Newbie: 4.9 / 5.2.1 / 4.10 ??

Kevin D. Kinsey, DaleCo, S.P. kdk at
Fri May 7 09:26:06 PDT 2004

cc'ed to questions: let's move it there?

Geoffrey Lane wrote:

>I'm fairly familiar with linux and have been running redhat for a few years 
>now. I'm looking for something I have more control over and isn't bloated 
>with alot of stuff I don't need...
>BSD is on the top of my list, there are only a few set backs for me to make 
>the switch:
>1)	should I download and install the "new technology" releases or use the 4.x
>	branch and what are the differences?

First off, before someone else flames in, you are probably going to be
told to send this to questions@ instead of newbies at .  However, I read
both, and will cc: this over so that anything I say that's dumb will get
shot down (hopefully before it causes you grief ;-) )

I have had no issues with the 5.X branch, and it will, sooner or later,
be the STABLE branch of development, and 4.X will fade into RAM...

For me, the most notable difference is that 5.X does background
file system checking in the even of improper shutdown, thus speeding
up the boot process.  It also has a new boot menu with more options,
although I've not had cause to use this much, maybe at all.  I won't
comment on ufs2; it hasn't been default on my installs, so I am running
on ufs (the elder file system).

The kernel structure is a little different; 5.x is a very modular thing
compared to 4.x.  PERL in 5.x is 5.6.1 as opposed to 5.0003 ... there
was talk of moving PERL out of the base system; but apparently this
hasn't happened yet, as perl is still in /usr/bin instead of 

Please keep in mind this is me talking, and I'm not official or even
Real Knowledgeable (tm)on such matters...

>2)	How do they differ (new tech/4.9)?

Is this the same as #1?  Or was #1 asking only about installation.
In my experience, installation hasn't changed much at all between
4.x and 5.x

>3)	Are new technology (eg. 5.2.x) considered the unstable branch?
Not exactly, but maybe, sort of.  The "cutting edge" chapter of the
handbook ( will give you some insight
into this area.

It's not exactly that the OS is "unstable" in 5.X --- there are a few issues
still in transition (you mention GEOM<?>, others report some ACPI
issues on some mobos, watchdog timeouts on Intel Gigabit Ether cards
(I think...?), problems with ufs2 (only hearsay AFAIAmConcered....)
--- the real point, at least according to one committer I've talked to,
is that 5.X/CURRENT is simply still in development, and it might be
possible that someone would, prior to 5.X being deemed STABLE
instead of CURRENT, create changes in the codebase that would
require everyone to rebuild not only their kernel/userland, but
potentially every piece of 3rd party software on a system.

Now, I'd consider this fairly unlikely, but it's possible from what he said.

In contrast, if anyone committed such a change to the branch after it
becomes the STABLE branch (or to 4.X now), he would likely be taken
out and flogged, or stapled to the flagpole at Microsoft HQ, or given
an extra commit bit or something equally horrifying...

>4)	Can freebsd use a linux swap space?
>5)	What is this geometry bug and can it be fixed  How?
>This would at least be dual-boot windows and possibly linux for a little 
>familiarity. So this geometry problem has not allowed me to partition the 
>disk using linux and windows programs afterwards and it sems to have 
>currupted the partition table because there is no visible.
>I would appreciate someone's reply to these probably stupid questions
>Thanks for your time

I'm not real familiar with these issues, as I run FBSD "dd"
(alone!) and, as I said, am no expert on disk issues.  I'm
sorry if you feel I'm wasting your time.

There has been a thead or two on the questions list recently
about multi-booting, and probably about the Geometry issue as
well.  I'd certainly recommend browsing the archives at ...

Good luck,


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