[PC-BSD Testing] grub boot loader & kernel modules

Kris Moore kris at pcbsd.org
Wed Aug 7 06:31:16 PDT 2013

On 08/07/2013 04:32, Ilya Bakulin wrote:
> On 2013-08-07 05:55, Julian Elischer wrote:
>>  unfortunately you've probably lost me as a user due to this
>> departure from what freeBSD does.
>>  I really need a FreeBSD system that happens to have good laptop and
>> desktop support, not some random other thing.
> What do you call a "departure"? Using another boot loader to
> accomplish nessesary functionality?
> Sorry, I really cannot understand this.
> The FreeBSD Project makes a wonderful operating system, but please
> bear in mind, that this OS has only
> those features that are needed by the developers of the FreeBSD Project.
> Sometimes it can happen that someone is building a FreeBSD-based
> product and suddenly discovers
> that some features are not (yet) available. What is he supposed to do?
> There are several possible choices.
> 1. Say "oh, FreeBSD is crap because it doesn't have feature X, I'm
> going to use $another_os".
> This kind of feedback is not interesting to the project, I think.
> 2. Write the code yourself, spend time to commit it, do not release
> your product until the feature is in the upstream.
> Nice, but can delay the product appearance significantly, maybe your
> product won't get to its customer because the customer
> was not patient enough and uses another product based on $another_os now.
> 3. Implement the needed functionality using other methods, release the
> product, give the feedback to upstream about missing features.
> This is what PC-BSD has done. Instead of delaying the appearance of
> the new PC-BSD version with some wonderful new features,
> PC-BSD developers have released it, replacing only the boot loader,
> and wrote what they need from upstream to implement those features
> using only FreeBSD components. This helps spreading PC-BSD and
> increases user base, eventually more people will use PC-BSD and FreeBSD,
> then someone will implement missing bits in FreeBSD loader and
> everyone will be happy.
> What you do is refusing to use PC-BSD because of boot loader, although
> this is still the same FreeBSD system fine-tuned for desktop usage.
> I don't understand it. Maybe I don't see some obvious things, sorry.
> -- 
> Ilya

This is exactly how I feel. I've been doing dozens of trade-shows over
the years and by far the biggest attraction to FreeBSD has been the ZFS
/ Boot-Environment support. FreeBSD supports *neither* out of box, so I
made the decision to implement both. I wrote an installer, which does
ZFS and such, so that was the first piece of the puzzle. Next was
boot-environments, which again FreeBSD had partial support for, but due
to a crummy boot-loader was crippled. I've been waiting for 5 years for
a graphical boot-loader and support for *real* scripting (.4th files
don't count). So far things have come and gone, and no commits made. So
I made the call to use GRUB in the meantime, because it has a huge list
of things it can do, that FreeBSD's legacy loader cant. Solaris is using
it to provide their Boot-Environments. The PS4 screenshots of FreeBSD?
Using GRUB again. Maybe they know something we don't ;)

That being said, GRUB is not my first choice. I would *really* prefer
that we have a BSD-licensed boot-loader which can do all the things GRUB
can do and more. However, I'm not going to wait another 5 years for that
to happen, in the meantime we have real-world features we want and need
to support that will make the desktop / server experience safer & better.

Kris Moore
PC-BSD Software

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