5.0-RELEASE missing info

Bill Moran wmoran at potentialtech.com
Wed May 21 05:58:52 PDT 2003

Roger Merritt wrote:
> I hope I'm sending this to the right list. If not, please tell me 
> (suggest?) a more appropriate list.
> Because of a power supply problem that is taking a long time to fix, I 
> recently had to set up a replacement server (gateway for a LAN). 
> Naturally I chose to set up FreeBSD. Since it was urgent and ordering a 
> CD by mail would take at least a week, I downloaded by ftp. Hope I don't 
> have to do that again soon. Anyway, I followed the instructions in the 
> Handbook, which pointed me to 
> ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/releases/i386/5.0-RELEASE/floppies/. 
> OK, I noticed that "5.0-RELEASE" in there, but I've seen a number of 
> comments in this list that 5.0 is going to be the next STABLE so figured 
> I might as well go ahead.

You misinterpreted what you heard wrong.  You should be using 4.8 for any
production purposes.
5 will be -STABLE some day (hopefully soon) but it's not yet, and one
thing you've tripped across is the lack of documentation.

> OK, so I successfully installed 5.0-RELEASE by ftp. Then I went to 
> /usr/src/sys/i386/conf to set up my kernel configuration file. To my 
> astonishment, there was no LINT file. Instead there was something called 
> NOTES! And you know what? NOTES does not show a single network option. 
> Luckily the man page for natd (which I need to use) mentions that you 
> have to recompile the kernel with "options IPFIREWALL and options 
> IPDIVERT", or I could have gotten the options from my 4.8-STABLE 
> configuration file, but there was nothing in the GENERIC configuration 
> file or in NOTES to tell me whether or not these options were acceptable.

That's because NOTES is now split up to work better with FreeBSD now that
FreeBSD is working on more architectures.  There is a NOTES for each
architecture (i.e. i386, Sparc, Alpha) with notes about configuring a
kernel specific to that architecture.  And there is an
architecture-independent NOTES file for kernel options that are the same
on all machines (in /usr/src/sys/conf)  This makes it easier for the
developers to keep everything up to date reliably.

> So after sweating for a while I went ahead and added options IPFIREWALL, 
> options IPFIREWALL_VERBOSE, and options IPDIVERT at the end of my 
> configuration file and compiled and installed the new kernel and IT 
> WORKED!!! But I'm still irked by the fact that there is NO mention of 
> what networking options are available or necessary. In my case, I've 
> installed FreeBSD several times over the last few years and have learned 
> about the need to recompile the kernel, but how are newcomers going to 
> find out about this? The sysinstall script gives the impression that the 
> firewall is enabled during installation, but in fact it's not. You get a 
> GENERIC kernel with no way to send packets out -- deny by default!

Configure a set of firewall rules then.  This part is in the handbook, and
hasn't changed since 4.

> Does this seem like something that should be brought to somebody's 
> attention, or am I just over-dramatizing things?

Yes.  But with the heavy effort involved in getting 5 stable at this time,
you're much better off submitting documentation patches than complaining
that someone else should do it.

Bill Moran
Potential Technologies

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