Solved Why FreeBSD secret tricks?

SirDice

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Asking questions on forums like this, make sure you don't just say "car won't start, why?" but "car won't start, it has fuel, spark, motor spins".
If I had a penny for every user that posted, "I installed <insert application> and it doesn't work.", without any further context or information I would be a rich man indeed.
 

mer

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SirDice Exactly. Love them or hate them, I learned a lot about how to ask questions simply by reading OpenBSD mailing lists. Even if it's a simple question, showing you put in effort to find the answer on your own, instead of getting just RTFM, you'd get told which manual to read.
 

SirDice

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That has basically been the premise since the start of the forums here. Like Jose said, give a man a fish... We generally don't like to spoonfeed people because you don't learn anything from that. We will try and point you in the right direction, but you have to do the legwork yourself. The journey matters more than the destination itself.
 
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bobmc

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contact the docs mailing list and offer up a suggestion of how to improve the handbook
The handbooks are well organised and readable. However, the procedures described may not apply in every context.

I tinkered with Xorg a few times and gave up with the hope I could do without it. I once worked on embedded systems which had powerPCs without integrated graphics. They had IP address set via serial port and then ethernet downloads. VxWorks, C coding, Midnight Commander, and Emacs were my preferred tools. I am not interested graphic widgets.

Now I am retired but need to be creative and I like software. So I thought I could adopt a few FreeBSD ports and fix a few bugs. But many of the bugs depend upon the graphical interface. And the kernel loads the graphical modules. This makes the graphical support an *essential* feature for many use-cases.

I am satisfied with the Alt-Fx feature for selecting virtual consoles. In addition, emacs buffers open files so they can rapidly be visited and or seen ins split views. But it would be a little faster to have a multitasking graphical view. I am wondering about the workflow of FreeBSD developers. Do they use Xorg. Do they test that the loading from /boot/modules/ actually works. If so, why not provide a test case as a friendly demo for new people.

I am reminded of Tsujigiri -- when a Samurai tests a new sword on a random passerby.
lt is sometimes used by software people, as sort of a joke, when talking about bugs and insufficient testing.
 

Beastie7

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That has basically been the premise since the start of the forums here. Like Jose said, give a man a fish... We generally don't like to spoonfeed people because you don't learn anything from that. We will try and point you in the right direction, but you have to do the legwork yourself. The journey matters more than the destination itself.

This is hilarious to hear. No sane person who values their time (thus money) would bother with postmortem, search and fire, Lego-like configuration. The Handbook teaches you how to build a graphical server, not a production ready desktop.
 

scottro

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Lots of times, when you're starting, you don't know what to ask. As SirDice answered early on, some stuff is so second nature after awhile, you don't think of it as work. You have to, to state the obvious, decide what is worth it to you and what is too much work.

We hope you stay, but if it's just trouble for you with no advantages, there is no shame in choosing something else. Like mer I wind up in situations where wife or other family members have computer questions, and don't want to hear, when I ask, what system is it, and they answer Windows, me saying, *THERE'S* your problem .
 

meine

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Not meaning to troll or whatever, but I got attracted by maybe getting to know some 'secret tricks' on this OS, like hitting Ctrl-V-I-M <Esc> to start some editor.

But it seems to be just a RTFM and config matter...
 

mer

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The Handbook teaches you how to build a graphical server, not a production ready desktop.
I'm not trying to be confrontational, but what do you consider to be the difference between the two?

If I install FreeBSD vanilla, don't serve anything to any other machine, install a graphical environment, graphical applications that I need, is that a graphical server or a desktop? I'm struggling with what you mean by "production ready desktop".
I understand the OP's perspective "If GhostBSD can do all this as part of an install, why can't FreeBSD?" I can accept that, especially if one is new to FreeBSD. I think an answer was what SirDice pointed out to me sysutils/desktop-install. I took a look at what that is doing and it's pretty much everything to create a usable desktop with minimal fuss. It may not turn off "server-ish" stuff, but it looks like it does a decent job.

Threads like this, from newcomers are an opportunity for old-timers to nudge in the "BSD direction".
 

astyle

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There's more than 1 way to do it. For example, in Windows, I was often flabbergasted at how a registry hack of the correct hkey would fix a keyboard - I would just reinstall a keyboard driver, reboot, or roll back an update. But then I discovered that all those other fixes - they ultimately fix the same hkey. And that was not really mentioned in any Windows manual I knew of - regisgtry hacks are considered the 'secret trick' in Windows world. Example over. Same ideas apply in FreeBSD - sysctl has over 500 tunables. Not impossible to learn about them, but they are a 'secret trick' in FreeBSD world. I would have never guessed to use them unless that usage is pointed out to me as part of trying to set something up.
 

kpedersen

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I'm not trying to be confrontational, but what do you consider to be the difference between the two?
If I had to guess, a graphical server must have a GUI (or it would just be a "normal" server). Whereas a production ready desktop can just be a command prompt without X11 for those who are proficient with that kind of environment.

Or did they mean a production ready graphical desktop? In all honesty, I haven't seen a commercial production ready desktop for many years. Since Solaris 10 probably.
 
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msplsh

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He kind of has a point in that you need to know what kind of hardware you have in order to know what driver to install. And sometimes the driver works for things that aren't explicitly listed in the documentation. It would be nice to run some program that would match up vendor and device IDs for X and kernel modules that aren't in by default and point you in the right direction as to what to install (a package or available module). Might require some mandatory annotations in packages. Now that base comes with Lua, maybe some progress can be made on that front.

I too have experience using FreeBSD so that it doesn't take a lot of fiddling to get it set up but that doesn't mean I liked learning about all the obscure locations where information was located or what magic words I had to put into the manpage search to get what I wanted. They aren't even sufficient at times and I have to dig through commit comments. I don't view these as useful, transferrable skills for end users and somebody who isn't a professional setting up FreeBSD multiple times shouldn't have to learn them.

The answer to the original post is that nobody cares enough to set up some useful "signage" and that's worked out as well as the project has expected it to.
 

mer

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The sysutils/desktop-installer is doing a best match of driver based on pciconf information. It gets a lot of fun with Nvidia cards because older cards need older drivers, some of the AMD/Radeon have similar requirements. Intel stuff based on the i915 has been mostly backwards compatible (newer versions of the driver seem to work with older hardware).

I have no connection with the port I keep mentioning; only reason I do is that a quick look at the source it seems to do a lot or all of what the OP was talking about.
Maybe an update to the Handbook about "here's one way to get a graphical desktop without a lot of fuss".
 

Alain De Vos

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In fact the handbook should have 4 sections.
1. Non accelerated video cards
2. Intel
3. Radeon/AMD
4. NVidia.
 

meine

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My computer has HD 8000 series graphics known as Kabini. It did not work with FreeBSD after trying suggestions from the Handbook and forum HowTos so I tested with GhostBSD. The main difference is kbd_list="/boot/modules/amdgpu.ko" in rc.conf (there are 24 kabini modules). Now it works.

I don't understand why working with FreeBSD means reading manuals and helpful forums while typing commands that other people have already typed. This is very inefficient... scripting would be better. I would like for the system essential features to work with less than an hour of fiddling. Lets spend less time reverse-engineering so that more time could be invested in improvements.
There is a quality model called FURPS which reduces a hundred or more factors to the 5 most important.
Maybe USABILITY needs more attention.

If it is on how to set up a new FreeBSD box and you'll think the Handbook is too complicated/old school, just use the guides on Cooltrainer or Vermaden websites.
 

Trihexagonal

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I don't keep any Tricks, or Tips, secret from people. I've been trying to help people new to FreeeBSD learn how to build a FreeBSD desktop from scratch to use it as a desktop OS since 2016.

I just recently put my site Building A FreeBSD Desktop From Scratch back up after being offline for over a year in a whole different graphic design, new original content with more on the way and FreeBSD wallpapers I made.

I have a Beginners Tutorial updated 5-3-21 with a target audience of a Windows user who has never used the commandline that walks them step-by-step through installation of the FreeBSD Base System, compiling 3rd party programs from ports, to landing on a fully functional Fluxbox desktop with instructions and examples of required editing of System and Security files before surfing the web. It has the pf ruleset I use on my laptops along with a newly added modified ruleset for people who use CUPS

I have another tutorial on How To Spoof Your Ethernet MAC Address Using FreeBSD and how to reassign your original MAC without shutting the interface down that I added with the site upgrade.

A lesson coming in using ports that quiets the quandary of a question quizical questioners quite often ask "Why use ports in a Beginners Tutorial???" A demo version of what the site would look like in valid handwritten XHTML 1.0 Frameset and CSS to horrorify the smartPhone users. It's currently all handwritten valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional and Level 3 CSS with no scripting or ads.

The Beginners Tutorial was posted here in the forums in 2017 and is currently ranked #1 on a Google search for FreeBSD Desktop Tutorial. Before I took the site down I had 3 or the top 5 results including an article in where freebsdnews.com picked it up in the forums and featured a screenshot ILUXA took of his box.

It was featured once before when posted on a now defunct Board where I used my bots name Siseneg to post that was picked up by the English and Arabic Facebook pages of bsdmag.org.

 
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mer

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I don't keep any Tricks, or Tips, secret from people. I've been trying to help people new to FreeeBSD learn how to build a FreeBSD desktop from scratch to use it as a desktop OS since 2016.
I'm in the same boat; never had an issue with trying to help people, answer questions. Much better when "everyone knows".
At least that's what I think.
 

tingo

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FreeBSD - there is only one "secret" trick - FreeBSD is for people who can and like to read. Read the excellent Handbook, and all the other documentation available.
When it comes to asking questions, being able to think (so you can ask smart questions) and write coherent sentences helps too.

If that is too much to ask of a new user, perhaps that new user would be happier with a video game instead of a computer running a real operating system.
 

Trihexagonal

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My familiarity with video game menus was instrumental in me figuring out the first computer I ever touched, an AppleII, and it took me from Friday afternoon until Monday morning to do it.

When they upgraded to a newer model I picked it up, set it up and had to show them how to boot it up by flipping the floppy during the boot process was because I was the only one who had RTFM.

For some reason I didn't think the FreeBSD Handbook applied to PC-BSD so I figured this one out the hard way with google-fu and driven determination.
 

ct85711

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Luckily, I had a leg up in how to setup the system; was I was used to doing it on Gentoo for over 10 years. So moving to FreeBSD wasn't much different on getting X to work beyond figuring out if I needed nvidia or nvidia-modeset loaded. Now sound on the other hand took a while to get working in some fashion. (Some of that section in the Handbook needs to be redone, as it references software that's been removed a while back.)
 
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bobmc

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contact the docs mailing list and offer up a suggestion of how to improve the handbook.
After thinking for a few days, I believe the issue is the need for another computer beside the FreeBSD one being setup. That is, I am typing on the BSD console while reading freebsd.org on the screen of another computer. This is a frustrating way to work for me.

I just discovered book.txt, a plain text version of each handbook in
/usr/local/share/doc/freebsd/en_US.ISO8859-1 .
If I do grep "\#" book.txt > list1.txt there are about 2000 commands or statements for the entire handbook but only chapter 5 matters for now. And book.txt can be read in one split screen view with rc.conf being copy-paste edited in the other view. VIM has some buffer switching capability but I use emacs from habit.

I like to copy sequences of steps, that share the same moment, into scripts for future use. For example,
Code:
# mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf ~/xorg.conf.etc
# mv /usr/local/etc/X11/xorg.conf ~/xorg.conf.localetc
-- this is a trivial example but how about
# poudriere options -j 11amd64 -p local -z workstation -f 11amd64-local-workstation-pkglist
--- sometimes retyping from a manual gets absurd

Editing rc.conf can be done from a script:-
Code:
 echo dbus_enable=\"YES\" >> /etc/rc.conf
 echo hald_enable=\"YES\" >> /etc/rc.conf
 echo gdm_enable=\"YES\" >> /etc/rc.conf
 

scottro

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It's worth noting sysrc isn't confined to /etc/rc.conf. For example, if you prefer using /etc/rc.conf.d/, there's the -f flag.
sysrc -r /etc/rc.conf/sshd sshd="YES"
It can be used in other places too, such as /boot/loader.conf.
 
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