New BSD Installer

Kevin Oberman kob6558 at
Tue Feb 14 19:51:11 UTC 2012

On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 9:43 AM, Devin Teske <devin.teske at> wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: owner-freebsd-stable at [mailto:owner-freebsd-
>> stable at] On Behalf Of Ian Smith
>> Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 9:15 AM
>> To: Bruce Cran
>> Cc: FreeBSD Stable Mailing List; Joe Holden; Alex Samorukov
>> Subject: Re: New BSD Installer
>> Strangely, the big push to GPT partitions was oft said to be because MBR
>> slices provided too few partitions.
> That's part of it (no pun intended).
> The other big deal is that you can't exceed 2TB on a single primary partition.
>> I never found 4 * 6 much of a limit
>> myself, and now the default install makes a Linux-like single partition,
>> rendering dump & restore more or less unusable or at least impractical,
> I'm with you on this one. I really don't like the single-"/" setup.
>> while booting multiple systems on GPT also seems to require Linux tools.
>> I don't know whether this move away from BSD traditional filesystem
>> partitioning (/, /var, /usr etc) to Linux-style came down from Core On
>> High or is just the prerogative of installer-writers?  Jordan was both
>> the latter and a big part of the former for many years, but I guess
>> that's something that can be reverted if people feel to do so.
> Maybe a vote should be taken. There's about 12 votes in this office here alone
> for putting the partition scheme back the way it was (Colin Percival had a great
> formula for determining partition sizes).

I suggest that both be implemented, which looks to the untrained eye
as a straight-forward thing to implement, and then the install ask if
a single partition or a traditional multi-partition system should be
installed. I prefer multi and use that on all of my systems.

I also really prefer GPT for a variety of reasons, but we need better
tools to support things. I miss booteasy. Yes, you can get it to boot
from a different partition, but it is a pain. I deal with it by
putting FreeBSD on one disk and Windows on another when I want a
dual-boot system. I put the MBR formatted (Windows) is first in the
boot order, so I can just hit F5 to boot the FreeBSD disk.

This works for me, but I suspect that lots of people would prefer
having multiple OSes on a single disk...especially when it's a single
spindle laptop. (I suspect laptops are more commonly dual-boot than
most any other platform.)

As for fdisk and bsdlabel, I'm happy to see both go. They have a
horrid user interface and require a calculator to get right. Yes, I
use them, but only because there is no other way to do some things.
(sade(8) comes closer all of the time, though.)
R. Kevin Oberman, Network Engineer
E-mail: kob6558 at

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