on this forum and the web.
I know. :) I already did. Well, thanks for your replies. You took time out of your day to do that, and for that, I'm grateful. :)
 

sidetone

Daemon

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See, https://www.freebsd.org/releases/ under Hardware Notes (Freebsd 11.1-RELEASE Hardware Notes) for that. There's also using a component knowing it's not supported or being unsure how well it is supported, but getting it anyway, thinking you can provide some feedback on that. Installing and configuring the latest drivers that haven't been thoroughly tested or documented is a hurdle for someone who has no idea about developing drivers.

For a hurdle other than that, trying to find out the hard way what compiler utilities can't be avoided yet. (At this time, it's not worth it for most people, unless you have a spare computer to use.)

At one point for everyone, configuring a system, and learning over time how to get it the way they like it.
 
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RedPhoenix

RedPhoenix

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See, https://www.freebsd.org/releases/ under Hardware Notes (Freebsd 11.1-RELEASE Hardware Notes) for that. There's also using a component knowing it's not supported or being unsure how well it is supported, but getting it anyway, thinking you can provide some feedback on that. Installing and configuring the latest drivers that haven't been thoroughly tested or documented is a hurdle for someone who has no idea about developing drivers.

For a hurdle other than that, trying to find out the hard way what compiler utilities can't be avoided yet. (At this time, it's not worth it for most people, unless you have a spare computer to use.)

At one point for everyone, configuring a system, and learning over time how to get it the way they like it.
Thanks! :) This is the sort of answer I was looking for! :) Yes, I know how the /where part of freebsd.org talks about this. :)
 

Trihexagonal

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I won't go on another Thinkpad rant, but I prefer the ones made around 2007-2008 for my boxen and they can be had for as little as $50 on ebay. You just have to be looking to buy at the right time.

Sometimes that doesn't include a HDD or a battery so you have to watch carefully what you're buying and look for signs of wear when you do. But I know before I buy machines made then are going to be using supported hardware. Nvidia Optimus being the only trouble child. Most of mine are Core2 Duo @ 2.0GHz or above with 4GB RAM minimum and I'm never short on resources during general desktop activities.
 

sidetone

Daemon

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Here are a few examples for hardware:

I bought an AMD CPU with GPU cores on it, about 3 years ago. Immediately, I was able to verify that the CPU was usable if the BIOS settings were set properly. The whole time I had to use a separate graphics card for smooth video, or use the VESA driver. It was only until a few days ago that I was able to use the graphics capabilities from that GPU, (without VESA) from their improvements to the drivers on FreeBSD 11-Stable.

I bought a Bluetooth game controller, which could also be used through a USB cable. I was unaware that Bluetooth versions past 2.x were unsupported, and versions 2.0 were poorly supported or unsupported at all, depending on the driver. Its capability through the USB cable, without Bluetooth, worked, but it took a lot of reading conflicting and inadequate documentation trying to test configuring it, and the way to do it is still not standard. Any more recent Bluetooth version capability may take a while, and many don't expect it at all.

Another one is MIDI instruments that don't use USB. I never tried it, but if it is to work, it will work with the sndiod MIDI server and other utilities from audio/sndio. Still, the API to many applications to that server is not ready yet. I also haven't heard of anyone getting it to work with MIDI instruments from FreeeBSD.

In the past, I've had trouble getting a scanning, printing and all-in-one HP device to work. It has worked in the past, and several other times, when I tried to make it work. It takes a lot of interpreting documentation, and sometimes trial-and-error. Removing an option from the Kernel can also prevent functionalities of it from working. Setting up the right X11 fonts is also important, depending on who you're printing for.

Working on something, and putting together notes for others to read, perhaps helps others test out bugs and try out drivers.

I tried to avoid GCC and binutils in the Base system:
GCC could be avoided fairly easily, but not always for ports.
Through a lot of trial and error, by avoiding binutils, I've made my system not upgradable several times. After trying, I still don't have the knowledge to get back to an upgradable system, without fully reinstalling. Right now, I'll settle for binutils.
 

kpedersen

Daemon

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I won't go on another Thinkpad rant, but I prefer the ones made around 2007-2008 for my boxen and they can be had for as little as $50 on ebay. You just have to be looking to buy at the right time.
Yes, 2007, 2008 is the sweet spot. I bought a "modern" X1 Carbon 2nd gen and have largely been disappointed with it, the F1-12 keys have been replaced with this stupid touch strip that barely works in FreeBSD *or* Windows, the keys are crap and break quite often and the trackpoint buttons are almost defective.

I can only assume where I went wrong is that a business would never distribute X1 Carbons to their employees. I think even though it is called a Thinkpad, it is still just consumer junk. I will have to do better research next time and go for *the single most boring laptop possible*.

I am likely going to go back to another x61 quite soon (for the same price as a new X1 Carbon UK keyboard) but they *are* old and don't quite have the GPU grunt for sloppy "modern" software.

Why has a "2007 Inspired Thinkpad" manufacturer not started up yet? It is really strange that companies keep on churning out the same old crap. I actually don't quite know what to do in another 10 years if things don't get better haha.
 

scottro

Daemon

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The only problem (for my use) with the older machines is the wireless. I don't know if any of the BSDs give you 802.11ac speed on any card. I know I don't get it on my Intel cards. As for screen improvements, I admit that if I'm using a laptop to watch video, I'll use Linux on my Yoga's Haswell. FreeBSD-11.2BETA does support the Haswell (some folks were getting Haswell cards, at least, to work with 11.1, but it never did for me on a yoga2), but I get a better picture with Linux.

If you're at a place where you're using ethernet (cabled), and super duper graphics aren't that important (such as sshing into servers to manage them, then like others here, I'd probably go with an older Thinkpad. There's a place, which I can't find right now, the name was something like pcmobility or pctech which has---argh, found it, http://www.tekmobilitypc.com/ at good prices.
 
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RedPhoenix

RedPhoenix

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Here are a few examples for hardware:

I bought an AMD CPU with GPU cores on it, about 3 years ago. Immediately, I was able to verify that the CPU was usable if the BIOS settings were set properly. The whole time I had to use a separate graphics card for smooth video, or use the VESA driver. It was only until a few days ago that I was able to use the graphics capabilities from that GPU, (without VESA) from their improvements to the drivers on FreeBSD 11-Stable.

I bought a Bluetooth game controller, which could also be used through a USB cable. I was unaware that Bluetooth versions past 2.x were unsupported, and versions 2.0 were poorly supported or unsupported at all, depending on the driver. Its capability through the USB cable, without Bluetooth, worked, but it took a lot of reading conflicting and inadequate documentation trying to test configuring it, and the way to do it is still not standard. Any more recent Bluetooth version capability may take a while, and many don't expect it at all.

Another one is MIDI instruments that don't use USB. I never tried it, but if it is to work, it will work with the sndiod MIDI server and other utilities from audio/sndio. Still, the API to many applications to that server is not ready yet. I also haven't heard of anyone getting it to work with MIDI instruments from FreeeBSD.

In the past, I've had trouble getting a scanning, printing and all-in-one HP device to work. It has worked in the past, and several other times, when I tried to make it work. It takes a lot of interpreting documentation, and sometimes trial-and-error. Removing an option from the Kernel can also prevent functionalities of it from working. Setting up the right X11 fonts is also important, depending on who you're printing for.

Working on something, and putting together notes for others to read, perhaps helps others test out bugs and try out drivers.

I tried to avoid GCC and binutils in the Base system:
GCC could be avoided fairly easily, but not always for ports.
Through a lot of trial and error, by avoiding binutils, I've made my system not upgradable several times. After trying, I still don't have the knowledge to get back to an upgradable system, without fully reinstalling. Right now, I'll settle for binutils.
Yeah, I've noticed how even the most minute of params can cause things to work or not work at all. :) Imagine my happiness when I found out that all I had to do on my FreeBSD install on my Desktop, an HP with an AMD Graphics Card, when all I did in /etc/rc.conf was put
Code:
kld_list="radeonkms"
, and voila, my flat-screen T.V. worked with perfect resolution!! :D Not to knock Debian or anything, but the Driver had to be installed with apt-get. :) Just goes to show that FreeBSD ain't no slouch. :) And when Windows was on the same machine, it couldn't display the correct resolution, as it couldn't find the right Driver. Now, perfect resolution isn't really that important, but it just goes to show that when something is OPEN, it tends to be much better in quality. :) But I'm not a fanboy... When enough RAM is present, Windows does good... :) YMMV, and all that, however. :)
 
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RedPhoenix

RedPhoenix

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I won't go on another Thinkpad rant, but I prefer the ones made around 2007-2008 for my boxen and they can be had for as little as $50 on ebay. You just have to be looking to buy at the right time.

Sometimes that doesn't include a HDD or a battery so you have to watch carefully what you're buying and look for signs of wear when you do. But I know before I buy machines made then are going to be using supported hardware. Nvidia Optimus being the only trouble child. Most of mine are Core2 Duo @ 2.0GHz or above with 4GB RAM minimum and I'm never short on resources during general desktop activities.
Yeah, I know what you mean... :) Cheap, but oh-so-worth the price. :D Also, as far as System resources go, it's mostly a given that ANY FOSS Software and OS tends to be light on resources (even those that, by nature, need more, will be lighter than their proprietary counterparts, usually). :)
 

xtremae

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For me it literally was the keyboard which thankfully works just fine with OpenBSD.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

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xtremae That has nothing to do with the question and is off topic on this forum.

I'll answer this old topic, too. In 15 years, the only hardware issue I have ever had is with a Broadcom driver and wifi on an old Compaq laptop. Everything else I've ever used or bought has worked with FreeBSD.
 
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RedPhoenix

RedPhoenix

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xtremae That has nothing to do with the question and is off topic on this forum.

I'll answer this old topic, too. In 15 years, the only hardware issue I have ever had is with a Broadcom driver and wifi on an old Compaq laptop. Everything else I've ever used or bought has worked with FreeBSD.
Ah yes, Broadcom. :) I liken it to Caligula. Mass murderer of diverse computing. :D
 
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RedPhoenix

RedPhoenix

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Heeehehe, hoooheehaw - holding my belly now. OG, stop now. Hoho. Much caffeine here too - hurting now.
"But the high is worth the pain!" - Tailor Swift, while drinking Caffeine and debugging Java code. ;) (Lol, no hate for Java. OpenJDK is one of the first things I install in FreeBSD, OpenBSD and Linux. ;))
 

puretone

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I'm on a 2017 Dell XPS 9360 (i7-7500U 16GB-DDR3 256GB NVMe) and everything pretty much works out of the box. The Thunderbolt port doesn't like storage devices, but USB Type-C display & charging (both charging the laptop itself or charging a mobile phone from the laptop battery) work just fine... bonus: one less power supply adapter to lug around. The SD Card slot needs a little love, driver refuses to recognize/attach. I disabled the touchscreen (never use it & greasy paw smudges irritate me), along with the webcam (and overkill privacy sticker over the lens) & microphone, in BIOS because reasons. I removed the OEM "killer wireless" nonsense card for rifle target practice & swapped it for a flawless very well supported QCNFA222 Atheros NGFF/M.2 card, incidentally an OEM Dell card found on eBay for the price of peanuts. Synaptics client & loader.conf adjustment and you'll have a fully featured touchpad. Build drm-next-kmod from ports for a glorious display from the "infinity edge" screen. The FN-keys all work, albeit with a few minor xmodmap lines for 2 of the keys, the rest do as they are intended to. Audio with snd_hda works out of the box.
The only gripe and/or hurdle was the OEM-provided UEFI "security" nonsense interfering with my goal(s)...boot not immediately seeing the Windows bootloader, launches a bogus "system restore feature", akin to swimming floaties for babies I presume. This took all of 2 clicks and 25 seconds to straighten out and point it to the FreeBSD efi partition.
Oh and the battery still easily provides 8 to 9 hours on a single full charge, which is insane.
 
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RedPhoenix

RedPhoenix

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I'm on a 2017 Dell XPS 9360 (i7-7500U 16GB-DDR3 256GB NVMe) and everything pretty much works out of the box. The Thunderbolt port doesn't like storage devices, but USB Type-C display & charging (both charging the laptop itself or charging a mobile phone from the laptop battery) work just fine... bonus: one less power supply adapter to lug around. The SD Card slot needs a little love, driver refuses to recognize/attach. I disabled the touchscreen (never use it & greasy paw smudges irritate me), along with the webcam (and overkill privacy sticker over the lens) & microphone, in BIOS because reasons. I removed the OEM "killer wireless" nonsense card for rifle target practice & swapped it for a flawless very well supported QCNFA222 Atheros NGFF/M.2 card, incidentally an OEM Dell card found on eBay for the price of peanuts. Synaptics client & loader.conf adjustment and you'll have a fully featured touchpad. Build drm-next-kmod from ports for a glorious display from the "infinity edge" screen. The FN-keys all work, albeit with a few minor xmodmap lines for 2 of the keys, the rest do as they are intended to. Audio with snd_hda works out of the box.
The only gripe and/or hurdle was the OEM-provided UEFI "security" nonsense interfering with my goal(s)...boot not immediately seeing the Windows bootloader, launches a bogus "system restore feature", akin to swimming floaties for babies I presume. This took all of 2 clicks and 25 seconds to straighten out and point it to the FreeBSD efi partition.
Oh and the battery still easily provides 8 to 9 hours on a single full charge, which is insane.
Lol, you lucky Daemon..... :D
 
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RedPhoenix

RedPhoenix

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I agree with that, I remember when I was fresh to anything Linux, as a newbie i spent hours toiling during installation. I almost gave up. :)
Yeah, for me it was Ubuntu (I know, typical). :) What got me frustrated were Repos and WINE and adding i386 as an Arch. :( I know the pain, but, once you learn the ropes, and have the right Hardware, *BSD and other Unix/Unix-like Operating Systems can be EXCELLENT. :D Also, I had a ton of Mountain Dew. :D
 
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