New BSD Installer

Devin Teske devin.teske at
Tue Feb 14 20:06:45 UTC 2012

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kevin Oberman [mailto:kob6558 at]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 11:51 AM
> To: Devin Teske
> Cc: Ian Smith; Bruce Cran; Alex Samorukov; Joe Holden; FreeBSD Stable Mailing
> List
> Subject: Re: New BSD Installer
> 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
> >
> >
> >> 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
> > for putting the partition scheme back the way it was (Colin Percival had a
> > 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.)

Please don't get rid of fdisk or bsdlabel as they are (and forever will be)
required to do things like:

1. scripted formatting of a thumb drive

2. automated probing of disk information (fdisk -p)

3. Other tasks that are not suitably handled by curses-based utilities

For example, the following command will create a second Windows partition on a
thumb drive without user interaction:

	echo "p 2 0x0c * *" | fdisk -f - /dev/da0

If you take away fdisk, how am I supposed to achieve the above?

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