FreeBSD install.

Polytropon freebsd at
Sun Jul 12 20:16:47 UTC 2015

On Sat, 11 Jul 2015 22:02:07 -0600, reg at wrote:
> I have been trying for several months to put PCBSD 10.1 and FreeBSD 10.1
> on one disk. I finally gave up, and am installing FreeBSD over
> the top of my previous PCBSD. sigh.

It should be no big problem to allocate two slices, put
FreeBSD in one, PC-BSD in the other, and add the FreeBSD
boot manager to select which OS to boot. This has been
possible for decades now, and it isn't "special".

> After several attempts to put FreeBSD in a partition on the disk
> I gave up, and let it have the full 500GB disk.  Mumph.

Did you use MBR or GPT partitioning? As far as I remember,
the GPT approach doesn't support boot manager use yet.

> The install seems to go well, I give it an IP address, hostname,
> etc, and get down to the point where you reboot.
> I say yes to the reboot, and instead of rebooting from disk, I
> get the bios messages (Im using a mbr) that say its trying to 
> boot from the ethernet.

This indicates that you've missed to add a boot record for
the disk, so obviously the BIOS doesn't find anything that
screams "Here! Here! I'm bootable!" :-)

> I went back and did this a 2nd time, just to be sure, but got
> the same result.

So you missed the boot part a second time.

> What gives?
> I dont remember having this sort of problem when I ran FreeBSD
> 20 years ago?

Yes, this kind of problems seems to happen now that many parts
of FreeBSD are in a "transition phase"... :-(

> And why isnt the installer smart enough to install to a partition,
> every other OS in existence can do that.

Depends on how "every other OS in existence" defines what "partition"
means. :-)

But you're right - what you plan to do is possible with MBR
slices (commonly called "DOS primary partitions").

Let's say you have 500 GB and want to use it as 50/50. Then
you prepare the disk as follows:

ada0   <- for boot manager
ada0s1 <- for FreeBSD
ada0s2 <- for PC-BSD

You can do this either with gpart (using MBR partitioning)
or with fdisk, the "old" tool for dealing with MBR.

Use boot0cfg to add the boot manager.

The slices can be formatted to carry _one_ file system (no
further subpartitioning a la disklabel), it has to be an
'a' partition (bootable partition):


Use bsdlabel to create it, spanning the whole disk size.
Use newfs to initialize it, or leave that task to the
installers of FreeBSD and PC-BSD.


The BIOS will now see ada0 bootable. It will continue to
transfer control to the boot manager. The boot manager
then will see two slices carrying a bootable file system
each, and will let you decide which one to boot. As soon
as control is transfered to one of the slices, the kernel
loader will load the kernel, mount the root file system,
and continue booting the OS.

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

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