On Fri, Jan 18, 2008 at 10:57:16AM +0100, Frank Staals wrote:
> Zbigniew Szalbot wrote:
> >Hello,
> >
> >I have a basic Acer Aspire with Vista on it but I am very unhappy
> >about the speed of work on it. I do not want to wipe out MS system (at
> >least not yet) but would like to give FreeBSD or PCBSD a try.
> >
> >1. Am I safe by installing FreeBSD alongside Vista? Will the
> >installation not destroy MS system?
> >  
> Just make sure you have free space and go. You probably want to use the 
> FreeBSD Bootmanager but I'm not 100% sure about that ( Only running a 
> dualboot system with FreeBSD and WinXP for which the FreeBSD bootmanager 
> is required )

This should be emphasized more:

Make absolutely certain you already have free space on your drive before
trying to install a FreeBSD or PC-BSD OS on the system to dual-boot with
an already existing MS Windows OS.  This can be accomplished in a number
of ways -- you'll probably want to use a LiveCD with partition resizing
software (like QtParted, for instance).  Knoppix comes with this
software.  Before resizing partitions, though, make sure you defrag your
MS Windows drive so the data on it will be packed toward the beginning of
the drive rather than spread across the end of it.  If you cut into data
on the partition when resizing, you could lose the data.  If the data's
important to the OS, this could hose the OS.

Once you have the free space, though, installing into that free space is
a cake walk.

> >2. I have installed FreeBSD a few times but only with console access,
> >never with X windows. Would it be better to install PCBSD on the Acer
> >machine? I have never configured X windows and not sure how long it
> >could take with FreeBSD (actually I mean things like Gnome or KDE).
> >  
> Depends on your needs. If you are planning on running an other WM/DE 
> than KDE (Or at least I thought PCBSD came with KDE by default ) and you 
> are familliar with the ports system you are better off choosing 
> FreeBSD.  Setting up X is a piece of cake nowadays. In most cases Xorg 
> wil generate it's own configfile at start and you don't realy have to 
> worry about it. If something doesn't work or you want to configure it 
> somehow you can just run 'Xorg --configure' which wil generate a 
> configfile you can edit by hand. On the other hand if you are completely 
> new to FreeBSD, the portsystem etc than I guess you're better off 
> installing PCBSD.

Someone else in this discussion said something about it taking days to
set up a complete GUI environment if installing from source.  For me, it
took less than an hour.  Of course, I didn't install KDE, either -- it
all depends on how much junk you have to install to consider it a
"complete" GUI environment.

PC-BSD is a very straightforward install, generally.  So is DesktopBSD
for that matter.  Part of the reason for this is that you don't have to
make any decisions at all.  The downside is that you don't get to make
any decisions at all.

FreeBSD has a quick-install port for GUI/desktop environments.  Once
you've got the FreeBSD base system installed, just do this:

  cd /usr/ports/misc/instant-workstation
  make install clean

Among other things, it installs emacs, xmms, and KDE.  I don't use it,
though, because I'm not much of a fan of any of those three.  If you like
KDE, though, that could be a quick way to get from zero to a usable
workstation for you.

CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
Marvin Minsky: "It's just incredible that a trillion-synapse computer could
actually spend Saturday afternoon watching a football game."
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