FreeBSD on disc

Polytropon freebsd at
Mon May 12 20:26:35 UTC 2014

(Re-including the list, hope that's okay.)

On Sun, 11 May 2014 12:59:47 -0600, Jack Richard wrote:
> Thanks for your response. The usual avenues of communication only result
> with no response at all.

What mean of communication do you usually use? I know there
are web forums dedicated to BSD, but personally I prefer the
mailing list (easier to work with). If you address this list
and "do your homework" (mention everything important and try
things, provide error messages and so on), you'll get a polite
and helpful answer in almost every case.

> I own a Toshiba Satellite. amd64. 8 GB/ram. 640 GB/he.

That sounds quite okay.

> I have installed EVERY ISO that hit the news feed on

Do they include FreeBSD? Interesting! :-)

> Here is the best info I can provide:
> On FreeBSD 8.0-8.4 ===> No graphical environment or wireless. After a
> month, I finally realized that this task was chasing a dead rabbit-  I
> followed every direction and every suggestion; no progress.

Did you follow the handbook in how to setup X and wireless?
There are _few_ cases where graphics is limited to VESA (when
the graphics hardware is so strange that _no_ driver will be
usable), and some wireless kits simply are not supported. This
is because the manufacturer chose not to implement existing
standards _and_ not to provide drivers or documentation. In
such a case, using USB wireless or a PCCARD based adapter often
is a good solution.

> FreeBSD 9.0 & 9.1 ===> Graphical environment was achieved but no wireless
> or USB activity.

So apparently the graphics hardware is working. What wireless
chipset is included in the computer you're using?

> I couldn't even port the packages to the system with a
> member stick.

This could indicate problems on many levels: USB defective,
USB stick defective, mangled formatting, and so on.

> FreeBSD 10.0 & 10.1 ===> Totally horrible! Try #1: The X-Server was not
> configured correctly during installation.

The X server _will not be configured_ during installation.
Ideally, X will automatically detect the hardware and load
the proper driver (which of course should be installed if
it's a separate port or package).

Few months ago, I've been installing FreeBSD 10.0 on a Dell
laptop. I got X and wireless working. The graphical interface
worked out of the box, I added Gnome. Wireless worked after
I had configured it as the handbook says.

Just for reference, those documentations are involved:

If you encounter trouble, please state at which step, and
provide an error message or better than "doesn't work"
description of the result.

> Try:#2: The operating system could not read the media (DVD) that it read
> minutes before during installation.

Interesting. This can happen with "modern" drives which do
not have the tolerance, especially in combination with cheap
optical media. To totally avoid this problem, use the USB
image and boot via USB to perform the installation. If this
is not an option, create another installation media and
verify it (re-read, and maybe check if it boots in another
computer). Maybe swap the optical drive, if you can.

> Try #3: After 3 hours trying to make the system recognise Wlan0, I was on
> the web, but every 5 minutes I had to manually reconnect.

So even wireless _has been_ working. When it stops working,
there is a reason.

> I managed to send
> the system (cli) to retrieve and install a package. I could not because the
> terminal informed me that the pkg I requested had unmet dependencies.

Very strange. But remember: pkg is still evolving, there may
be some cases where no package is available for a certail
component. But this can then be installed via the ports tree
with a simple "make install" in the corresponding directory.

> I
> also found 15% of the repository I inherited from installation had unmet
> dependencies.

It seems that the installation hasn't been performed properly.
When you have successfully installed the OS, everything should
work. I have not seen something different since v4.0. Can you
provide error messages about _what_ dependencies are missing?

> The expression BS was shortened from Blue Screen.

It's usually very rare to relate Blue Screen to FreeBSD because
it doesn't have that feature. :-)

> This term I use every
> time I come a cross a version of FreeBSD that will freeze with a blank blue
> screen for unlimited time until you push the ENTER button so it will
> continue installation.

That somehow sounds familiar. Check the mailing list archive,
there should be a thread for what you're describing. A blue
screen actually is there - it's part of the installer (it is
its background color), so it _may_ be possible that the installer
is in a "wait state", for example, when retrying and retrying
to read from a defective CD or DVD. I have actually seen that.
THe system console (on Alt+F1) should be full of white error
messages, stating read errors.

> Any ISO I find with that bug usually will freeze 2-3
> times during installation.

And you're 100 % sure your computer is working correctly? Just
in case: Get a memtest CD and check for defective RAM, also
check the BIOS if voltages and temperature are within range.
Defective hardware can lead to the strangest forms of system

> To sum up the info you may need, I must say that after 2 yrs and $300 with
> of DVD and 72 hr shifts, I feel cheated-  lol.

I'm sad to hear that. But as you will agree: Computers only
do what they are told, and when they "act strange", there is
a reason for that, no matter if we humble humans will ever
find an understanding for that reason. :-)

> Example:
> FreeBSD is by far a system that is not only attractive, but powerfully as
> he'll. Using the system with very limited capability shows FreeBSD to be 3X
> more stable than any other system I have ever installed.

I fully agree.

> Why can I not get an ISO that includes a capable installer?

The ISO contains a capable installer. I've been using sysinstall
(old installer) and bsdinstall (new installer) on various occassions.
But as I said: Defective installation media can be a big problem.
That is something I've also seen in reality.

> When I say
> capable, I mean get the hardware right, configure all aspects of the system
> during installation, including wireless.

That is not the task of the OS installer, but more of the system
operator, which is _you_. However, "all aspects" is hard to grab
because all systems are different. And as I said, not everything
that exists is supported.

> Debian had the same carp going on until enough was said & support
> diminished. Debian 7 came with a work around thru the installer for
> wireless.

There are wireless setup tools for X, for example "wifimgr". The
installer itself does only contain basic networking setup capa-
bilities because it's just TOO MUCH you can setup, all this
functionality doesn't fit into the installer.

> If 75 other systems that have a very low attention average can configure my
> WiFi card as Wlan0, then why can FreeBSD not?

Because either your wireless set isn't supported (but it is, as
you said it had been working) or because an error happened during
the installation.

But really try to setup wireless manually first, just for checking,
and if it works, make the setting permanent (rc.conf, wpa_supplicant
et al.). That what I did. Setup once, then keep using.

> Is it not important because
> everyone has a writer connection? Or could it be a lack of volunteers?

Maybe. Remember that sometimes it would be neccessary to reverse
engineer something, and that can be _really_ expensive.

> Or
> is this project only to boast its developer and not give a hoot if anyone
> makes it work or not?

The FreeBSD developers and partners deliver an excellent OS, and
if you want to help them to make it better, "do your homework"
and state what you have problems with. They're happy about every
helpful input, and maybe your wireless will work as expected in
the next release. Of course it's important to provide more
precise information: What wireless device exactly, steps of
wireless configuration as per the handbook, error messages.

> Please understand that you are not the only system that keeps me on hold.

I am not a system, I am a real person! :-)

> Solaris 11 has everything working now except wireless.

Yes, Solaris is also a cool system that I have around here
(plus different Linusi and even MacOS X). Still FreeBSD adds
a lot of productivity here that I do not find equivalent things
on the other systems.

> Thanks for your time and I will watch for your reply.

You're welcome.

On Sun, 11 May 2014 13:31:04 -0600, Jack Richard wrote:
> Sir, I have one additional point I wish to make:
> If funds are needed to make FreeBSD 11.0 work out of the box, please
> confirm this and make it globally known.

I cannot speak for the FreeBSD project, I'm just a normal
person. :-)

You can donate to the FreeBSD foundation and request more
information about funding:

> All you need is a developer or two to devote the time and effort to ensure
> that ALL hardware is detected and configured during installation.

No. You need god-like abilities to do so. :-)

The problem here is "all". You simply just cannot do this. All
devices are different, especially those that do not follow
existing standards. Expecting "everything" to work is just a
futile waste of brain capacity. It doesn't work that way.

Just imagine the installer would have to load a plethora of
device drivers at boot, or spend hours in "autodetect magic"
just to finally find out that there is no graphics hardware
in the server it's installing on, or that 16 GB RAM aren't
sufficient for all the drivers. That would be terrible. :-)

And one or two developers cannot achieve what is needed here.
For example: vendor support. What if the manufacturer decides
not to tell anybody what his new wireless card does? It's his
right to do so, but how could a developer make a driver for

> If all
> Debian based and forks can do it-  so can you.

But Debian does not recognize _all_ hardware that exists or
_configures_ it during the installer. That's just not true.
It's right that Linux (in general) has the best support for
hardware among all operating systems, but it just does not
cover _all_ of them (even though a high percentage of hard-
ware is supported).

> If I could legally do it, I'd use FreeBSD with any network manager from
> another system to make it work; problem is getting permission to do that.

What network manager would that be? If it's free software,
you _have_ the right to use it with FreeBSD. Read the FreeBSD
license in order to find out what you are allowed to do.
Shortcut: You can do virtually _everything_ you want with
it. Add a custom network manager, a custom installer, make
a new "software product" from it - no problem.

> Please help before I give up and label FreeBSD a hoax.

This is all I can do at the moment, given that the information
you provided isn't as precise as needed. But maybe the resources
I pointed out can help you.

And again: Check your system and your media! Corrupted CDs or
DVDs can lead to the strangest things...

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

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