[PC-BSD Testing] GRUBing around Multi-OS coexistence?

Walt Pawley walt at wump.org
Wed Nov 26 20:10:55 PST 2008

My tale: I'm basically a Mac person, who worked with FreeBSD in
a life long past. I built a AMD box about a year ago and have
been messing about with various OSs, but primarily PC-BSD of
the 64-bit variety. I'm hoping to show each of these to a small
group of Mac users as potential alternatives in about three

I didn't have any version of Linux on the box so, I d/l'd
Ubuntu 8.10 for 64-bits and, after some arduous attempts failed
to clarify what installing it really did, did it anyway. Mostly
it went well. It's the part not included in "mostly" that I now
need to fix.

To clarify the layout - two 500 GB hard disks, each with three
partitions. Hard disk 0 has Windows XP Pro, followed by FreeBSD
7, followed by PC-BSD 7.01 - all of the 64-bit persuasion. Hard
disk 1 has an NTFS partition to back up the Windows stuff on
the other drive, a partition of unused space and the Ubuntu
64-bit. During the installation of Ubuntu, only hard disk 1
was suggested by the installer, which I found curious (ie. I
attempted to find out why - unsuccessfully, of course).

Ubuntu apparently installs some version of GRUB perforce. This
seemed like a pretty good idea - something I'd wanted to muck
with but never could make enough sense of to just do it. Now I
had it, whether I wanted it or not ... and, it was
automatically configured. Upon reboot, I discovered that the
FreeBSD partitions were not in the boot menu.

I still don't know why the FreeBSD based partitions didn't
appear in the GRUB menu, but I was able to make enough sense of
the GRUB documentation to boot the first FreeBSD partition
successfully (hd0,1,a). Great.

At least it was until I attempted to boot the PC-BSD partition
(hd0,2,a). GRUB complains that it can't mount the partition
(error 7 as I recall). I had no trouble mounting the partition
read-only from the CLI FreeBSD. A cursory examination didn't
show anything obviously amiss. The /boot/loader file is right
where it's supposed to be, as near as I can tell and I would
not expect that the partition being marked dirty would matter
at that stage.

Clearly, I'm out of my depth. What should I do next?

Walter M. Pawley <walt at wump.org>
Wump Research & Company
676 River Bend Road, Roseburg, OR 97471

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