FreeBSD 2.2.9 / Installation problem

Nino Ivanov niivanov at
Thu Mar 15 09:25:48 UTC 2007

Dear Sir or Madam,


First of all, I would like to thank all involved in this project for the
work they do, and wish them all the best for its continuation.


I would like to use FreeBSD on a certain machine, but unfortunately I have a
problem with the installation. I would like to mention that I have a
non-technical background, which might be relevant regarding any information
I supply, and also the way you address my problem. I am writing you with
regard to the following issue, and would appreciate your help greatly:


1. Ultimate Goal.


I am a law student, and in my field we are working a lot with
.pdf-documents. To my surprise, the Midnight Commander is able to display
them, at least in FreeBSD 6.1 which I use normally. (I have read somewhere
there is no text-mode .pdf-viewer; fortunately, this appears to be
incorrect.) I decided to put FreeBSD in text mode on my old laptop, so I can
view .pdf-documents on it while working on another machine.


2. The Means.


The target machine is a HP Omnibook 600c laptop with 8MB RAM, a 486 DX4
processor, 300 MB disk space. No CD drive. No network available. External
floppy drive without DMA. (I tried NetBSD, but because of the lack of DMA it
did not work properly.) The functioning of the floppy drive is critical,
being the machine's only practical means of communicating with the outer
world. Due to cost and time considerations, no upgrades are possible. If the
target machine is not suitable for an installation of FreeBSD, please let me
know so I stop further attempts.


Fortunately, the harddrive can be put into my main machine, a Compaq Armada
Laptop whose type I unfortunately don't know. Specifications of the Compaq
machine: 192 MB RAM, Internet access available, 300MHz PII CPU, CD drive and
floppy drive available. The CD drive cannot boot from CDs, so I am using the
boot floppies to initialize installation. The HP Omnibook harddrive fits in
by placing it into the PCMCIA slot, as the HP Omnibook drive physically has
PCMCIA connections.


3. The Problem.


I chose Novice Installation. The next screen informed me of what is to
happen now. The screen following it said:


No disk found! Please verify that your disk controller is being

properly probed at boot time.  See the Hardware Guide on the

Documentation menu for clues on diagnosing this type of problem. 


4. Analysis.


Frankly, I have no idea what to do. I have tried to install FreeBSD 4.11
using the same method. It was successful, however, I could not run it on the
HP Omnibook machine, as it appears it had not sufficient RAM: The booting
process of FreeBSD 4.11 initiated, but after a while started to preduce
errors until it broke off.


I must say, I have read the documentation, searched many times the Internet
etc., but not found anything regarding the issue. Maybe I have overlooked a
solution because of my non-technical background.


5. Desired solution.


All I want is a FreeBSD system with the Midnight Commander that shall
display my .pdf-files on my HP Omnibook 600c. I have no pretentions as to
which version, so long as it fits the purpose. So, I would be grateful if
you could advise me as to how to correct my installation problem of FreeBSD
2.2.9; however, if another solution looks better to you, please do not
hesitate to mention it.


I thank you in advance for your help.


Yours faithfully,


Nino Ivanov

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