[PC-BSD Public] Question about multiple primarypartitions

Bret Busby bret.busby at gmail.com
Fri Jun 10 11:24:33 PDT 2011


Whilst the reply that I received, to which I am responding below, was
sent to me off-list, I have sent this reply to the list, as the issue
involved, is, I believe, sufficiently significant, to justify
breaching the expected etiquette principle of not responding to
off-list communications via posting to the list.

On 10/06/2011, Christian Baer <christian.baer at uni-dortmund.de> wrote:
> On 10.06.2011 12:04, Bret Busby wrote:
>> From what I understand, any version of BSD requires to be installed in
>> a primary partition.
> You understood wrong. FreeBSD runs happily in an extended partition.
> Better yet would be GPT.


Some time ago, I enquired about this issue, on the FreeBSD mailing
list, and it was then confirmed that FreeBSD requires to be installed
in a primary partition (and, with that, and other perceived
difficulties with managing a FreeBSD installation, I was put off
installing FreeBSD, as installing and administering an installation of
FreeBSD appeared to be too difficult).

The requirement that FreeBSD be installed into a primary partition, is
also stated at http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/install-pre.html
, which, under the heading " Disk Layouts for FreeBSD/i386",

"FreeBSD must be installed into a primary partition."

That is in the document that starts

FreeBSD Handbook
The FreeBSD Documentation Project

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003,
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 The FreeBSD
Documentation Project

Welcome to FreeBSD! This handbook covers the installation and day to
day use of FreeBSD 7.4-RELEASE and FreeBSD 8.2-RELEASE.

from which it appears to be the latest version of the FreeBSD
Handbook, applicable to version 8.2, and, whilst it does not have a
section equivalent to section, that is specific to the amd64
version, I assume that the information of section, applicable
to the i386 version, equally applies to the amd64 version, in the
absence of information otherwise.

Also, in the published PC-BSD Users Handbook, on page 13, under the
heading "2.4 Partitioning the Hard Drive", is

"If you are dual-booting and your hard drive already has partitions,
you should double-check that you
have a free primary partition as PC-BSD will not install on a logical
or secondary partition."

And, at http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/PC-BSD_FAQS#Is_it_possible_to_install_PC-BSD_on_an_extended_partition.3F
is stated

Is it possible to install PC-BSD on an extended partition?

No. PC-BSD can only be installed on primary partitions. Unless you are
planning on using the entire hard disk, your partitions need to be
created prior to starting the installation. This means that if you
want to create multiple partitions or install other operating systems,
you will need a third-party partition manager. If Windows or Mac OS X
is already installed, you can use their disk management utility. You
can also use an open source utility such as Parted Magic.

So, can this please be clarified, as to whether PC-BSD does in fact
require to be installed on a primary partition, or, whether it can be
installed on a logical partition within an extended partition?

Either the advice given above, appears to be incorrect, or, the
documentation appears to be incorrect, and, if one is incorrect, then
I believe that it needs to be corrected.

Thank you in anticipation.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992


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