Dear documenting dudes for freebsd,
Hi. Nice job so far.
Warning: I'm only a Dos/Windows C-programmin' dude
with minimal UNIX going on in my head.
The learning curve for me is big because of the following:
1. There are configuration files all over the place, each one with a
different name or "file extension" and so on.
2. The existing sysinstall facility just gets you started and leaves a
bunch of configuration items incomplete: samba, DNS/named
configuration, NFS client/server software, routed, apache, and
other of the distribution packages. Re-configuration seems not
to take into consideration existing settings and overwrites some
hand-crafted settings with the old, non-functional defaults.
3. X-windows: wow--it's quite a bit different than Win3.1x or Win95!
For items 1, 2, 3, I bought the BSD Docs Walnut Creek CD-Rom, but it
did not have direct answers to questions like:
1. What is the name of each config file and its location?
2. Does one edit each config file or is there a config utility
program to manipulate the file?
3. For 2 or more example installation complexity levels, what are the
key elements to understand about the each type of config file
on the system? Give at least a beginner, and an intermediate example.
4. What are the differences between X-windows and MS-windows? Like how
do ya start the darned thing? (I had to get an e-mail reply
to tell me that you do a startx command to get going!) Exclude the
obvious user interface operational differences and concentrate on the
setup of the environment and the configuration of a couple of X-
applications such as Netscape 2.02 for BSD. Test your example
setup steps. What steps can be made to bridge any deficiencies
that X-windows might not have over MS-windows like file type
associations, OLE2, TTFonts, DDE, NetDDE, filesharing, icon
files in a program manager or file manager user interface
shell program--I dunno, I'm no expert--other stuff?
5. What are the major configuration choices that have to be made? What
impact will these decisions have on operation of the system at a
later stage (as the disk gets full or other)?
I found that I have re-installed the software 5 times now. Each time I
do it, I correct for a bad answer that I gave the first several times.
This might be OK if I had a Pentium Pro 200 MHz with 512 Mbytes Ram and
a 12x speed CD-Rom, but I don't and the process each time takes a couple
of hours to do. The first couple of times no harm was done to the
configuration, but the latter few times cause a bunch of the customized
configuration files and user setups to be stepped-on and overwritten with
the default crap.
I chose the defaults for the file partitioning/disk labeling process, but it
turned out that the "Everything install" that I did ran out of /var or /tmp
or / root disk file blocks and got a disk full error in the middle of
unpacking distribution apps. I examined which of the items ran out, then
I multiplied the default by 10 to get a bit of head room for the
next install attempt. 30 Mbytes turned into 300 Mbytes. The frigging thing
ought to install its 700 Mbytes into a 2.1 Gig drive that has a 440 Mbyte
Dos partition already setup?
The sysinstall program is amazing! But maybe it does too much all at once
for configuring the system. Perhaps it should be segmented into a
couple of standard components that call "plug and play"-type scripts
from the application being installed so that each item can not only
be copied to the disk, but configured and maybe test launched
(after some context info is saved to disk if re-booting is required).
Microsoft has steadily improved its installation mechanisms so that
applications are easy to install. INI files and system registration
database file(s) are in the Windows directory and aren't scattered
all over the place. Paths to application executables are frequently
not required because the application group/icon/short-cut files
contain the setup context required for each application to be
launched correctly. Now, re-booting/re-starting MS-windows is less
required than it used to be. Settings are re-read and
refresh the existing run-time session. When certain disk drive
mappings change, short-cut files have the changes propagated to them.
Some positive things about FreeBSD:
1. When somebody buys the CDs, they seem to get a good lot of
stuff to start out with and for very nearly zero cost!
2. The mount_msdos capability seems to even be able to read
Extended "On-track Disk Manager" partitions of MS-Dos file
systems (I have not fully tested this but...).
3. No need to use any large disk translation schemes to beat the
1024 cylinder barrier that Dos has imposed for years.
4. If you've got the requisite supported hardware, installation
proceeds fairly painlessly compared to Linux because the
hardware detection probes seem to work fairly reasonably.
It is on par with Win95 or very nearly.
In an effort to make the learning curve less trial and error,
I've purchased the "Linux Network Administrator's Guide" from
O'Reilly & Assc. I was going to by the "DNS and Bind" book but
it cost nearly $10 more and was less broad in its scope. I've
only just got the thing and so have not read it cover to cover.
I hear that there is a 5 volume set (one with CD Rom(s) and one
without). The cost is US$150 so I was quoted CDN$220 by a
bookstore here in Ottawa. Anybody got any comments about the
set--do they go out of date too quickly to be worth the
A question for Walnut Creek support: what's the 2nd BSD 2.1
CD-Rom for; I've looked at it but it seems to have similar stuff
on it as the first one?
TIA for any positive development any of y'alls can give. Regards,
Chris K. Skinner.