FreeBSD for the common man(or woman) (was: > upgrade 7.2
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Thu Aug 6 21:56:43 UTC 2009
--- On Thu, 8/6/09, freebsd-questions-request at freebsd.org <freebsd-questions-request at freebsd.org> wrote:
> Message: 16
> Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 06:41:12 -0500
> From: Neal Hogan <nealhogan at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: FreeBSD for the common man(or woman) (was:
> upgrade 7.2
> overwrites partitions)
> To: Mark Stapper <stark at mapper.nl>
> Cc: freebsd-questions at freebsd.org
> <ab7b49bc0908060441s7aa4bdg6e919655165a9551 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> I must say that I find this (new) thread a bit funny since
> it was
> inspired by a guy (the OP) who has been using fBSD for many
> (over 5 . . . I can't remember the exact number).
I have been struggling to use FreeBSD for a shorter amount of time (for a fileserver). I was originally attracted to OpenBSD "for security." However, OpenBSD users are expected to compile all patches from source. Since I wasn't planning on doing code-reviews myself, I saw little benefit in using extra disk space and compile time when binaries would do.
I was also attracted to BSD because I knew from my brief stint at university that the BSD man-pages were actually kept up to date. Not like the GNU system where man pages say stupid things like:
"The full documentation for dd is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and dd programs are properly installed at your site, the command:
should give you access to the complete manual.
dd (coreutils) 5.97 January 2007 DD(1)"
I actually saw text once (years ago) that basicly said:
"If we receive complaints about the quality of the man pages, they will be removed"
I have tried to use info. I don't have time to go through the info tutorial every time I want to use a new command (think emacs-like hyperlinking/scripting, vi-like keybindings)
Anyway, Initially, I wanted to set up a "File and everything else" server. I don't know exactly when I installed FreeBSD 5.x, but I copied my files of over to it March 14, 2006. I know this because I lost data: the file creation times.
Following the FreeBSD Handbook, I got stuck on trying to get the printer to work. The handbook was basicly instructing me to write my own print driver! I checked the HP website: they will release the details of the PCL language (version 4 or so) for a price. I finally got it working by installing the Apsfiler package in the ports collection (no, did not send the post-card yet; the print server is not functional yet.)
After basicly using the server for my own use via ssh and FTP for a while, I decided to try to get samba and NFS working. This time, I narrowed the scope: Fileserving (SAMBA, NFS), Printing, and working backups. November 18, 2007, I started my FreeBSD 6.2 installation. This time I kept notes detailing what I had to do to configure each portion of the system. Looking up commands I may need if things go wrong ahead of time.
Initially, I was struggling with a chicken&egg problem with back ups: I wanted to borrow a client computer's DVD drive. However, I wanted to backup the client computers to the server. It was resolved by putting a DVD burner in the server. I also made made few tweaks of the system to better follow the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (such as symlinking /usr/local/etc to /etc/opt).
I set up samba in read-only mode with little trouble. I'm not sure if I can ever get read/write + user-level security working with win98. That machine is slowly degrading while I try to get the fileserver working the way I want. The last time I did a complete re-install (of win98) I lost data due to a damaged disk that I copied the data to (and learned that bzip2recover is a quick hack that needs to be re-written properly according to the source code). I hope to replace windows with wine for the most part, but wine simply installs the applications in the users' home directory (breaking the FHS). This is only resolvable IMHO by having wine use a real database back-end for the registry (allowing user-level "views" of the data, while still isolating different users).
Setting up NFS was a lesson in the intecracies of NIS twice since my Linux clients do things a little differently. After asking on one of the IRC channels that we are not advised to use; I edited the /var/yp/Makefile to suppress groups outside the range of (1001 -2000). That basicly prevents the "special" groups from being exported to the Linux clients (that use different numbering) To do this, I DID need the gory low-level details in the handbook. I didn't note the exact date, but I really didn't touch the server for months after that. I copied my work to the Linux client because the hard-disk was failing, and I still did not get DVD-burning working.
At one point when doing a Google search for "fxp" I came across this message:
Call for testers: fxp(4) WOL <- My card!
At that point, I decided to install the FreeBSD testing release (7.x). I had been felling guilt about leaving a barely-used computer running 24/7. Especially since I wasn't going to trust it with my work aging until I do a successful backup/restore.
I finally installed FreeBSD 7.2 (release) on May 9, 2009. However, I now note some feature creep:
In addition to file/print and backup server, I want to:
1. Have it sleep when not in use (part of the delay was figuring out how to get the router to send the magic packet. I read RFC's to determine the proper way, and found a "hack" that will work on my floppy-based router for my network set-up (send it every DHCP lease).
(proposal only; rejected due to space constraints)
2. I think I want to move the Voice/Fax/Modem to the machine. Recently I realised a lack of WakeOnRing may impair phone answering if machine is sleeping.
3. I still hope to do "other things" once the machine is working reliably.
So, this long story boils down to the following question:
What is that best way to use the handbook and related documentation (like man-pages)?
I am willing to do some reading, but get distracted by irrelevant or sometimes too low-level stuff. I want to avoid programing as much as possible until I actually have a work-station I am comfortable playing around with. Thinking about it in the week before posting this, I think that part of my problem is I want to use the documentation to do the "right thing" rather than experiment. Once I move the family's files onto the server, it becomes essential. I won't be able to have it out of commission for weeks at a time. I hope with the server properly set up, win98 may even be usable again: just do a clean install every morning! I even downloaded the Windows 7 RC so that I can be informed when I say it sucks.
PS: I find it a little annoying that FreeBSD releases faster than I can configure my computer! ;)
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