Failed installation of FreeBSD 5.4

Greg Barniskis nalists at
Fri Aug 12 16:05:03 GMT 2005

Milscvaer wrote:
> I am attempting to install FreeBSD on a Pentium system
> (133 Mhz Intel). The system already had 4.6 on it so I
> wished to delete the 4.6 system from the filesystem
> and install 5.4 onto the same UFS filesystem, while
> keeping /usr/home in place. I deleted everything
> except /usr/home (which I want the installer to leave
> in place anything inside there) (and except for the
> kernel perhaps, but that will get overwritten anyway
> right by the new install?), and then booted from 5.4
> boot disks to install FreeBSD. I figured that this
> should work ok since I have done it before when
> upgrading from 4.6 to 4.9 on another system and
> everything went fine.

You should have no problem with this basic approach, except that 
your migrating file system won't get upgraded to UFS2. I'd guess 
that your P-133 is not a production server and that lacking UFS2 
features on your home directory will be no great loss.

> The install program seem to complete successfully, I
> then rebooted the system, but the boot process stopped
> at the boot prompt, making beeping sounds. I tried the
> installation process again but with same result.

Which boot prompt? The disk selector (F1, F2, ..., Fn to choose a 
disk to boot from) or the new boot menu where you can select 
different ways of booting (safe mode, etc.), or at the kernel's 
"boot:" prompt? Does it beep of its own accord, or whenever you 
strike keys?

If it's beeping at the disk selector when you strike keys, then 
somehow your partition scheme is wonky -- possibly you've got 
multiple disks and have installed the boot menu on each one, which 
can get rather messy. Since you are manually creating a partition 
scheme, rather than doing something like "Auto Defaults", are you 
remembering to make your FreeBSD slice bootable (active)?. Do you 
have enough RAM to run 5.4 (24 MB minimum)?

> I have heard about the lapse in quality and useability
> since 5.x, and now I am more inclined to believe it.

Some (more than a few) folks have had specific hardware 
compatibility issues that I would not describe generally as a lapse 
in quality of the FreeBSD code, though the affected users may surely 
have another opinion. In my case, I've been testing 5.4 on about 10 
different motherboard/disk combinations and have experienced zero 
defects. In my opinion, usability and general quality is definitely 
raised, not lowered, in the latest releases.

It can be argued (and has been, a lot) whether the hardware problems 
that some folks clearly do have are the fault of the hardware or of 
the new FreeBSD architecture. Myself, I think it's probably a little 
of each. Even though the hardware in question often "works fine" 
with other operating systems, that's not in my view conclusive 
evidence that the new FreeBSD code is bad. Make up your own mind, by 
all means, but jumping to conclusions is rarely going to help you 
actually resolve a problem.

Greg Barniskis, Computer Systems Integrator
South Central Library System (SCLS)
Library Interchange Network (LINK)
<gregb at>, (608) 266-6348

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