[PC-BSD Testing] PCBSD 8.1 RC1 x64 installation experience

rascal rascal at tiscali.cz
Tue Jun 22 12:46:48 PDT 2010

Hi there!
In this email I'd like to describe my experience installing latest 
pcbsd. After the incident with deleted partition everything went pretty 
good :)
This may seem like lot of criticism, but it's from point of view of 
"casual" user, who is actually the target group from this system. Anyway 
I'm big fan of your work and I can see improvements in every version.

first comment is aimed at preinstall:
1) I've bought dedicated flash drive to install bsd from usb flash 
drive, to avoid the anguish of plaing with loud and slow dvd's. 
Unfortunately both linux and bsd don't have a good tool to save an pcbsd 
"img" usb-image to usb drive. Using dd it takes slightly more than 1 
hour to write the image to flashdrive (speed under 1MB/s). Using win32 
imager under Windows it takes cca 10-15 min to write te image (speed cca 
Maybe there is some tool I've not seen? Or would it be possible to make 
pcbsd image compatible with UNetbootin? This would save us the trouble 
of making our own tool and it would be much faster to make usb bootable 

2)It takes quite long time to boot from flash drive (now maybe my flash 
drive is slow at this, I don't know, but it's supposed to be fast one). 
But I guess those modules (included wireless) are needed for the live cd 
mode, so they have to be loaded anyway.

3) the issue with disk partition was described yesterday

4) on the "users" screen of the installer, the auto-login checkbox is 
checked by default. I guess most windows users are used to that, but it 
does not go well with unix pholosophy of being secure. Maybe it would be 
better to leave it unchecked?

5) During the installation itself, the window does not jump like crazy, 
like it used to do. Good job, this looks much better. It's also nice, 
that the components are listed separately and the progress bar is not 
stuck at 99% like it did before.

6)The installation as a whole took 30 minutes (30minutes of uptime when 
rebooting). This is not bad, but could have been better. E.g. Ubuntu is 
done in much less time (like 15 or 20 minutes I'd say). Of course they 
provide cd image, not dvd image, but I'm just asking myself what's all 
that stuff on the image. 3,5 GB is a lot of data. I understand you want 
to deliver "full package", but is it really necessary?

7) I did not choose bsd bootloader, since I have grub2 from ubuntu. It 
was quite a pain to find a correct setup for grub.cfg file, but finally 
found it (in internet there is lot of outdated info for older grub types).
Mine looks like this (end of file):
### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/40_custom ###
# This file provides an easy way to add custom menu entries.  Simply 
type the
# menu entries you want to add after this comment.  Be careful not to change
# the 'exec tail' line above.
menuentry "PC-BSD 8.1 x64 (on /dev/ad0s1)" {
             set root=(hd0,1)
             chainloader +1
### END /etc/grub.d/40_custom ###

Harddisk are numbered starting with 0, partitions do start with 1 instad 
(pcbsd sits on my ad0s1 or sda1 if you prefer). I found it with 
experiments, because there is lot of contradicting info in internet. 
Although grub2 recognizes bsd partitions inside the slice, (I mean a, e, 
c and so on) it does work only when it's configured directly to whole 
slice. This info is actually useful and could be included in the wiki. I 
think there are some linux users who would like to try pcbsd but who 
want to keep their linux grub.

That's all for now, expect another similar email with post-installation 


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