BSDInstall: I want the bikeshed painted plaid

John Hixson jhixson at
Tue Jan 4 21:25:45 UTC 2011

On Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 11:58 PM, Marco Steinbach <
coco at> wrote:

> John Hixson wrote on 02.01.2011 22:51:
>  On Sun, Jan 2, 2011 at 12:19 PM, Nathan Whitehorn <nwhitehorn at
>> >wrote:
>>  I spent a bunch of time looking at pc-sysinstall before starting to work
>>> on
>>> this. The major problem for non-x86 systems is that it heavily assumes
>>> that
>>> your disks are either MBR+bsdlabel or GPT. If you have anything different
>>> (APM, VTOC8, or even a raw bsdlabel or MBR installation on x86), it
>>> breaks
>>> in strange and fascinating ways due to a random mixture of if (scheme ==
>>> MBR) else and if (scheme == GPT) else in the backend. Some of these are
>>> easily fixed, but it looked quite difficult to root out all of the places
>>> this assumption is made, not to mention teaching it about various styles
>>> of
>>> boot code, that the same partitioning scheme may need to be set up
>>> different
>>> ways on different architectures, etc. txt-sysinstall also segfaults when
>>> you
>>> try to run it on powerpc at the moment, though that is likely a simple
>>> bug
>>> and I didn't look into it in detail.
>>> What I intended with bsdinstall is to have something simple, flexible,
>>> and
>>> easily maintained that works immediately on all platforms and will be
>>> ready
>>> for 9.0 for sure. If pc-sysinstall materializes before then, or after
>>> then,
>>> and people like it better, I'm more than happy to get out of the way;
>>> this
>>> is the reason the wiki page is titled "Stopgap Installer". In the
>>> interim, I
>>> hoped to at least start laying out the hammer and nails next to
>>> sysinstall's
>>> coffin.
>>> -Nathan
>>>  I would be more than happy to help out with making pc-sysinstall work on
>> non-x86 systems, however I don't have access to any. Do any of you have
>> hardware that could possibly be used by interested parties? I'm sure all
>> the
>> work that's gone into bsdinstall could be used in pc-sysinstall or vice
>> versa.
> I have PowerMacs (G3/G4) and Netras/Ultras (T1 105, U10, U5) at my
> discretion.  I've never installed FreeBSD on any of them, but would be
> willing to give it a shot.
> I can provide serial console access to the Sparcs, but the PowerMacs
> supposedly need "hands on", which I can also provide.
> If there's interest, I humbly suggest discussing further details on the
> course of action at sysinstall@, to which I just subscribed.
I just subscribed to sysinstall at . I'd be happy to help starting out on the
sparcs. I have no experience whatsoever on powermac, but it sounds fun ;-).

- John

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