FreeBSD 6.0 - install critiques - install issues

F. Even - fbsd-questions freebsdlists at
Fri Jan 27 00:40:39 PST 2006

First I’d like to say that your website is very informative and I 
appreciate the links.  I would point out though that I’m not a newb and 
you missed the point of most of my message.

> Message: 30
> Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 10:16:58 -0800
> From: "Dan O'Connor" <dan at>
> Subject: Re: FreeBSD 6.0 - install critiques - install issues
> To: <freebsd-questions at>
> Message-ID: <037b01c62112$5d46b240$0599460a at dan>
> Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; charset="iso-8859-1";
> 	reply-type=response

> I've noticed zero oddities, if you're prepared as recommended in the 
> Handbook 
> (

I was prepared, but the oddities I describe exist.

> Installation of 6.0 was dirt simple. Here's how i did it: 

Yes, it is pretty easy.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that there are 
not oddities/issues/bugs in the install that could be looked over.

> When setup asks if you want to go back and change anything (before it 
> installs the system), if you say yes, you get sysintall's menu--where 
> you can configure/reconfigure your network interfaces, as well as all 
> the other options that you were asked about.

...and that’s fine.  I in fact did that, I know that.  But that misses 
the point.  I think it is safe to say that most anyone would expect to 
be returned to the point of the install where they were at when they hit 
the cancel button.  That is broken behavior, and the install has had 
these type of oddities for as long as I can remember.  I was just 
figuring since it seems like sysinstall has grown slightly with the rest 
of the OS that these little things might have been caught/fixed by now.

> Or, you can finish the install and edit /etc/rc.conf's one 
> line to configure a network card:
>     ifconfig_xl0="inet netmask"

I realize that....but the issue is that sysinstall isn’t doing what most 
any person would probably expect in that part of the install (if you 
attempt to cancel out of it that is).

> Sendmail is *always* installed as part of the base system, since so many 
> programs rely on it being there.

I realize that...I thought that might have changed with the option of 
“No MTA” in sysinstall...but I’m starting to realize what that probably 
means is “sendmail_enable=NONE” in /etc/rc.conf?

> You should install Postfix via the ports once your base system is up and 
> running.

Yes, maybe, no.  There is a menu option in sysinstall...I would expect 
it to work.  I ended up with postfix installed, but sendmail still 
running and no startup script for postfix (or changes to mailer.conf to 
enable it to start through the postfix sendmail binary).  It appears No 
MTA worked after I chose that after seeing sendmail up and running, 
because it added “sendmail_enable=NONE” to rc.conf and sendmail wasn’t 
running after a reboot.... when I choose “postfix” again in 
sysinstall, will it work this time?  I guess I’ll try it when I get home 
tonight and see.  Either way...this is most DEFINITELY “odd” behavior at 
the very least.

> If you do that, it will prompt you if you want Postfix to edit 
> /etc/mailer.conf. At the end of the install, it gives you the exact 
> lines you need to put in /etc/rc.conf to disable sendmail and use 
> Postfix.
> Here's how I do it: 

You missed the whole point.  I know how to install postfix.  That’s not 
the entire issue.  I can grab it from source and install it also.  No 
big deal.  The problem is that sysinstall isn’t working as expected here.

> Don't be afraid of the ports collection. Ports are your friend!

Gee...I wonder how I got bash on my machine after it was up and running....

> There's no need to go back and reinstall.

A matter of perspective.  True...I suppose there is no *need*.  I like 
my systems to have gone through a completely event-less install process 
though before moving on.  Which technically means then that this install 
became my “dry run” (which if sysinstall had behaved as I think most 
people would expect, a “dry run” would be unnecessary).

> You should consider the installation procedure as nothing more than a 
> means of getting all the files off the CD and onto your hard drive. From 
> that point forward, FreeBSD is easily configured without using 
> sysinstall. All you need to know how to do is use a keyboard.  :-) 

*sigh*  Not at all condescending eh?  I’m aware of this.  BUT, having 
options in sysinstall DOES make some things easier.  Plus...what more 
could you ask for in a menuing system?  It’s concise, straight to the 
point, and works in a terminal.  Now if everything worked as expected, 
it’d be close to perfect.  Sometimes menu systems are nice, sometimes 
they make some things easier...and depending on the system, sometimes 
they help you learn about some things.  Have you ever seen SMIT in AIX? 
  It has a cool option to show you the command the option you chose is 
executing (if you didn’t already know).  Very nice.

> Again, sendmail is part of the base system and is always installed. No 
> need to remove it--you can easily run Postfix without having to remove 
> sendmail.

I wasn’t sure if this had changed or not in 6.  Perl used to be part of 
the base system also...and it isn’t anymore.  It just wasn’t clear with 
the options in sysinstall (in my eyes, “No MTA” in fact means NO MTA!!).

> I invite you to check out my FreeBSD Cheat Sheets; you'll find FreeBSD 
> isn't nearly that hard to setup and use.

Nice site.  I’ve never said it was hard to setup, and if you actually 
read my entire message, you’d have realized that you didn’t really 
address any of the issues that I brought up and that I actually have a 
clue what I’m doing.  The fact of the matter is that sysinstall has had 
some odd/broken behavior for awhile...and for the time this great OS has 
been around...I’m just rather surprised that it still does things 
somewhat oddly.  The fact that I couldn’t go back into sysinstall, 
configure mail, pick postfix, and have it work, IS BROKEN!  There should 
at least be a caveat then that explains when it will work (say, only on 
initial setup and if you haven’t already made another choice). an addendum to this...I've dug further into the MTA config 
portion of sysinstall...and it is completely broke (worthy of a bug 
report IMHO).

Lesse...if you cancel out of the MTA/mail config during install, you are 
left with sendmail.

If you go back later and choose "None" for MTA, it sets 
sendmail_enable=NONE in rc.conf (reasonable).

Now...if you go back into sysinstall and choose Postfix, it installs 
postfix, yet only re-enables sendmail, DESPITE sysinstall saying:

"Postfix is now installed and enabled as the default MTA."

Now...if I WERE a newbie...this would be annoyingly confusing.

Mind you, /etc/mail/mailer.conf isn't changed at all.

Taking it one step further...if you go back and choose "None" for an MTA 
again, sysinstall places "sendmail_enable=NONE" in rc.conf again 
(reasonable I suppose).  Now...if I go back into sysinstall and choose 
Exim for the installs it and enables it as your default 

----Mail - Exim

Exim is now installed and enabled as the default MTA.
# -- sysinstall generated deltas -- # Thu Jan 26 04:50:42 2006

root at vabsd# ps auxwww | grep exim
mailnull   442  0.0  0.5  5612  2756  ??  Is    4:53AM   0:00.00 
/usr/local/sbin/exim -bd -q30m (exim-4.52-0)

root at vabsd# cat /etc/mail/mailer.conf
# --- Generated by sysinstall ---
# Execute exim instead of sendmail
sendmail        /usr/local/sbin/exim
send-mail       /usr/local/sbin/exim
mailq           /usr/local/sbin/exim
newaliases      /usr/local/sbin/exim
hoststat        /usr/bin/true
purgestat       /usr/bin/true

...the downside if you want to remove exim and choose a 
different MTA through can't.

Choosing "None" for an MTA will again set "sendmail_enable=NONE", yet 
exim_enable will still =YES....meaning you still have an MTA enabled.

If you go through and pick Postfix yet again, it will simply set 
sendmail_enable=YES again, but mailer.conf will still be configured for 
exim, so it will fire up the exim sendmail binary (at NO point does the 
MTA selection in sysinstall come remotely close to starting postfix, 
which to any reasonable being I think would be classified as being broken).


P.S.  I know how to get it working....but for the sake of simplicity and 
non-confusion....sysinstall should have consistency in it's interface, 
and the options that are presented should in fact work/do what they say.

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