FreeBSD installation doesn't work

Oliver Fromme olli at
Fri Sep 19 09:43:15 UTC 2008

Matthew Seaman wrote:
 > Mel wrote:
 > > that's aside from the fact that the root partition '/' always has to be the 
 > > first partition, for the simple reason that everything else is mounted on top 
 > > of it.
 > It's not the partition device names that determine the mount order, but
 > the order of the entries in /etc/fstab.

Actually not even the order in /etc/fstab matters.  You can
place the root file system last and it will still work.
The important thing is that the root file system must be
partition "a" in the label, because this is hardcoded in
the boot loader (and probably in a few other places, too).

The boot loader then hands the location of the root file
system to the kernel.  (However, it is possible to override
it, so in fact you can have a root file system different
from the file system containing /boot.  This is how booting
with rootfs on ZFS works.)

Later in the process, the /etc/rc script (and its children
in /etc/rc.d/*) uses information from /etc/fstab to locate
the root file system for fsck and to remount it read/write.
Of course it is identified by its mountpoint ("/"), not by
the position of the entry within /etc/fstab.

So the order in /etc/fstab really doesn't matter.
Just make sure that your root file system is partition "a".

Best regards

Oliver Fromme, secnetix GmbH & Co. KG, Marktplatz 29, 85567 Grafing b. M.
Handelsregister: Registergericht Muenchen, HRA 74606,  Geschäftsfuehrung:
secnetix Verwaltungsgesellsch. mbH, Handelsregister: Registergericht Mün-
chen, HRB 125758,  Geschäftsführer: Maik Bachmann, Olaf Erb, Ralf Gebhart

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