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FreeBSD suggestions.

Postby gore » 09 Jun 2010, 21:01

Hi,

I've been using FreeBSD since... Well, I have the 4.0 Powerpak I bought years ago, and I still love it. However, after years and years, and learning new things, I've started noticing things that could really be improved.

I'll start with the installation, and try keeping it to things that would be actually possible:

1. The install is fairly straight forward, but one thing it lacks is some type of notification about where it's at, or, at least, how long is left. I'll elaborate:
If I install other OSs, most of them will at some point show me on the left "You're here in the installation, and these are left before it's complete". And in some cases, like SuSE for example, you'll see that and a progress bar. This would be VERY nice for FreeBSD. I'd LOVE to have some form of progress bar showing me what's left. And if you're doing an FTP installation, this would be even MORE useful!

I'm currently sitting here watching "Adding Packahes/All/package.tbz" as I have been for a while now. I originally started installing on Friday, but because of some issues (Like being WAY busy) I had to hold off until around Sunday to start the install properly.

I decided since the disk I had only had docs packages on it, which is my fault, that I'd rectify the situation by simply doing an FTP installation. I like the FTP install, and so I went with that.

Well, during the install, after two days, there had been quite a few packages that just wouldn't work for some reason, and it gave errors, and kept trying. Eventually, it got to a package that wouldn't install at all, and it just tried over and over again, and when I did ^c I figured I'd check my options.

My options were to stop the install, restart it, or quit basically. I couldn't understand why there ws no option for me to just say "Skip this package, and let me get rid of the ones that depend on it" so I could work on it after the install was done, but I can't.

Now, in other OSs, if a package doesn't work (This was the Fedora Core 10 package, not something required to boot by any means) it usually will tell me, and ask if I'd like to retry, skip that package, or abort the install.

I think FreeBSD would benefit A LOT from this sort of option. If it had this, I'd be typing from that machine instead.

wouldn't it be nice? I mean FreeBSD has some incredibly great coders working on it, why not have one or two of them implement a test system that during an installation, if a Package isn't working, and gives an error, and doesn't work, you can choose to not install it?

Implementing this isn't just something that you clap your hands and it done obviously, but if you are doing an FTP installation, and a Package fails to install, what can you do?

Portupdate just now failed to install, and I'm Hoping once the other ports are done that it won't try over and over again to do that one port, because there doesn't seem to be a way to do anything about it. Last night that Fedora Core one wouldn't install at all, and after 4 times of it saying to hit Enter or SpaceBar, I realized there was no other way to skip it.

Hitting ^c only gives 3 options, and none of those are going to let me skip it. It would be very nice if while installing FreeBSD, there was a few more options when something Errors out and fails, other than restarting the whole installation, or just stopping.

Like this for example, would be great:

Adding Packages/All/Package.tbz from ftp://ftp.freebsd.org
Package Failed
Package gave Error
Would you like to skip this package? Y/n?:Y
This package was a Dependency to these packages; Would you like to see them and either not install them for now, or maybe make a list of all the Packages that haven't installed properly that you can deal with once this is finished? Y/n?:Y
Package named Package.tbz added to "List of Packages that didn't install properly"

This way if a package DOES fail to install for whatever reason, or, if for some reason it just has an issue and won't install, you could at least tell the installer to skip that one for now, and with my idea about making a list of them, once the rest of the install is completed, you could even have it save those packages in that list to the root directory like this:

/root/PackagesNotInstalled.txt or something like that, so that once it was done, you'd have a list to work with and see what you could do to fix it at least.

Or it could just have to choose not to install those packages. That way it would at least finish. Or, again, if the package that wouldn't install was something required by other packages, you could have it check for what packages required that one that wouldn't install, and then either choose not to install THOSE packages, or add them to the list and not install them, and if any of THOSE were required by something, repeat the process so that you have a clean install at least. Like if it can't install something required by something else, see what packages require it, and then have an option to skip them and try later on from maybe another FTP server, or you could download those by hand and install them, and then if any of the packages that require the one that didn't install, were also required by other packages, have a list of those too.

This way if the installer couldn't install a package that was required by a whole bunch of others, you just have a list of everything that wouldn't install for some reason, and then not install things it couldn't grab requirements for, and deal with it later.

I know this isn't as easy as adding a few things to it, because it would require being able to check the whole list of what you selected for requirements and so on, but couldn't it be done?

Also, I noticed another thing during the installation that I'd REALLY like to see an option for too; For some of the Port Categories, it would be nice to have the option to Select All.

Like for example, in the installation I'm doing, it has the Ports listed by Category, and then inside each one, are a bunch of Ports I can select from. But a lot of those a HUGE, and on a few of them, I'd like to have been able to just select all.

If the issue of something selected with the [D] because they are needed, or some can't be installed because other version or whatever are selected, it could just tell you that and let you pick which version or whatever that you'd like, and continue.

For example, the Audio related Ports, I'd have liked to just "Select All for Installation" and not have to pick every one of them because I do a lot of things with Audio, and generally, I just install all of them. Same for the Security, System, and X-11 portions of it. I'd like to have them all, but going through every one of them, one by one, hitting the Down Arrow Key and the Spacebar 30,000 times, is a bit time consuming.

I spent about 8 hours doing this, and then, like I said above, it ended up failing. So now I'm installing again, with a smaller list. I figured I'll just install what I really REALLY need, and then once I have that installed and the machine up, I'll just install the rest by hand.

I have always liked the FreeBSD installation methods, in that I don't need a bunch of RAM or CPU to do it, and I appreciate the fact that I can basically install this on an older machine without issues, but at the same time, I can install Slackware too, and even though it doesn't have all the same things to it, it does let me "Select all" and go do something else.

Anyway, those are some of the installer options I'd LOVE to see worked into FreeBSD's installer.

As for everything else; Well, I do a lot of things where I get people who use Windows, to use something else. I generally use Linux for this because it's a lot easier when it comes to installing security patches and so on, and generally that means a lot.

I know FreeBSD has freebsd-update and port-update and so on, but it would also be great if there was something that would do everything.

Like for example;

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

Running this on my Debian machine will check for, and install, every security patch and bug fix available. And that's great. I can also do:

slackpkg upgrade-all

And get the same result

If I don't care at all about building my patches from source, and don't care if the patches, upgrades, or updates, are built, wouldn't it be nice to have a FreeBSD version of this? Something that would work like this:

FreeBSDMachine:#update check-base && update check-ports && upgrade base && upgrade ports
And then it checked the base and the ports for any updates / security patches / Bug fixes and so on... And then the upgrade one actually downloads and installs them for you and lets you know if you have to reboot or not.... That would be awesome.
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Postby gore » 09 Jun 2010, 21:02

Part two -


This is stuff I think can actually be done, and it's not like I'm asking for something "Windows like"... I mean if I wanted to use that, I would. I'm just thinking it would be great if certain things had a few more options, and for patching to be a bit quicker / easier for newer users. I used a Slackware and Debian style idea because they work. I know a lot of FreeBSD users who like Slackware and Debian both, and it would be nice to have a way to do updates and patching in a similar manner, that way it could be done easily and much faster. (Unless the new 8.0 already has something about this, I haven't gotten it installed yet so I haven't started poking around yet).

Other than this stuff, the only actual issues I've ever had were making Music CDs work normal. Having the system of inserting a CD and just having it work, I think would also help make FreeBSD more accessible.

My goal is to have a FreeBSD system that can actually compete on the Desktop. The stability of BSD has been well known for a long time, but whenever I ask people in school why they won't try FreeBSD, the main causes I hear are that "Well, Linux does this" and "Linux does that" and "Well I tried it once but just to play a Music CD I had to do this, and making my Sound Card work was soooooo hard because in Linux I do this and it work and in FreeBSD I had to actually load things by hand and I don't want to and patching is a nightmare".... I've tried showing that it isn't always like that but most of the people I talk to about this, they won't, and refuse to try, to get past that.
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Postby sossego » 12 Jun 2010, 05:00

There are howto's for setting up the cd/dvd drives. Even my tutorials point to the links.
Still working on the computer science degree?
http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=12082
Different ways to install. There's gparted and glabel now. GCC is being replaced.
No one has to load anything by hand after the initial configuration.
Tinderbox is for testing.
The rule to follow is: Install the base and reboot into the first install to add extra software. The user may need to download packages from the site source or there may be a dependency the user will need to fix. Other architectures need the Makefiles in the work subdirectories edited at times. Config files may need to be tweaked. You do not get the same control over the build when you install along with the base system.

Code: Select all
pkg_info|grep $PACKAGE_NAME
.

There are the daemonforums with more howtos.
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Postby gore » 12 Jun 2010, 19:53

Well if you shouldn't install any port during the install, why offer them? Another thread I replied to was someone having the same problem where during their installation, the same Fedora Core software, was refusing to install properly, and since there is no way to currently skip a package, it made the install fail. If you can install ports during the installation and one of them doesn't work, there should be at least some way of skipping it, or, at least, choosing to not install it and get rid of the dependencies so it doesn't need to be installed. Currently, hitting ^c during install gives three options, and either one picked is going to mean you're starting the installation over again.

And I did point out that setting up the drives wasn't my problem, it was other people I've told to try any BSD out; they don't want to have to do anything by hand because other OSs can auto detect this, and either play their CD, or load their CD with software, by simply inserting it. If I put a CD in my Slackware machine, I just mount it, and it's done. And if it's Music, in KDE, for example, an app can start playing it.

If you'd like to try what I meant, just grab an 8.0-RELEASE i386 CD for installation, and then add some Ports to it. If any of them fail, it tries to install them over and over again, and won't let you skip them to get the install to at least finish so you can fix it after. There should be SOME way to either cancel a port being installed, or, at least skip it to fix it once the system is done installing, and there isn't.
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Postby sossego » 12 Jun 2010, 20:19

Linux compatibility needs some hands on work.
The user needs to enable abi, restart sysctl, and be the service starts up. Some, like myself, like the Linux compatibility on the loader file. Others like it in rc.conf.

Your and others' situation of the same sort has already happened to me. How do you think I came to this conclusion? You can also add Xorg, kde, and qemu as applications I need to tweak. Throw in working on the G3 as another reason for doing a base only install.
If your friends want an easy way into FreeBSD, there is PCBSD. Out-of-the-box goodness.

Unless you are looking at the online ports guide and reading what each dependency and sub-dependency is, you won't know what broke. I've also learned that every mirror doesn't have all of the software- that goes also for from where the source files are fetched.

The port could be marked as broken, it could be in testing, or it could need some human intervention on setting it up.
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Postby gore » 12 Jun 2010, 20:28

This is the one listed here:

http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=14916

During an FTP installation, this fails over and over again, which is why I said it would be nice to have some way during an install, so either skip a package / port being installed, or, having some way of not installing that one. I know not all mirrors work the same, I picked about 5 different ones, some from other countries to see if it would continue because the installer had been running for 4 days because of things failing, which is fine, but that particular one for some reason, would put a huge monkey wrench in the thing, and not let you get passed it.
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Postby sossego » 12 Jun 2010, 21:21

The reason was given in the install error. Unless you make a custom loader.conf file, you won't be able to install any port that requires loading a kernel module. Any port that gives me trouble is a port I stop. A list of broken ports and dependencies is available.
None of the BSD systems are made to be easy, they are made to be stable, reliable, and secure.
I still have trouble with ports. Now the solution is to look into the Makefile and work sub-directory to solve the problem.
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Postby gore » 14 Jun 2010, 00:11

OK, this is my opinion. I made some ideas and suggestions I think are good. I get that there are ways of doing things, but why would anyone say anything against something being what seems nice?

Are you saying you wouldn't like to be able to have a progress bar, or a way of skipping a package or port from installing so that it doesn't totally screw your installation? At this time, if anything during the install fails, you have no options to fix it other than to start all over again from scratch...

And I don't agree on BSD not being easy to install. Marshall Kirk talks about that in "20 Years of Berkeley Unix" which you can get on DVD, I bought it years ago, and he likes FreeBSD's ease of installation and talks about NetBSD and OpenBSD trying to finally get things installable at least.
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Postby sossego » 14 Jun 2010, 03:22

My reply was much more civil than the ones you gave me in conversations we had five years ago- I have neither threatened nor insulted you- and a lot more respectful than answers you have given other people in other places.
FreeBSD is not easy. It is not designed for the layman. Any BSD system is a "step up" from a Linux distribution. You're looking at it from a hacker's perspective. How would an average person see the system?
A progress bar means little one way or another. Have you tried switching ttys during an install? Tty4 is used for rescue and installing.

I suggested PCBSD.

http://wiki.freebsd.org/finstall

BSD developers are usually friendly people. Ask the project owners if this can be reimplemented. There is also the option of building your own set and implementing that project into it. You can even have a custom kernel which is compatible with the stock FreeBSD system.

Going back to the Linux compatibility. I'm aware that you are referring to it here. There are other architectures and these do not always have this option. NetBSD is limited in this aspect. OpenBSD is the same. Both of those projects have the "implement it yourself after the install" and no one sees it as unfriendly.

Linux distributions and BSD systems are similar in basic directory structure and basic system binaries. It stops there. Linux is more popular and receives more attention. It's been made easier. From when it started, all things were difficult. Someone implemented a graphical install for some of the same reasons you have mentioned.

I'd consider it as limiting the user's control if any compatibility layer was implemented during the initial install process.
You can bring your suggestions to the FreeBSD core group. The FreeBSD hacker mailing list also has plenty of people who are willing to help. I had a brief stint of working on virtualbox and the hackers gave me help. (I couldn't continue working on it because of both equipment troubles and me being terrible at C.)
I have not given you any disrespect nor have I insulted your ideas. Your perception of what I wrote and my reasons for such are not in concordance; but, perhaps it is best that you accept the opinions of other people.
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Postby gore » 14 Jun 2010, 05:12

Where are you getting insults in me asking if something would be nice? Those were my actual words; "Wouldn't that be nice?".... How was that, or anything else insulting? And 5 years ago I have no idea who you are or how I apparently treated you 5 years ago....
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Postby sossego » 14 Jun 2010, 06:47

Read the entire post again. You have been given suggestions and answers.

Gore:
I get that there are ways of doing things, but why would anyone say anything against something being what seems nice?



Sossego
My reply was much more civil than the ones you gave me in conversations we had five years ago- I have neither threatened nor insulted you- and a lot more respectful than answers you have given other people in other places.

Sossego
The reason was given in the install error. Unless you make a custom loader.conf file, you won't be able to install any port that requires loading a kernel module. Any port that gives me trouble is a port I stop. A list of broken ports and dependencies is available.
None of the BSD systems are made to be easy, they are made to be stable, reliable, and secure.
I still have trouble with ports. Now the solution is to look into the Makefile and work sub-directory to solve the problem.
in reply to gore
This is the one listed here:

http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=14916

During an FTP installation, this fails over and over again, which is why I said it would be nice to have some way during an install, so either skip a package / port being installed, or, having some way of not installing that one. I know not all mirrors work the same, I picked about 5 different ones, some from other countries to see if it would continue because the installer had been running for 4 days because of things failing, which is fine, but that particular one for some reason, would put a huge monkey wrench in the thing, and not let you get passed it.


The problem listed which is the reason for sossego's answer above
Hi,
I am newbie for this new world.
I try to install FreeBSD8.0 on my old P-IV box.
When I chose to install the linux compatible (linux_base-f10-10_2.tbz) with sysinstall. It can not be done.

The error message is :

Code:

sysctl:unknown oid 'compat.linux.osrelease'
linuxulator is not (kld)loaded, exiting
pkg_add: install script returned error status

Can anyone help?

Thanks + regards


First to the subject of the thread. The current installation process works and the newer installation process works. You've been using this system longer than I have. There is no reason why you should be having trouble nor is there any reason why you shouldn't be able to help your friends. FreeBSD is neither Slackware nor Debian; so, there's no reason to compare. I have had to learn this myself. PCBSD is the solution if you want that type of environment. If the word "you" in the previous sentence offends, then insert the name of a friend.
Now to your inquiry. I know you, what you are capable of, and what you have done. I'll be cryptic here but you will be able to understand it.
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Ah, no. Don't go nitpicking through this one post without looking at the entire sum of all of my posts on this thread. Selective reasoning and manipulation is a poor game.
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Postby DutchDaemon » 14 Jun 2010, 20:39

I have no idea why this thread evolved into some personal passive-aggressive vendetta without any obvious reason, but it stops here. Seriously.
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