Items missing from the handbook and/or FAQs.

Charles Swiger cswiger at
Fri Apr 23 13:47:08 PDT 2004

On Apr 23, 2004, at 3:37 PM, Joe Rhett wrote:
> Sorry, it's been quite a while since I've played with FreeBSD and some
> things are taking a while to get used to.  The configuration system has
> come a long way... but the documentation seems to be lacking a bit.

I'll make a try at answering the issues you raise, but the best way of 
handling missing documentation is to submit PR's which update the 
manpages or the Handbook with something better.

> 1. How to disable ppp ?
> The handbook has lots of information on how to configure it.  
> Apparently I
> chose to enable it during install (I don't remember this) and I'm 
> trying to
> get rid of the ppp0 and sl0 interfaces.  The answer was to copy related
> parameters from /etc/defaults/rc.conf to /etc/rc.conf and change them.

You mean, setting network_interfaces?  I have these interfaces disabled 
in the kernel config file, myself:

#pseudo-device  sl      1       # Kernel SLIP
#pseudo-device  ppp     1       # Kernel PPP

...but it's not as if they do harm if they were compiled in.

> 2. How to configure a wireless card?
> If you're coming from any other unixy OS, you're going to be looking 
> for
> iwconfig and relatives.  Just a note somewhere that all wireless
> configuration is handled through ifconfig would have saved me some 
> time.

1-tanya% which iwconfig
iwconfig not found
2-tanya% uname -a
Darwin tanya 7.3.0 Darwin Kernel Version 7.3.0: Fri Mar  5 14:22:55 PST 
2004; root:xnu/xnu-517.3.15.obj~4/RELEASE_PPC  Power Macintosh powerpc

1-pong# which iwconfig
iwconfig not found
2-pong# uname -a
SunOS pong 5.8 Generic_117000-03 sun4u sparc SUNW,Ultra-4 Solaris

...and I could repeat this with a few other Unix systems and not find a 
"iwconfig" on them, either.  ifconfig ought to be used for configuring 
network interfaces, IMO.

> Also a note to create /etc/start_if.{ifname} to put the wireless 
> options in
> would also have saved me reading through the rc scripts.  I asusme 
> that's a
> general case for all interfaces, but it could bear repeating in the 
> wireless
> documentation. (when there is some...)

I believe the PPP section of the handbook has a discussion of start_if.

> 3. Choosing filesystem types
> During setup you can create filesystems other than FreeBSD, but you are
> supposed to magickally know their filesystem type numbers.  The setup
> documenation and the fdisk tools only tell you the filesystem numbers 
> for
> freebsd, linux and dos.  An option to get a list would be nice.


> 4. Why is xdm still listed as the way to set up X?
> Okay, I'm certain that a bunch of people will respond to tell me that 
> gnome
> and kde are evil and should be destroyed, but the vast majority of 
> people
> are expecting modern graphical interfaces.

If so, why would they want to use X?

Fifteen years ago, Sun with NeWS and NeXT/Adobe with Display PostScript 
solved problems that still plague X-- things like transparency, or a 
unified imaging model that works with printing too, or font support 
that doesn't suck.

Aqua under MacOS X uses PDF rather than DPS, but it retains most of the 
advantages of DPS.

> 1. How to put DHCP on the wireless card?
> I still haven't figured this out. I run dhclient on the interface by 
> hand
> after every reboot and it works fine, but I'm assuming there is some
> standard method of telling the system that wi0 should be a 
> dhcp-managed, right?

Add a line like:


...I believe.

> 2. What is interface faith0 ?
> It took a ridiculous amount of searching to determine that faith0 was 
> an
> ipv4 -> ipv6 interface.

"man faith" or "apropos faith" gives useful information without having 
to search.

>  And I can find nothing about how to disable it.
> (and if you say compile a new kernel and make world, excuse me while I 
> puke)

FreeBSD configures the OS to have IPv6 support by default.
If you don't want IPv6 support, yes, you will need to recompile world.

I won't say that IPv6 support is completely transparent at this time, 
but it usually doesn't get in the way...


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