[PC-BSD Dev] installer comments

Alexander Yerenkow yerenkow at uct.ua
Tue Sep 22 12:50:27 PDT 2009

2009/9/22 Jeremy C. Reed <reed at reedmedia.net>

> 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:
> set hint.ppc.0.disabled=1
> set hint.sio.0.disabled=1
> set hint.sio.1.disabled=1
> boot
> (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.

A simple scroll on clear area can do the same. Alt-tab can return back
installer window.
I think (if possible), would be cool to disable hiding of window if window

> 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.

Who ever reads those licenses? :D

> 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".
> Don't choose journal :) Ever. At least until these crazy bugs not fixed.

> 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".
> Yep, what important could be at disk anyway? :D
If seriously, this should be WARNED by red letters, at least...

> 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
> all over).
> 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.)
> Cool, I don't have different floor.

> 12) Says "Running newfs on ..." maybe make it more newbie
> understandable?
> 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
> default.
> Hard to make that feature detect to which partition you installed OS.

> 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.)
> X tests for other cards, where driver can be determined more exactly.

> 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
> window.
> 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.
> Hm, seems familiar to me.
Can you provide model of motherboard?

> 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
> 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
> http://lists.pcbsd.org/pipermail/testing/2009-March/002021.html
> 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!
> Long lists very useful, thank to you!

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Alexander Yerenkow
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