new 6.1 install will not boot

Perry Hutchison perryh at
Fri Aug 18 03:01:53 UTC 2006

> > The BIOS clears the screen and loads the boot sector, then nothing.
> I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, but I can say I've 
> installed FreeBSD x.y on just about every flavor of Dell hardware 
> without much trouble, so it should work for you. Disclaimer: the 
> Dimension line is highly variable re: component types, chip versions 
> and overall quality, so all bets are off there, even though all the 
> pieces are generally "mainstream hardware".

It's an Optiplex GX1, with 192MB/10GB.

> Did you install using the default/suggested disk geometry and slice 
> arrangement, or did  you try to tune things as the installer went along?

I didn't try to mess with the geometry, but I didn't give FreeBSD the
whole disk -- I intend for it to coexist with Linux and a FAT32 OS.
I also adjusted the subpartitioning (and this seems to be necessary
-- see below).

> Try this: Reinstall, and if prompted about disk geometry problems 
> just let the installer do what it wants to. When prompted to choose 
> a disk location to install to, choose "A" for "Use Entire Disk", and 
> when prompted to slice up that disk area, choose "A" again for "Auto 
> Defaults". When prompted for a boot manager, choose to install the 
> FreeBSD MBR.

It worked better this time.  I suspect the important difference was
that I let it install the FreeBSD MBR (with considerable misgivings,
given the onscreen caution about PC-DOS -- but the FreeBSD boot
manager does seem to boot Windoze without problems).

Unfortunately, it looks as if I'll have to do it *again* because
the default /usr size was quite a bit too small -- even though
sysinstall had over 3GB to start with.

Using the default allocation of that 3GB, and selecting a Developer
configuration (including ports), the install stopped with

  Couldn't create directory /usr/compat: No space left on device.

"df" confirms that /usr is full (and the considerably larger /var
is nearly empty):

  Filesystem  1K-blocks    Used   Avail Capacity  Mounted on
  /dev/ad0s3a    507630   35212  431808     8%    /
  devfs               1       1       0   100%    /dev
  /dev/ad0s3e    507630      12  467008     0%    /tmp
  /dev/ad0s3f    832504  811572  -45668   106%    /usr
  /dev/ad0s3d   1190350     248 1094874     0%    /var

In case it matters, uname -a reports:

  FreeBSD gx1 6.1-RELEASE FreeBSD 6.1-RELEASE #0: Sun May  7 04:32:43 UTC 2006     root at  i386

Evidently I need to make /, /tmp, and /var quite a bit smaller,
so as to enlarge /usr.

> ... if you still have problems describe to the list
> the end result you're trying to achieve by your tuning.

The first goal is to finish the install without running out of
space :)  I'd prefer to also arrange for FreeBSD to share the
Linux swap space -- thus freeing up more space for /usr or /home
by eliminating ad0s3b -- rather than leaving the Linux swap
unused when FreeBSD is running.  I've found some mentions of
Linux swap partitions in the FreeBSD source code, so I suspect
that this might be possible, but I didn't find any mention in
the docs of how to do it.

The drive currently has three primary partitions (Linux /boot,
FAT32, FreeBSD) and an extended partition containing Linux swap
and Linux root.  Partition Commander (commercial) shows the disk
layout as

    Ptn   size   ----- type -----  1st sector  # of sectors
    P1      7M   Linux ext2 0x83          63       16002
    P0   2.44G   FAT32      0x08       16128     5124672
    P2   3.34G   Unix       0xA5     5140800     7020405
    P3   3.73G   Extended   0x0F    12161205     7823655
     L0    392M   Linux swap 0x82    12161268      803187
     L1   3.34G   Linux ext2 0x83    12964518     7020342

To answer one forseeable question before it is asked :) I have
quite a bit of Un*x experience, but have not done much system
setup or administration since SunOS 4.1.

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