i have linux mandrake

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at clunix.cl.msu.edu
Mon Nov 24 09:11:16 PST 2003

> I am trying to migrate to free bsd is there a way for me to put freebsd 
> on with it woth out loosing mandrake or the files in it ?

The basic answer is yes.  Then the follow up is that it depends
on how much disk you have and what condition it is already in.

First, comment is make a good backup of everything you want to
preserve - probably the whole system.   This is generally a pretty
safe and reliable thing to do, but there are many places that 
you could make a typo and nuke your stuff before you could stop
it.   So, make backups, make backups, make backup, etc.

Lets say you have a large enough disk to make you happy - holds
all of your Linux stuff with plenty of working room plus has a
few GBytes left over to use for FreeBSD.   If that Linux stuff is
all in one contiguous slice beginning at the low addresses of
the disk, then it is quite easy.

First you will need something to shrink the Linux slice split up 
the disk.  Since my most recent encounters (for the last two years) 
has been splitting up machines with MS NTFS slices that needed
shrinking, I have gotten used to using Partition Magic and don't
remember offhand the freeby utility that does it, but there are
some (although Partition Magic would also do it, you should be able
to get by with one of the freeware utilities if you only have Linux
on it now.  The freeware utilities don't handle NTFS though)  

Decide how much to assign to each OS.  If your machine and BIOS are
pretty recent, you won't have to worry about the cylinder number
limitation for boot records even though the utilities warn you about it.   
If it is older, your slice size choices may get more complicated.
Use the utility to resize the Linux slice and make room for FreeBSD.

Once that is done, you can just boot with the FreeBSD install CD and
let it handle the rest of everything.   Have it keep the slices as
they are, but make both bootable and put the MBR on slice #1.
Partition slice #2 (the FreeBSD slice) to suit you - probably something 
like a=root(/), b=swap, e=/tmp, f=/usr, g=/var and h=/home with sizes 
depending on your need and available disk.  Then do the install, 
including the ports tree (note that the ports tree is just the
installation skeleton for the ports, not their full source) and
whatever else you want, probably X and it should work.

Now, the next scenario.    If you have a spare disk on the machine
to fwap FreeBSD in to, then it is even easier.   You don't need to
bother shrinking the Linux slice.   Just put FreeBSD on the extra
disk by itself.   It may be worth adding a disk to be able to do
it this way.   Then you just boot the FreeBSD install CD, tell it
to make a single FreeBSD slice on the extra disk and to make it 
bootable.  Also, tell it to put the MBR on on the Linux disk and
mark its first (probably only) slice as bootable.  Have it then
partition the extra disk to suit you (a, b, e, f, g, h whatever)
and install stuff.   It should work just like that.

Reminder - make sure you do a good backup before starting this.

Very important.   Make sure you make a good backup before starting!

Good luck,


ps, don't forget to make a good backup before changing any disk.

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