Why FreeBSD ISO files are not more compatible?

yurtesen

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I am wondering why the FreeBSD ISO files are not more compatible in a way that they can be written to USB drives easily with some tools? Instead we need an .img file to do that while this works with Microsoft or Linux images?

For example see what the author of Rufus tells about this:
https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/issues/809

Thanks!
 

drhowarddrfine

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I don't understand. I have no problems writing an ISO to USB drives. Maybe I'm misremembering something since I haven't done it in a while.
 
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yurtesen

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How do you write the FreeBSD ISO image to USB flash drive? I think you are mistaken because if it worked, it would make no sense to provide the IMG file?
 

cwf-ml

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That thread you quote seems clear to me. The FreeBSD files are standards compliant in every way, and they work. There is no need for some 3rd party tool to be able to convert ISO to memstick, since the Project already delivers memstick image variants.

The Rufus author, on the other hand, somehow deludes himself into the notion that all people have to use a Linux boot loader, and those who don't are somehow evil (and he talks a lot of unsupported trash about the BSD boot loader in the process). That mind set will get him nowhere.

What am I missing here?
 

Snurg

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I tried dding the FreeBSD .iso image to a memstick, and my computers didn't boot it. Dunno why.
Installing via a CD worked, however.
My computer is a HP workstation, so I am not sure whether it's because of low quality.
Knoppix Linux flawlessly boots from stick with all my computers.
So I guess the OP is right.
FreeBSD ISO files seem no longer USB stick compatible. At least not on all computers.
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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Why would you try and put an ISO onto a USB drive when there are specific versions especially for this purpose? mini memstick and full memstick USB versions. What more could you ask for? Why do you want to put an optical based disk image on a USB drive?
 

drhowarddrfine

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So I guess the OP is right.
You are the OP. The guy you linked to is who you are referring to.

As I said I did two years ago, the FreeBSD handbook shows, and others have said, we have no issues with this. Phishfry brings up an interesting question.
 
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yurtesen

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Because you can have 1 image which works on USB and CDROM/DVD. In either case CD/DVD are not used that often anymore unless you are installing something into a VM. Now FreeBSD has several images CDROM, DVD, USB, UEFI.
Reason 1
It makes things less complicated
Reason 2
Because everybody else does it (probably because of reason 1)


Edit: I guess the question is what is the advantage of separate things when you can have all in one?
 

drhowarddrfine

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FreeBSD is a professional operating system for professionals. If one is finding it a tough time figuring out how to install with a USB stick, then I would suggest they go with Windows.
 

cwf-ml

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I tried dding the FreeBSD .iso image to a memstick, and my computers didn't boot it. Dunno why.
Because they are El Torrito CDROM ISO images. No Linux CD distro will work if you do that, either.
If you want install FreeBSD from memstick, use the corresponding memstick image and put that on your usb.
Knoppix Linux flawlessly boots from stick with all my computers.
So I guess the OP is right.
FreeBSD ISO files seem no longer USB stick compatible. At least not on all computers.
They never were. There is no such thing as "Stick compatible" ISO files. Rufus dissects and rearranges Linux CDs to make them work from MBR/FAT because it has enough understanding about how they and their boot loader (grub) work. It hat that knowledge because its author invested time to learn how they work and to write code handling them. That same author is refusing to do likewise for BSD but instead expects BSD to be just like Linux. Which it isn't.

It isn't too hard to do that for BSD, too. Basically, you would need to unpack the el torrito floppy image into its parts, rearrange them in a ufs image on the cd, adapt some boot loader settings and then take the rest of the iso image and make them a second ufs image, too.

But hey, Mr Rufus doesn't want to do ufs, bsd boot loader or other such questionable things. He's quite content that Grub is everything we all ever need. So there's that.

What I don't understand is why his tool can not simply ask for the memstick version and copy that to the stick. AFAICT Rufus does support dd....
 

Phishfry

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There is no UEFI FreeBSD version. The same bootloader is used on legacy BIOS systems along with UEFI.

But images for optical drives big and small and for memstick big and small do exist. It makes sense to me.
 

vigole

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Phishfry

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Well I stand corrected. You were right there. Release 10.3 required different versions for UEFI, Release 11 will not.
 

cwf-ml

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As I said I did two years ago, the FreeBSD handbook shows, and others have said, we have no issues with this. Phishfry brings up an interesting question.
I beg to differ here. Actually, there are a bunch of uses where more abstract support from 3rd-party tools might be nifty. For instance, think installation libraries, multi-image install sticks and the like, used in large, living professional environments.

FreeBSD's installation process has - certainly in the past - had issues with compatibility. For instance, booting/installing with HP iLo always was a mess, success depending on iLo type, iLo firmware version, installation file type (more recent ilos support both memstick and ISO), and even file access type (iLo supports mount-from-client image or drive and mount-from-webserver). More recent ilos work with bringing the ISO in as a virtual USB device, and I've seen my share of installations hanging not finding that, being too fast or too slow for it to appear, and even completely balking at the device, even though FreeBSD in General always supported it.

Having one tool that reliably sorts out this crap and can match whatever the situation demands would have been helpful in many cases. But as things are, HP - like most other vendors - hide behind the it's too complicated anyway excuse.

So, no software ecology is so perfect that it would not, in any case, benefit from support by third party tools. "We don't need that, anyway" seems too easy an excuse to me.
 

drhowarddrfine

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I didn't say there was no use for such things. I'm questioning what the problem the other guy is having.
 

wblock@

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We do have a lot of installer files, and it is confusing to new users. I personally don't see why we even need separate images for i386 and amd64, I know those can both be installed by one installer.

The Linux "ISO" images are actually a custom hybrid of CD and hard drive images. I tried some FreeBSD hybrid images from Devin Teske a couple of years ago, but they did not work on VirtualBox. That was a while back, don't know the situation now. Anyone interested in improving this is welcome to join in. Remember, too, that Ubuntu is a commercial enterprise, and has put a lot of money into their system. FreeBSD is largely developed by volunteers, but some well-meaning person developing improved installer image creation, or sponsoring others to do so, would be welcome also.
 

kpa

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You will also notice that all of those "universal" ISO/memstick images are using a custom boot loader such as GRUB. Using GRUB or anything similar on the official FreeBSD images is not a workable solution for obvious reasons.
 
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yurtesen

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What do you mean by using something similar to grub is not a workable solution? I am not saying grub but something which would provide similar minimal functionality for image only? It is not so obvious to me :)
 

aht0

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I am wondering why the FreeBSD ISO files are not more compatible in a way that they can be written to USB drives easily with some tools? Instead we need an .img file to do that while this works with Microsoft or Linux images?
For example see what the author of Rufus tells about this:
https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/issues/809

Thanks!
You could have Linux iso that you do not need any 3rd party tool for, just DD. OpenSUSE is using hybrid-iso format that you can simply DD to USB or spare SATA disk and it works as installation disk flawlessly. For that matter, "most Linuxes" are IMHO deep behind the curve.

The rant can go also opposite way. I used LiLi Linux Loader, some years a go I noticed how OpenSUSE version "supported" was there pretty ancient (12.1) and wrote the dev about it. He wrote back that he cannot bring it up to "date" with newer 13.2 because Novell changed the iso's format different from other linuxes. When I wrote back that he could just use windows port for DD utility for OpenSUSE and along with it, introduce FreeBSD/OpenBSD img/fs file support, I received no further response.

As is, FreeBSD img files tend to be smaller downloads than iso's. Happy as it is.
For example OpenSUSE iso is 4,5Gb+ and it does not matter if you are going to burn it on DVD or write it to USB. Single monster download.
 

Snurg

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You are the OP.
No I am not. Please read more carefully.
You could have Linux iso that you do not need any 3rd party tool for, just DD. OpenSUSE is using hybrid-iso format that you can simply DD to USB or spare SATA disk and it works as installation disk flawlessly.
I believe to have read in some FreeBSD (probably outdated) handbook or FAQ instructions that one can just dd the FreeBSD .iso onto a stick.
Thus I assumed that it's a sort of hybrid iso. Maybe I was unattentive and didn't notice the memory stick images. Or these didn't work. Or was it because there are only netinstall but no full USB images?
Whatever, I forgot. It's a while ago and I wasn't in the mood to investigate USB boot issues. I apologize.

FreeBSD is a professional operating system for professionals. If one is finding it a tough time figuring out how to install with a USB stick, then I would suggest they go with Windows.
Personally I doubt that it justifies accusing people of unprofessionality if they prefer to just burn a CD to get an installation done quickly instead of wasting time investigating potentially nontrivial USB boot problems which are of no importance to actual system operation.

I tried some FreeBSD hybrid images from Devin Teske a couple of years ago, but they did not work on VirtualBox. That was a while back, don't know the situation now. Anyone interested in improving this is welcome to join in.
Is there a good starting point to read further about FreeBSD hybrid images?
 
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