Jerry McAllister wrote:

That still, unfortunately does not tell me the whole story.  The reason
is that there are still some places where the word partition is misused
(used unconsistently with the rest of FreeBSD).   In FreeBSD the primary
division of the disk is called a slice.    Slices are then subdivided
in to partitions in FreeBSD parlance. The hierarchy of terminology goes like this:

-drive: ad0 (for IDE family including SATA) da0 (for SCSI family) would designate the first drive. The second would be
                 either ad1 or da1.
 ---slice:       ad0s1..ad0s4 - Up to four slices numbered from 1-4.
                 MS is typically installed in slice 1 or 2 (depending if
                 the vendor sticks a diagnostic/recovery slice on first.
                 Dell likes to do that and I think IBM Lenovo does)
 -----partition: ad0s1a..ad0s1h.   Up to 8 partitions per slice but
                 partition c is reserved to identify the whole slice
                 partition is used for root and traditionally reserved
                 for that, though it can be used otherwise on a non-boot
                 disk.   partition b is used for swap and is traditionally
                 reserved for that.

Hmm I got educated. After doing a bit of research it appears that what I once knew as partitions and slices were backwards:

The above link contains as much information as Jerry provided, and possibly some extra info. I only briefly touched the article by in seems pretty complete.

So, what you are supposed to be looking for is a slice in which to install FreeBSD. It may be that you are seeing the word partition where it should say slice or it may be that you are seeing partition correctly
used, but you are looking in the wrong place.

Yes, and as I discovered FreeBSD slices are MS(/Linux?) partitions :).


If the MS slice is an NTFS type, then those free utilities can not
handle it and you will have to go get something.   The one I have
successfully used is called 'Partitin Magic' and it tends to run
about $70 give or take, from most retailers, mail order or walkin.
I got mine at Best Buy.   Partition Magic will also handle the FAT
and FAT32 type MS Primary Partitions.

There's also another free utility available on Knoppix I believe that resizes partitions. I highly suggest backing up your data before doing anything, because although NTFS is marked stable for writing, I question whether or not the penguin might run off with your data if something bad happens..

In either case, you shrink the MS slice (Primary Partition) enough to make room for what you want. Then you create a slice (Primary Partition)
in the newly made free space.   It needs to be a Primary Partition
and not an Extended Partition.  Partition Magic whines about that and
warns you that you might not be able to boot MS.   But it will do it
and it works just fine.    In Partition Magic terminology, create that
new Primary Partition as an 'unknown' type.   The FreeBSD installer
will modify the type during install.

Sidenote: If you do use partition magic after installing Unix, don't let it "fix" your disk. It'll muck up your bootloading scheme.

Just a side note:   FreeBSD can read and write FAT and FAT32.  It can
read, but cannot write NTFS (at the current time). If you have enough room to spare on the disk, you might want to make two new Primary
Partitions.  (remember, you can have up to 4).   Make one rather small
one, maybe a couple of GB or so, right next to the MS NTFS slice and
and make it a FAT32 type.  Then put FreeBSD in the one after that.  It
would make the extra one be slice 2 if no vendor slice and 3 if there
is a vendor diagnostic slice.  FreeBSD would then be in slice 3 if no
vendor slice or 4 if there is a vendor slice. What this little extra slice becomes is a space where both MS and FreeBSD can read and
write and means you can use it to shuffle files back and forth.

Windows can also read (and in some cases) write to Reiserfs, and can write to ext2 partitions (after you install some utilities for interfacing with the filesystems). Freebsd can read/write with the previously mentioned filesystems (albeit with some extra functionality built into the kernel). Reiser and ext(n) are both commonly used in the linux realm as filesystems of choice. ext(n) doesn't have write based journal support, which means that you can lose data if you unproperly unmount the filesystems / shut down the machine. Reiser doesn't support writing yet either because it's strictly a journaling based filesystem.

OK. Fourth, to check this out and just see what is on that disk,
boot up the disc1 CD and when you get the big menu, choose to
run the fixit.    When you get the prompt for the fixit, you will be
in a fairly complete, (but still somewhat limited) version of FreeBSD.
Figure out what your drive name is - probably either ad0 or da0 (run
dmesg and pick through the output looking for the disk identifier - don't forget you can do scroll-lock and page up in the console) and
then run fdisk on the drive with no other parameters,  eg.   fdisk ad0

ad(n) -> EIDE / PATA
da(n) -> SATA / SCSI

where n denotes the disc numbering on the channel in use, i.e. 0 -> first disk (primary master in EIDE world, ID 0 in SCSI world, and port labeled SATA1 in SATA world).

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