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Xorg on FreeBSD 11.1 with ZFS

dhenzler

Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 57

#1
I have been trying to build a more robust platform for webserver and cloud use. I have an operational Linux Mint 18.2 system using BTRFS, but wanted to give ZFS a try. Solaris doesn't provide late enough release software to support NextCloud, or WordPress.

I built a system, and had it working with Gnome, however I wanted a better desktop. Cinnamon was my desired choice. I tried everything to get Cinnamon working. However most of the Help articles were for releases prior to 11.1. FreeBSD changes configuration settings and file locations enough to be frustrating.

I have followed the:
  • FreeBSD.org handbook re desktop environments (Chapter 5.7) The X window system
  • FreeBSD 11 Cooltrainer.org FreeBSD desktop How-To
  • FreeBSD Chapter 11.2 Starting Services
  • Antum Deluge How to setup FreeBSD with a Desktop Environment(2014)
  • How to setup Xorg with a nVidia driver (threads 52311)
  • FreeBSD 11.1 Release Installation Instructions
None of these documents has provided a CLEAR PATH to a successful Xorg installation of Gnome.

I have installed my software using Pkg Install, and followed the FSTAB instructions for making file space available for Dbus.

I think perhaps the use of ZFS may be at the root of this problem. I am unaware of what I did originally to get Gnome working, but have failed all attempts to duplicate it's installation, and or to get a desktop switcher operational.

I have been working with Linux and Solaris since about 2000. Have had many successful installations and done a fair amount of testing for my work at the State of CA, and privately. Now retired I have plenty of time to play, but after a week of attempts I am burnt out, and just want the flaming thing to work.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I am using an nVidia 8400CS card on an ASUS M5A78L-M/USB3 AM3+ AMD 760G + SB710 USB 3.0 HDMI uATX AMD Motherboard with a AMD Phenom II X3 B75 HDXB75WFK3DGM 3.0 GHz triple core Heka 95W

Help!
 

Snurg

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 235
Messages: 684

#2
ZFS is not the problem, I can assure you.

Basically, set up the base system.
Install the nvidia driver and Gnome meta packages. The latter should pull in the xorg stuff.
Regarding the xorg configuration, there are different opinions. Many say you shouldn't create a xorg.conf file. Others say, there is a nvidia setup program somewhere which creates xorg config. I never used that, as I have my standard xorg.conf I just copy from system to system and tailor it a bit. So I will keep quiet about that, as my way of doing that stuff is being frowned at.
I didn't know of fstab entries for dbus, never had such, always worked fine without.

Cinnamon port seems to have issues (black screen), there were some threads about it recently. So this was not your fault.
 

ShelLuser

Daemon

Thanks: 800
Messages: 2,008

#3
Setting up software on FreeBSD is pretty much the same as setting up the same software on other platforms. FreeBSD changes extremely little, the major difference is the somewhat forced installation into /usr/local but that's it. You can even (mostly) follow the official documentation for the projects and those instructions will more or less also apply to FreeBSD.

Anyway: the one thing I'm missing out on in the OP is the actual problem at hand. Where do things go wrong?

Apparently you did install some software, so that part seems done. All that's left then is configuration. Generally speaking X should be able to autodetect most stuff on its own. Still, I also set up an xorg.conf file which explicitly defines the nvidia driver (from x11/nvidia-driver).
 

Snurg

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 235
Messages: 684

#4
I guess two things: using the current driver instead of the legacy one, or problems with Gnome login manager.
I'd advise to add a login manager not before X is set up and works fine.
 

SirDice

Administrator
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Messages: 25,636

#5
ZFS is not the problem, I can assure you.
I agree, which filesystem is used is completely irrelevant in this case.

Install the nvidia driver and Gnome meta packages. The latter should pull in the xorg stuff.
Not completely though. It pulls in several Xorg libraries and whatnot but it won't be complete. Besides the drivers and the DE you really need to install a complete set with x11/xorg or at least x11/xorg-minimal.

I would install x11/xorg first, then the NVidia driver. Before doing anything else configure Xorg and make sure it works. Then install Gnome or whichever DE you want. Take it step by step. You need to learn to walk before you're able to run.
 

tankist02

Well-Known Member

Thanks: 28
Messages: 258

#6
Cinnamon never worked for me, I feel it is neglected in FreeBSD community. Gnome 3 is pretty outdated - 3.18, while the current stable release is 3.26. I had great success with Mate and XFCE - they work well on FreeBSD.
 

dhenzler

Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 57

#7
I tried two more times to get either Gnome3 or Cinnamon to work. Neither was successful Now mostly because the keyboard and mouse weren't detected. Reminds me of Solaris 8 days back when it was so finicky about video cards. Caused me to change video cards to get the system to work.

Now I have a fair investment in hardware and have settled on nVidia Cards. Not top end 3D graphics but just for a fast independent Graphics engine that provides good quality video. Have met with success on MS and Linux distros I've used. Now FreeBSD continues to lurk in the dark ages of installation. My guess is to keep the "CLUB" devoid of any but those who will follow the Berkley mantra. I am not a great fan of CSBerkley and so my choice is to SCREW IT! It isn't worth the time playing with people who don't want to play.

Not one of the articles mentioned earlier used the 11.1 distro as delivered. Everyone had their special way to work around problems. GDM is buggy... XDM is not quite right... use this instead... and on and on. I did get the system working under ZFS and all of the services I wanted operated properly, but only after weeks of coaching from people on this forum. I was unaware of sysrc being the ONLY way to modify .xinitrc to make it work. Downloaded plenty of reading material, and read it thoroughly, but none of the methods worked under 11.1.

I used xf86-video-nv as the driver for my nVidia 8400GS card. This should have workled fine for my 2D needs. But each time you load someone else's tweak and try it the system eventually becomes overloaded with content that doesn't react as it should.

I really wanted to make a test of ZFS for Nextcloud and also for Wordpress. But at some point the time it takes to make a good desktop available is beyond reasonable.

My advice to FreeBSD is to get your stuff together and make an installer with options for 3 or 4 desktop versions, or take Linux's lead and make install media for those so that is removed from the list of BS you need to fight through.

Dave
 

k.jacker

Active Member

Thanks: 104
Messages: 249

#8
No offense, but you should take a deep breath and calm down.

FreeBSD is an OS which gives you endless freedom to do what you want but it won't take you by the hand (like SirDice uses to say).

What's really important to know is, you can't just throw a DE (or other) on it and expect it to work right away...
Since you have all the freedom to configure it however you like, you have to do just that... start from zero.

In the long run that helps a lot to understand how FreeBSD works and everything fits together, but I understand newcomers feeling it is quite a challenge in the beginning.

Linux on the other hand seems to use the same DE and stuff but they come preconfigured to fit it, which they do not on FreeBSD (remember the freedom ;)).

So basically, FreeBSD starts on the console and installing e.g. Xorg, a DE and a login manager are separate things that come without any configuration.
To make them work, you have to set them up one by one!

Xorg first,check by manually running startx if it works.
Then the DE and after everything work, a login manager.

About videocards and drivers... the easiest is Intel integrated graphics as they don't need configuration of driver through xorg.conf.
Xorg will just detect them on startup automatically.
 

Preetpal

Member

Thanks: 16
Messages: 94

#9
I tried two more times to get either Gnome3 or Cinnamon to work. Neither was successful Now mostly because the keyboard and mouse weren't detected. Reminds me of Solaris 8 days back when it was so finicky about video cards. Caused me to change video cards to get the system to work.

Now I have a fair investment in hardware and have settled on nVidia Cards. Not top end 3D graphics but just for a fast independent Graphics engine that provides good quality video. Have met with success on MS and Linux distros I've used. Now FreeBSD continues to lurk in the dark ages of installation. My guess is to keep the "CLUB" devoid of any but those who will follow the Berkley mantra. I am not a great fan of CSBerkley and so my choice is to SCREW IT! It isn't worth the time playing with people who don't want to play.

Not one of the articles mentioned earlier used the 11.1 distro as delivered. Everyone had their special way to work around problems. GDM is buggy... XDM is not quite right... use this instead... and on and on. I did get the system working under ZFS and all of the services I wanted operated properly, but only after weeks of coaching from people on this forum. I was unaware of sysrc being the ONLY way to modify .xinitrc to make it work. Downloaded plenty of reading material, and read it thoroughly, but none of the methods worked under 11.1.

I used xf86-video-nv as the driver for my nVidia 8400GS card. This should have workled fine for my 2D needs. But each time you load someone else's tweak and try it the system eventually becomes overloaded with content that doesn't react as it should.
Honestly, why are using a video card that's over a decade old and having any performance expectations... You're obviously a software enthusiast, why not buy modern hardware instead of torturing yourself?

I first started using Gnome 3 on FreeBSD with a NVidia GTX 1050 Ti (which I am using now) by following this YouTube video (
) and then installing the NVidia drivers, it's not that hard or time consuming. Use ZFS snapshots for your OS and don't be so bothered to make configuration changes.
 

dhenzler

Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 57

#10
Because it works IN THE SAME EXACT MACHINE using Linux Mint 18. And there is nothing wrong with this OLD card. Just so happens that it's being used because I had it, and it works better than the on-board graphics...
 

Preetpal

Member

Thanks: 16
Messages: 94

#11
Because it works IN THE SAME EXACT MACHINE using Linux Mint 18. And there is nothing wrong with this OLD card. Just so happens that it's being used because I had it, and it works better than the on-board graphics...
It doesn't matter if you're not using the same desktop environment with both systems. If you're using Gnome 3 on FreeBSD, you cannot directly compare it to anything on Linux Mint 18.

I can tell you that using a NVidia GTX 1050 Ti you can watch 4k videos on Chromium without any issues (I only use the versions installed with pkg) and can use OpenGL (I've only used it for basic stuff) on FreeBSD 11.1 with Gnome 3. I use a single 4k monitor. I don't have any significant performance problems. You've already got a working setup (a significant investment of your time), I'd recommend upgrading your video card if you're having performance problems.
 

dhenzler

Member

Thanks: 2
Messages: 57

#12
It doesn't matter if you're not using the same desktop environment with both systems. If you're using Gnome 3 on FreeBSD, you cannot directly compare it to anything on Linux Mint 18.

I can tell you that using a NVidia GTX 1050 Ti you can watch 4k videos on Chromium without any issues (I only use the versions installed with pkg) and can use OpenGL (I've only used it for basic stuff) on FreeBSD 11.1 with Gnome 3. I use a single 4k monitor. I don't have any significant performance problems. You've already got a working setup (a significant investment of your time), I'd recommend upgrading your video card if you're having performance problems.
I wasn't complaining about the performance of my old 8400GT. You perhaps assumed that I was after some high end performance when it's only because it makes the machine work better not to use the on-board graphics on my servers, and because I reuse old video cards whenever I can to get higher resolution or better color depth even for stupid server stuff. I'm using xf86-video-nv which is the lowest level 2D driver. But it works just fine for my needs.

I do have a few Media Centers that need upgrading to support 2160 (4K). But will get into that on a different platform than FreeBSD. Probably Linux Mint 18.x. I have about 12 computers running in my home. 3 servers, 3 desktops and 3 laptops. 2 Windows 7, 5 Mint 18.2, 1 GhostBSD, and 1 FreeBSD. Plus 3 Windows 7 Media Centers for 1080p TV's

Talk about significant Investment....!

D
 

Minbari

Active Member

Thanks: 68
Messages: 166

#14
Please try x11/nvidia-driver-340 for your 8400GT.
You'll have to create file /etc/X11/xorg.conf. You can use x11/nvidia-xconfig to generate one.
There is no need to create/generate xorg.config, the nvidia driver can be configured from /usr/local/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/driver-nvidia.conf (file which must be created by user).
 

Preetpal

Member

Thanks: 16
Messages: 94

#15
If anyone is wondering what drivers that I am using, I installed the following using pkg (I am currently not compiling anything myself using ports):

Code:
ps@myhostname [01:32:19 Tue Feb 13] (0)
/usr/home/ps ruby@2.5.0 $ pkg info | grep nvidia
nvidia-driver-384.98           NVidia graphics card binary drivers for hardware OpenGL rendering
nvidia-settings-384.59_1       Display Control Panel for X NVidia driver
nvidia-xconfig-384.59          Tool to manipulate X configuration files for the NVidia driver
 

CraigHB

Member

Thanks: 20
Messages: 85

#16
Setting up my first FreeBSD desktop and I'm running an older nVidia card (550Ti) with the nVidia blob. It's working really well with X, rock solid. One thing that's kind of obscure is you need a little blurb in the xorg.conf.d directory to point X to the right driver. Once I added that X fired right up and auto-detected everything, no need for an xorg.conf file. Here's the poop on that; https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/howto-setup-xorg-with-nvidias-driver.52311/
 

SirDice

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#17
Follow CraigHB advice. Then, if it still doesn't work, post your /var/log/Xorg.0.log on Pastebin (or a similar service) and provide us with the link. You may find misc/pastebinit useful for this.