where to ask about problems with bsdinstall in 9.0RC2?

William Bulley web at umich.edu
Sat Nov 19 22:15:47 UTC 2011

According to Ian Smith <smithi at nimnet.asn.au> on Sat, 11/19/11 at 13:29:
> I doubt that's your problem, going by my experiences with BETA1 and 
> following the freebsd-current archives for a couple of months; others 
> have described similar problems installing over existing slices, and in 
> my mind it points to a relatively large deficiency in bsdinstall versus 
> sysinstall (still available from 'Live CD' mode, at BETA1 anyway)

Thanks.  This makes me feel better and not so clueless.  I had guessed
that bsdinstall was ready for prime time, but evidently not.

> Unfortunately that concentrates on creating a GPT layout, encouraging a 
> Linux-like single (plus a boot) partition - forget using dump/restore -
> and says nothing much about installing over an existing setup with MBR 
> partitioning and multiple slices, a not uncommon setup on many existing 
> laptops .. eg here I want to install over a previous 7.2-RELEASE 60GB 
> slice partitioned as I want it - 1GB /, 4GB /var, 16GB /usr and ~37GB 
> /home.  Further, I want to preserve /home as is, despite having backups.

OMG!  :-(

> sysinstall's partitioning is more sophisticated; you get to specifically 
> toggle on or off newfs'ing each partition, as well as specifying newfs 
> options if you want.  So it's clear whether you'll be newfs'ing / and 
> which other partitions, and which you'll be leaving alone, eg /home.

I will have to "revert" to the "disc1" - but wait, there isn't one!?!?!?!

I will have to use the "bootonly" solution, sigh...   :-(

> On BETA1 I recorded "Extract Error while extracting base.txz: can't set 
> user=0/group=0 for /var/empty Can't update time for /var/empty .." which 
> someone/s else also reported, which turned out to be misleading .. the 
> basic problem is that the filesystem isn't empty, ie as after newfs.

Most assuredly the problem as my disk partitions were completely full
of 8.2-STABLE and useable as such (and still are since the 9.0RC2 install

> The workaround given then was to boot in Live CD (aka Fixit) mode, and 
> newfs the appropriate partitions, manually or with SADE - in your case 
> probably all of /, /var and /usr - and then rerun the install onto clear 
> partition/s; it's not and never should be required to scrap existing 
> partitioning.

This sucks as a workaround IMHO.  I agree with you last sentence.

> Something else not clearly evident to me is (or at least was) that if 
> you don't supply a mountpoint for a partition, it won't be used; in my 
> case I'd have to leave my /home partition unmentioned so it would be 
> left alone .. after all, every partition on every slice is listed as a 
> possible install target.  I admit not having tried this again since, 
> after feeling a bit lucky not to have destroyed my whole 7.2 slice, but 
> that was BETA1 after all ..

I did, in fact, supply mount points for /, /var and /usr (n/a to swap).
However, as I said there was some ugliness in the User Experience with
that phase of bsdinstall - there were only two writeable "textareas"
for each partition and when I tried to give the mount point, I found
that I was writing into the first "textarea" which was already filled
in with "freebsd" as I recall.  Moving to the second "textarea" to enter
the mount point was successful, but there was no way to move to the "OK"
or "cancel" buttons at the bottom of this "window".  Fortunately, I was
able to continue by entering the "return" key on my keyboard, which was
not clearly documented.

> I haven't yet discovered whether or how bsdinstall handles setting 
> boot0cfg for multi-boot systems, and I've seen no mention of boot0cfg or 
> anything similar (apart from Linuxisms like GRUB) for GPT setups at all.

Don't have anything to say about those items...

> Yep.  I'd hoped this might be fixed (or at least documented?) by now, 
> but I think bsdinstall has to be considered still in development at this 
> stage - ie, for 9.0 - except for such as installing to new systems, for 
> which it appears to be working very well.  Some have implied that the 
> sort of installs we're attempting should require prior expertise, but 
> even people who've been installing FreeBSD for a decade or so have been 
> confused by this one, and you shouldn't need to read current@ to know 
> how to deal with this sort of installation error, in my view.

"Should require prior expertise"!?!?!?!?!

I've been building (from source) and using FreeBSD since 2.1.5 back in
around 1995 or 1996 as far as I can recall - and I have the CDROMs
purchased from Walnut Creek to prove it!   :-)

And I agree about not having to subscribe to current either (which I

> Fortunately sysinstall is still there, and while it can't handle GPT 
> partitioning, should still be useful for partitioning and maintaining 
> many existing systems.  I've yet to install RC1, and here's RC2, but I'm 
> encouraged to see the memstick.img has dropped GPT partitioning for MBR 
> with a single provider (eg da0a) so it can be again used by sysinstall; 
> in my case I'd rather use that than manually newfs needed partitions.
> I hope someone will correct any now-obsolete concerns I've expressed :)

Thanks again.  I think sysinstall is excellent and should be retained.
I will try the "bootonly" approach _with_ sysinstall and see if I can
get 9.0RC2 loaded "properly".   :-)



William Bulley                     Email: web at umich.edu

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