can I use info from gentoo installation?

Jeff Rollin jeff.rollin at
Tue Apr 3 23:15:22 UTC 2007

Hi Jeff

On 03/04/07, Jeff D. Hamann <jeff.hamann at> wrote:
> I've been a big fan of FreeBSD for a few years using it on desktop/headless
> servers and want to use it on my laptop (clevo m38aw, sager 3880). I
> couldn't find much on the web regarding hardware compatibility or
> installation guides for FreeBSD for this specific laptop, but did find the
> following guide for Gentoo linux
> but, I really want to stick with FreeBSD (love the ports collection, etc.).
> I have a few questions about possible paths to take.
> 1) If I try installing FreeBSD, will I be using much of the information
> about the drivers etc. from linux (linux binary compat, etc.)?

Unfortunately, no. FreeBSD and Linux use entirely different kernels,
which can't use each other's code because of licensing issues. You
might have better luck looking for information on using other BSD's
with that laptop, but don't quote me on that. (If you do, you might
consider using them if FreeBSD does not work - their packaging systems
are similar. Alternatively, try SabayonLinux, which uses Gentoo's
portage system (inspired by FreeBSD ports) but which unlike Gentoo can
be installed quickly using a precompiled set of binaries. They are
also "working up" to having the capability to build binaries from any
of the packages in portage.

> 2) I've tried getting FreeBSD (4.9, 5.X, <6.2) to work before on this laptop
> and couldn't even get the NIC to light up (neither of them) and the system
> doesn't have a floppy drive, so getting downloaded files onto the machine is
> tough, at best. When I tried using the USB stick, the machine would reboot
> each time I removed the stick. A no-go for use in my book. Are these
> troubles fixed in the 6.2?

You can find a list of compatible hardware on the FreeBSD website. If
the hardware you want to use isn't not there, it might work, or it
might not.

> 3) Will I be generating a one time thing by installing BSD on this laptop
> using the linux guide or are there others that need this information. I
> don't mind spending some time (I do have to get real work done) if it
> benefits others, but I don't have the time, if I can spend it better (like
> earning income!)

Well, I'm sure people would appreciate any information you can give.
In a world where HP is top dog (taking over from Dell) at only ~17%,
there aren't going to be THAT many people who have any specific make,
never mind model, of laptop.

> 3) Is this really worth the trouble, or does anyone have any experience with
> gentoo that they're willing to share that is convincing enough to simply
> forget this exercise and move on :-(

The trouble with Gentoo (and I say this having used it for three years
until just this week) is that when it breaks, it can take ages to fix
it. I probably will go back to Gentoo at some point - some aspects of
the distro, such as its user community, just rock - but for the moment
I have decided that it's too much work.



Q: What will happen in the Aftermath?

A: Impossible to tell, since we're still in the Beforemath.

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