BSDInstall: merging to HEAD

David Demelier demelier.david at
Thu Jan 20 21:38:05 UTC 2011

On 14/01/2011 19:26, Nathan Whitehorn wrote:
> As those of you who have been reading freebsd-sysinstall and
> freebsd-arch know, I have been working for a few weeks on a lightweight
> new installer named 'bsdinstall'. This is designed to replace sysinstall
> for the 9.0 release.
> After two weeks of testing and bug fixes on the sysinstall list, I
> believe this now has all required functionality and is ready to be
> merged into the main source tree. I would like to do this on Tuesday, 18
> January. Switching this to be the default installer would happen a few
> weeks after that, pending discussion on release formats with the release
> engineering team. This should provide a sufficient testing period before
> 9.0 and allow a maximal number of bugs to be discovered and solved
> before the release is shipped.
> Demo ISO for i386:
> SVN repository: svn://
> Wiki page:
> Goals
> -----
> The primary goal of BSDInstall is to provide an easily extensible
> installer without the limitations of sysinstall, in order to allow more
> modern installations of FreeBSD. This means that it should have
> additional features to support modern setups, but simultaneously frees
> us to remove complicating features of sysinstall like making sure
> everything fits in floppy disk-sized chunks.
> New Features:
> - Allows installation onto GPT disks on x86 systems
> - Can do installations spanning multiple disks
> - Allows installation into jails
> - Eases PXE installation
> - Virtualization friendly: can install from a live system onto disk
> images
> - Works on PowerPC
> - Streamlined system installation
> - More flexible scripting
> - Easily tweakable
> - All install CDs are live CDs
> Architecture
> ------------
> BSDInstall is a set of tools that are called in sequence by a master
> script. These tools are, for example, the partition editor, the thing
> that fetches the distributions from the network, the thing that untars
> them, etc. Since these are just called in sequence from a shell script,
> a scripted installation can easily replace them with other things, (e.g.
> hard-coded gpart commands), leave steps out, add new ones, or interleave
> additional system modifications.
> Status
> ------
> This provides functionality most similar to the existing sysinstall
> 'Express' track. It installs working, bootable systems you can ssh into
> immediately after reboot on i386, amd64, sparc64, powerpc, and
> powerpc64. There is untested support for pc98. The final architecture on
> which we use sysinstall, ia64, is currently unsupported, because I don't
> know how to set up booting on those systems -- patches to solve this are
> very much welcome.
> There are still some missing features that I would like to see in the
> release, but these do not significantly impact the functionality of the
> installer. Some will be addressed before merging to HEAD, in particular
> the lack of a man page for bsdinstall. Others, like configuration of
> wireless networking and ZFS installation, can happen between merge and
> release. The test ISOs are also lacking a ports tree at the moment,
> which is a statement about the slow upload speed of my DSL line and not
> about the final layout of releases.
> Please send any questions, comments, or patches you may have, and please
> be aware when replying that this email has been cross-posted to three
> lists. Technical discussion (bug reports, for instance) should be
> directed to the freebsd-sysinstall list only. Most other discussion
> belongs on -sysinstall and -current.
> -Nathan
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Why does the installer use GPT partition by default? Do you know that 
GPT is not supported on every (even modern) computer ?

David Demelier

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