Hardware compatibility

Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Tue Feb 21 15:44:13 UTC 2012

On Tue, 21 Feb 2012 10:45:05 +1000, Da Rock wrote:
> To the OP, check the pages Polytropon has linked here, but the chances 
> of getting exactly that are nil to impossible. I've run about 6 or more 
> laptops now without too much trouble. The biggest problems were 
> wireless, but that was the bad old days... most support is there now 
> thanks to Adrianns work.

Today's problems seem to be suspend/resume/hibernate (all
the variations of "it's not switched on, but also not
switched off entirely") and some specific sorts of wireless

> Having a live disk is not likely to help for several reasons:
> 1. there aren't really the tools to see if something will actually work 
> in a production environment (unless pc-bsd have a disc I don't know 
> about). For instance, wifi maybe recognised but not actually work and 
> error like crazy only once you start to use it.

The main idea of using such a system is to most precisely
determine the _present_ hardware to allow further investigations
(e. g. web searches and mailing list questions). The OS from
disc or stick can help to identify the hardware. If you're
running a live file system from a USB stick, you can do
things like:

	# dmesg
	# pciconf -lv
	# usbconfig
	# sysctl -a

If you start the system by "boot -v" (verbose logging), dmesg
will contain some more lines than usual. If you have a USB
stick, you can easily save the output of those commands to
persistent files.

If you have X in the mix, you can also check the support for
the display and obtain other information that might be important
later on (especially GPU info):

	# glxinfo
	# xvinfo

Log files worth saving are in /var/log, as well as Xorg.0.log
for X-related things.

If you prepare some programs, you can also do some testing,
e. g. multimedia, gaming, 3D support, networking and so on.

> 2. The BIOS will get in your way - see recent thread regarding samsung 
> laptop not installing. I don't think the salespeople will let you play 
> with that either.

Depends. If you're interested in buying one of the more
expensive ones, they will offer you a "test ride" which
includes that you have a look at the CMOS setup (which is
something very typical for you as an IT professional).

You can say: "The BIOS is defective, it doesn't allow me
to boot a standard OS. Let's see... for 100$ less, I would
still do you a favour and buy it." :-)

> If you do this *and* get it to boot, you want to get a copy of pciconf 
> -lv which will give you the best idea on whats what. You may be able to 
> use a linux live disk (if you can get it to boot) to accomplish this better.

USB sticks seem to be the best solution as they can allow
you to store files (as the results of your investigation).

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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