freebsd install from floppy

Polytropon freebsd at
Mon Mar 8 09:59:19 UTC 2010

On Sun, 7 Mar 2010 13:58:07 -0800, Walt Pawley <walt at> wrote:
> At 1:28 PM -0500 3/6/10, Chuck Swiger wrote:
> >While I think floppy drives are still useful for BIOS updates and the
> >like, it's not just Apple that isn't selling machines with floppy
> >drives any more.  Go to HP or Dell and try to buy a new machine with a
> >floppy drive-- they don't sell them anymore, either...
> I certainly can't argue that modern machines typically have
> floppy drives ... even if the motherboard supports one.
> So what?

I think he wanted to point out that even if motherboards
today still support floppy disk drives, the computer itself
often does omit one. Instead, a blank cover is used for
the intended slot, or a SD + CF + who knows what reader
comes built-in.

This, of course, doesn't stop you from building one (or
two) into your box. But manufacturers seem to have agreed
that - especially in the home consumer market, which is
their most important playing field - floppies aren't
used anymore.

But soon, the ability to connect a floppy will disappear.
First, the connectors will vanish, followed by the
functionality within the hardware (e. g. BIOS) to
access them.

You find such a situation in notebooks. They don't have
floppy drives for many years now, and the only way to
access floppies with them is to buy (!) an external drive,
usually USB based. (I had such a situation with a customer
who needs floppy support, but had to buy a new notebook.
Imagine his surprise! While home customers already have
accepted that there are no floppies anymore, corporate
customers that work in a specific field still rely on
their presence.)

> Not everyone in the world throws their three year old
> computer in the trash so they can stay "up to date."

Average home consumers do. In fields where it is important
to have access to data and programs for much longer time,
you often don't find PCs, e. g. in the (still alive) mainframe
area, notably IBM's.

> I, for one,
> find it very annoying that new versions of software which once
> worked just fine on equipment I still use every day no longer
> work in their current incarnations.

That's a feeling I had, too, when upgrading my home system
from a perfectly working (until the total crash) 5.4 to 7.0,
from XFree86 to Lots of things had to be done, and
the observation that if you update things on FreeBSD, they
get better and faster, doesn't seem to be confirmed this
time (except for the OS) - speed down, usability down, overhead
up. But that, what we mostly call "bloat", be it in hardware
or in software, seems to be a needed motor for development,
at least I have been told that. :-)

It's a bit scary that the 300 MHz P2 (FreeBSD 5 and apps)
works much faster than my 2000 MHz P4 (FreeBSD 7 and apps).

> Delving into several such
> cases, I've found comments to the effect that functions are
> removed because no one uses the old stuff (ie. three years
> old) any more.

THere are still situations where you depend on three (or thirteen)
years old stuff, especially in data analytics and forensics.

The common situation, especially with home users, is to
constantly migrate data from one format to another (again,
this may mean file format as well as storage media), to
keep them accessible.

By the way, I have floppies older than twenty (20!) years
that work perfectly - that's much longer as a "modern" DVD
driver works. :-)

This leads me to my conclusion again: The older something
is, the longer it lasts. Mostly.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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