FreeBSD Challenge, Day 16

Busy day with other things than play computers, but I found a little time. I have FreeBSD 10-STABLE loaded with the custom WiFi hack on my Elitebook Revolve 810 . I would have to let it try to boot off the USB stick. After multiple tries, it would finally run the installer. I tried ZFS a few times, but if I did not select MBR format for the partition table, then it would not boot (no OS error). With MBR and ZFS, it would fail to mount the ZFS filesystem with <strong>error 2</strong>. After trying the various fixes listed on-line, I gave up and went with MBR and UFS.

Once installed, it was fairly easy to get going. I have not configured it to take on the role of daily driver yet. If I have time tomorrow, then I will do it then, otherwise, it will have to wait a bit as I am getting on a plane this weekend, and I will not have room for the second computer. I will try to get it as far as I can with ssh.

The neat thing I found based on this email post from 2005 and this blog post is that I can have a fancy screensaver at the console! Pretty rad. 🙂 Next steps will be improving the screen resolution in text-mode.</body></html>

FreeBSD Challenge, Day 12-15

Half-way point.

Much progress made in the world of a bootable USB stick to get my new-fangled WiFi chip working. I was able to make a new image, wrote it to a new USB stick, booted it, and was able to successfully scan for my Access Points! W00t!

Tomorrow, I will take the second laptop (HP EliteBook Revolve 810), and load it with 10-Release (slightly patched). I do not expect everything to work (it has a touch screen), but enough should work that I can start using it for the daily driver. Having real wifi will help a lot.

My updates have been a bit slow due to craziness at work. I am taking a trip, and the departure date has been reset many times. I am on my 5th set of airline tickets. With things settled, I need to decide if I am going to bring the second laptop (the R180) with me or not. Weight issues and all.

How do I think this is going? Well, the two major issues I thought I would have going in, WiFi and Photo editing/management, are for the most part solved. Can I use this for my daily non-work driver? Yes. Can I use it for my work daily driver? Maybe. I have set up a few jails on the FreeNAS box (btsync, dns/dhcp, taskwarrior’s taskd, and Plex), and they are mainly working well together (the Plex will not play nice with btsync, yet), but I need to figure out a bit more, and set it up as a target to back up my laptop’s ZFS snapshots.

Next steps are to find those performance monitoring tools/docs, and to look at something like puppet/chef/salt.

Thanks for reading….

FreeBSD Challenge, Day 9-11

Ah, life with kids…not enough spare time with soccer and volleyball practices and games.

Things are going well. Found a few more small utilities that I use under Linux and added them via pkgng, and all is good.

Next up: system debugging. The system will slow down at random points, so I need to go find a good performance debug guide. The only thing changed was I imported my music library (~60G), but my drive is still plenty empty (~37% used), so I do not think it is ZFS, but I am not sure.

The other is the custom boot stick I made does not work. The initial loader will start, but then it stops. So, I need to find the docs on the boot process there.

Oh, and welcome to all the folks from BSDNow, which is an awesome video/audio podcast on all things BSD.

FreeBSD Challenge, Day 8

Again, work is dragging, so not much to update.

I have install btsync and I am now syncing home dirs between the laptop, desktop, and the FreeNAS.

My attempt to build a custom kernel to deal with the new WiFi was mixed. I was able to build the kernel and world just fine and it made a USB image for me. But, it would not boot…I do need to figure out how to debug this. 🙂

FreeBSD Challenge, Day 7

AKA Fight with Thunderbird and Lightning.

I broke down and installed a PBI for now. I could not get Lightning, the calendaring AddOn for Thunderbird to work using the native FreeBSD pkg or the linux-thunderbird one. The linux-thunderbird package actually refused to start for me. I need to go figure out how to generate a PR.

The other thing I am playing with is building a memstick image after patching the kernel using this post in the FreeBSD Forums. This is for the Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 WiFi Driver which I have in all my laptops. The data wants to be free! from wires. Since it is chunking away, I will test tomorrow.

FreeBSD Challenge, Day 4-6

Sorry…busy time at work and with the family.

Small updates: I have the external VGA dongle working. No config needed, just plug it in and it works. I really need to fix the WiFi so I can stop using the USB dongle on it. Also, I have updated mutt to 1.5.23, and that upgrade went smoothly. Since I am not using the default build, it was a matter of portsnap fetch && portsnap update && cd /usr/ports/mail/mutt && pkg remove mutt && make install clean and all is good!

My biggest update is that I got AfterShotPro working! It as a simple as reading the pages in the manual, and changing the path to bash in the launcher script, and all is good! I should really look into what it takes to make a port so when I set up the next few computers, I will not have to do this by hand again.

Next thing to figure out is how to get the sound to come out of my headphones instead of the speakers. Since I did not have to do anything to get sound, I figure this is just a bit of RTFM’ing on my part.

FreeBSD Challenge, Day 2

Just a quick update. Yesterday, I got abook working. Kind of a hack, though. I used gcc to compile it, vs. clang. I will have to revisit this and offer up some patches to the abook project.

I have also been playing with x11/xpra which bills itself as ‘screen for X11’. That, combined with sshuttle , lets me get in from work and do some work during lunch. It may also give me a tempory way to use AfterShotPro until I get the whole Linux compatability layer thing figured out.

Next up is learing how to use ports(7) working to be able to install 10-STABLE while the host is 10-RELEASE.

Yes, my issues are not normal. 🙂

Back to FreeBSD aka Day 1

So, a long time ago, I had a box which was running FreeBSD 4, running on a Pentium. This housed my public server, website, and mail server. After I while, I had to rebuild it, and went back to Linux.

14 years later, I have decided to get back into FreeBSD, now at FreeBSD 10. I have it running headless on two boxes, and I have decided to take the ’30 Day Challenge’. You know, all the bloggers tell you to try something for 30 days before you give up on it.

I am going to try to give FreeBSD a go as my daily driver for 30 (or so) days. I cannot do this full time, as I so Linux support in my day job, so I cannot change over the work laptop (yet). I have installed PCBSD-10 on one of my spare laptops. Why PCBSD and not pure FreeBSD? Well, I do not know enough yet to get past UEFI boot and the NVidia/Intel dual graphics, so I cheated. I imagine that I before the end, I will either reload this laptop or start from scratch on my current daily personal driver.

So, most of my cli tools came over very cleanly, with the exception of abook. On Linux, I track the git repo, and the version in the ports tree is a bit older, so I will need to either compile it from git, or change my config to use the older version. But the rest, mutt, tmux, newsbeauter, irssi, and such, all work out of the box.

In the X department, PCBSD has my current favorite window-manager, i3, so that is all good. The only issue I hit is the version of firefox in the PCBSD port tree is broken, and I am going to stay away from the PBI as much as I can. I feel that PBI are too much like installing something under windows, i.e. install the app, and all the libraries it needs to run. In my option, a waste of space, and un-patched libraries on my system. Thank you, I will pass. I ended up enabling the normal FreeBSD ports tree to install it.

I have ported most of my custom scripts over. Most of the work is in the fact that bash lives somewhere different (/usr/local/bin vs /bin). There are a few commands either missing or I have not installed them yet, and a couple of core commands have very different syntax.

I figure for most of what I do, this will be very easy to switch over, but the main area I am unsure of at this point is in photo editing and photo management. I use a commercial Linux package, and I will need to figure out how to make it work under the Linux compatibility layer.

I do not promise daily updates, but I will try to keep a journal of my progress.