Is it difficult to move from Linux

Bill Vermillion bv at
Tue Oct 23 07:26:19 PDT 2007

At Tue, Oct 23, 2007 at 12:00 , our malformed and occasionally
flatulent friend freebsd-questions-request at spewed
forth this fount of brain juice:

> Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2007 20:30:30 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Tim Judd <tjudd2k at>
> Subject: Re: Is it difficult to move from Linux?

> I subscribe to the digest, so below is a copy/paste of the
> question/mail i'm replying to:

> ----- QUOTE:
> Hi,

> I have been using Linux for over 10 years, but have for a number
> of reasons become very interested in learning to use FreeBSD.
> Are there any ex or current Linux users here and could you
> tell me how hard it is to make the shift from Linux? Is there
> anything in particular which has been written which would be
> useful to read?
> T.I.A. ----- /QUOTE

I'm not a Linux user - but have moved several Linux sites and
a SysV site into FreeBSD.

Most of it is fairly straight ahead but when moving users
from Linux or SysV's with the shadow password format into the
FreeBSD method it will take a bit of work.

master.passwd holds both the UID plus the password.

In Linux/SysV the shadow file holds that information and not
master.passwd. [The passwd file is readable by all but does not
contain passwords].

I'd cut/paste the passwd files and the shadow files together.

What you want is to get the encrypited passwd from shadow
into the passwd file so that it looks like a Linux/SysV passwd
file of days gone by.

And BSD has two extra fields in the password file and if you check
the   passwd(5) in FreeBSD you will see a two line script
which will add the two extra fields added in FreeBSD.

If you have only a few users it may be easier to just add them
manually but if you have to change hundreds I found the editing of
the two files together to be good.

Then you use 'vipw' the tool that manages the master.passwd file
and go down past the system names, and then delete all past that
and then suck in the modified files as I described above.

If you make a mistake 'vipw' will let you know that you have an
error and will not save the file.

If all goes well you have a new master.passwd with all the old user
password from Linux in there.

Be  SURE - REALLY SURE - you have made copies of the passwd and
master.passwd files.

And TRIPLY IMPORTANT - DO NOT LOGOUT when you are doing this.
When you get the saved file from 'vipw' all the other logins should

BUT TEST TEST on at least a couple of names using the old password
from Linux.  At the console you have ATL-F<N> keys to give extra
logins so this is a good place to test.

THEN before you logout BE QUADRUPLY Sure that you can login via
root - before you log out of your first session where you did
the original login.

I hope this helps.

When it's all done I'm sure you will grow to love FreeBSD.
It's documentation in superb [and if you look at some of the Linux
man pages you will see they are xBSD man pages that have had
global replacements using Linunx instead of FreeBSD.

Bill Vermillion - bv @ wjv . com

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