Migrating from Linux (keeping partitions at install time)

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at msu.edu
Sat Nov 7 22:37:59 UTC 2009

On Sat, Nov 07, 2009 at 09:34:48PM +0000, David Chanters wrote:

> Hi all,
> I am considering switching from Debian Linux to FreeBSD.  I am
> wondering if at install time, sysinstall is able to allow me to keep
> "/home" from my Debian installation.  "/home" on Debian is currently a
> separate partition in its own right, mounted as RXT3.  I only have the
> one hard disk in my machine.
> So, questions:
> 1.  Can the installer be told to not touch "/home" at install time (I
> appreciate I would have to ensure I mapped the current /dev/hda2
> terminology to slices in BSD parlance)

If you have enough other room to install FreeBSD on the disk and that
/dev/hda2 partition is not right in the middle of space you need for
installing FreeBSD.   eg, as long as it is in some ignorable place/space
on the disk.

> 2.  Does the fact that this is an EXT3 partition matter?  (I have read
> FreeBSD supports ext2, and ext3 is just ext2 with a journal, so it can
> be mounted as ext2 if needed).

I don't know if ext2 vs ext3 matters.   It might.  I would be inclined to
want to make a backup of everthing on that partition and keep it somewhere
you can get back to after FreeBSD is installed.  Either tar or rsync it
all to somewhere.  Dump(8) is sensitive to OS, so it is one circumstance 
in which I do not recommend dump/restore for this type of backup.

Now, providing that ext3 thing is not a problem,  you can probably leave
that filesystem/partition there if you have plenty of other space to install 
FreeBSD and set things up.   Then you would probably want to copy everything 
from that old /home to a new one in FreeBSD space.  You would just mount the 
old one as something like /oldhome and copy the stuff from it to whereever
you have space in FreeBSD - maybe a new /home filesystem.

Not so sure I did anything for your most important question - if ext2 s ext3
is a problem, but I hope the rest is helpful.

> 3. Is it possible/beneficial to convert this to UFS once FreeBSD is installed?

Yes, absolutely - mount it and copy it to a FreeBSD filesystem if you 
plan to use it any amount.

Good luck,


> Thanks in advance for any help.
> David
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