FreeBSD-6 fails to install on too many old laptops.

Rainer Duffner rainer at
Wed Jun 13 00:21:03 UTC 2007

Am 12.06.2007 um 22:29 schrieb Julian H. Stacey:

> FreeBSD has progressively broken support for 5 of my older laptops.
> One needs massive time reading manuals etc, only then to fail anyway,
> getting beyond 4.11.  (Only 1 modern here takes 6.2).

I can confirm this for my parents' (formerly owned by my brother)  
Mitac Mi-Note 6020.
It works with 4.10, but wouldn't boot 5 or 6 or even the 7-snapshot I  
once tried.
I may try with the June snapshots (but how do you backup a computer  
whose only network connection is an 11MBit wireless card?).

This is a Celeron 366 with 320 or so MB RAM.
It just panics during probing.
The reason I didn't report this is that
a) it currently works (running StarOffice 7 on KDE)
b) it's physically so broken (all hinges are so hard to open/close  
that they are broken out of the case on all sides - the thing is  
sitting in a wooden frame that my father built ;-)
c) I also run FreeBSD on servers. I'd rather like developers to spend  
their limited time on getting it to work better on the latest server- 
hardware and on newer laptops (which are arriving every quarter)

> 4.11 is nominally dead, yet on many older laptops is all that Works.

Personally, I suspect really bad ACPI-implementations as the reason  
for the kernel-panics I get (no success with safe-mode, ACPI or no  

And 4.x _is_ dead. Not only nominally, but really. No fixes. Ports  
don't build. End of game. RIP.
(I've got a server with 4.11 in a colo 500 km away that is waiting  
for a 'decision')

> Newcomers may give up after 6.2 & dump FreeBSD, not knowing to use  
> 4.11
> with working { ATA access, Geom / FDISK, PCMCIA (ether & cdrom),  
> PLIP }.

Newcomers today will either have one of those 600 Euro el-cheapo  
laptops from one of the big electronic-supermarket-chains, or will  
have had the sense to buy at least a Pentium3-Mobile-class system on  
ebay (can be had very cheaply, usually works like built for FreeBSD).

The other old laptop I own (a Dell Inspiron 4000, Celeron 800 with  
512 MB RAM) runs 6.x almost as fast as my Pentium-M 1.6 with 1GB RAM.

So to conclude: I'm all for supporting slow hardware (WRAP, Soekris -  
you name it) - but when we talk about hardware that was "new" seven  
or more years ago (and with most problems probably caused by BIOS- 
bugs), I can also support drawing a final stroke.

Rainer Duffner
rainer at

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