[PC-BSD Testing] Testing PCBSD 8 Alpha 2 (20090914)

Ian Robinson fitchkendall at gmail.com
Mon Sep 21 10:26:49 PDT 2009

Testing PCBSD 8 Alpha 2 (20090914) as a fresh install on a desktop with the
following specs:  PIII 1.0 GHz, 512 Mb RAM, ATI video card ("Rage")

Installation went well, but generally took twice as long as previous
installations.  (I suspect that this is the nature of the beta releases
since FreeBSD.org advises that its beta software will run slow.  However,
given the speed at which FreeBSD probes for hardware, and some of the speed
that it sometimes shows in web browsing, the liklihood of increased
responsiveness in FreeBSD 8 looks very promising.)

1.  Powerd -- dmesg reported ". . . /etc/rc failed to start powerd"  Also,
on the first boot to GUI, an error message said, "Power Management.  The
profile " " has been selected, but it does not exist.  Please check you
PowerDevil configuration.

2.  Network Configuration -- In "System Network Configuration" (Configure
Network Settings) you cannot (1) use the "Configure" button to change
network settings, and (2) apply the "Display System Tray Icon" checkbox
after checking it because the "Apply" button is grayed out, and (3) make any
changes in the "Advanced" tab.

3.  Date & Time Settings --  Do  you want date & time setting to be
automatic (i.e., using prot.ntp.org) or manual.  Currently, the default
setting is manual.

4.  Display Settings -- The "Gamma" tab crashed Display Settings (i.e.
closed the program and returned me to the desktop.)  Thereafter, I could not
run other programs from the desktop or menu.  Moreover, when I tried to
access something on the start menu (Kickoff Application Launcher), a left
click on a menu item activated a "Place icon on desktop" function.  I
rebooted to resolve this problem.  Thereafter, I could not repeat the crash
and never experience the menuing problem.

5.  Interesting "path" problem.  While playing with System Settings and the
"About Me" utility, I changed a default downloads path to a directory that I
had not created yet.  Of course I got an expected warning that the directory
did not exist, and I went to create the downloads directory in the
/home/User_Name/ directory.  For example, my home directory is /home/IR and
I created /home/IR/Downloads.  No problem yet.  However, I did not realize
it, but what happened somehow is that creation of the new subdirectory
caused the entire contents of /home/IR to move under the /home/IR/Downloads
directory.  Strange.  How did that mass move happen?

I realized I had a problem after a restart, and it stumped me for a while.
I could not log on because the log on screen just kept recycling even though
I was typing the correct password.  Poking around (oops, I mean the more
dramatic investigation) using the single mode showed that all of the hidden
files and the usual subdirectories had been moved over from /home/IR  to the
/home/IR/Downloads directory so I could not access the KDE settings unique
to my user.  I also discovered that I could NOT create a new user by booting
from the hard disk into single mode and using sysinstall from the console
(insufficient rights even as root).  I solved the problem by booting the CD
to the single mode, mounting the hard disk, and copying all of the contents
of the Downloads directory I had created (/home/IR/Downloads) over to the
regular home directory (/home/IR) and chowning all permissions (that had
become root because of the copy) over to "IR".  After that I could log in.

6.  Legacy ATI works.  I am happy to say that the "legacy" ATI video in this
lightweight computer works very well.  The display is crisp and satisfying.

Well, I'm having a lot of fun using this beta, and I am very pleased with
the progress Kris has made on PCBSD 8.  It looks like this will be a
better-than-ever gift from Kris when he gets the FreeBSD 8 that goes to
release at the end of October.

Ian Robinson
Salem, Ohio
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