[PC-BSD Dev] installer comments
Jeremy C. Reed
reed at reedmedia.net
Tue Sep 22 11:29:46 PDT 2009
I have been taking many notes as I installed PC-BSD 7.1.1. Here are some
of these notes: problems and suggestions. I spent a couple hours on
this. (I have installed FreeBSD hundreds of times.)
1) maybe CD Loader on installer should say "PC-BSD".
It says BTX Loader and FreeBSD. Not very friendly for newbies :)
2) First boot of PCBSD7.1.1-amd64-bootonly.iso hung. I tracked this down
and to boot I pressed 9 to go to "Escape to loader prompt" and did:
(ppc is for parellel printer control and and sio is for COM port. I
don't have these, but kernel output showed them.)
3) Somehow I clicked the mouse somewhere and my PC-BSD Installer
window disappeared. I middle-clicked (both buttons) on background
and use the fluxbox menu to open the iconized window and it came back.
my suggestion is to not allow fluxbox to iconify it. A newbie would have
no clue what to do.
4) License agreement requires to agree for BSD license (why?). Intel
firmware license (sets sysctls?) and nvidia driver license but what if
not needed on my hardware? No good explanation here.
5) Shell choice included: /PCBSD/local/bin/bash, later I saw /usr/PCBSD.
Is /PCBSD correct on this version? (I never got to check yet.)
6) For file system I chose UFS2 + Journaling. But it still says "Leave
as default if unsure!" even after choosing an alternative. This is
misleading, because the dropdown now doesn't tell you the "default".
7) No system components are selected by default. Quick Tips says
"optional". Well what is already installed? For example, the optional
unselected component shows "Firefox" and "Opera" but does that mean an
alternative, like Konqueror, is already going to be installed?
8) Also no long description for each of these available components.
(I didn't select any.)
9) Most operating systems have a BIG WARNING about overwriting hard
disk, but PC-BSD installer has simple "format" message in the "Tips".
10) CD Mount Error:
Error: Could not load the install disc. Please check that the CD/DVD
is in the drive.
Press OK to try again, or Cancel to reboot the system.
So I am using the "bootonly" iso. The installer should have known that.
And no way using this menu to get back. The "Select installation choice"
menu should have set sane default for me or gave me a clear message. (I
assumed I'd be able to handle this later, so chose defaults first time.)
So I rebooted (note I had to do the special boot loader steps) and start
I chose Install from Network for the Installation Method.
That popped up a new window (when I clicked next)
11) It showed my rel0 ethernet device but not my BCM4318 wireless
device. (I walked to different floor, to plug in to the ethernet.)
12) Says "Running newfs on ..." maybe make it more newbie
13) Install took a long time. All the steps and downloading and
installing took about an hour. (That download was over 520 KiB/s.)
14) Setup Complete! But don't recall it ever saying what version of
15) When setup is complete, can't make any changes. Will assume network
settings are used. Later I saw an icon showing my interface.)
16) Booted to wrong partition! I powercycled and manually chose F2 (F1
was different operating system). Later, it did boot fine from F2 by
17) Boot loader numbers didn't match up for install media and new disk
install. (I accidently pressed "9" to get the loader prompt, but that
now was "reboot".)
18) First boot showed some failures and a fsck, but went by fast.
19) Detected my Radeon Xpress 200M, but has "vesa". I chose apply for
default. Why do the X test, if the display is unchanged? (I didn't
change from the defaults.)
20) First boot was doing something for near a minute without any
written explanation. There was a hard disk graphic, but I think some
newbies, may not know what that means.
21) Some Akonadi server startup for over 30 seconds. (I had no idea what
that is.) Its self test had "an error occurred" with some mysql
messages, but before I could read it, the window disappeared.
22) Clicked on icons on bottom right. Nothing happened fast. About ten
seconds later, I got a popup about migrating some database. I didn't
know what it was and I forgot to write down. Anyways, if this is a clean
first time boot, it should do that automatically without any popup
23) I noticed my clock was wrong. I guess no NTP was used.
24) My mouse locked up. I don't know why. I couldn't change consoles. I
could not ctrl-alt-delete. I power cycled.
24) Restarted (did the set hints... dance). fsck said run manually, and
it tried to continue. The boot stopped with needing a shell. I pressed
enter and typed "fsck". It complained about sectors couldn't be read and
about a journal "CANNOT FIGURE OUT FILE SYSTEM PARTITION".
I tried fsck a few times. Exit and same thing, boot stopped and wants
shell for manual repair.
I guess that will teach me to try the "Journaling" :)
I will later look at it with smartctl (if available).
Now I see http://forums.pcbsd.org/viewtopic.php?p=75684 and
So known problem. Installer should not provide it or should have a major
warning. (I have experience with GEOM mirror.)
p.s Over the past couple years, I have posted long lists like this here,
but rarely get any feedback. Nevertheless, I have seen some changes
related to what I noted in the past. Thanks!
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