prad wrote:
i can't seem to boot the cdrom on older hardware (500MHz and down).
i read somewhere that the older drives aren't supported by the
installation cdrom.

i want to create a series of 'dumb terminals' which can ssh -Y into a
faster machine. if necessary i suppose i can floppy in and then install
via nfs. or i can setup the hd on another machine that does support the
install cdrom and then transfer to the older machine.

here are the specific questions:

1. do older machines work better with older versions of freebsd?
2. if i dd a hd (with freebsd) onto another hd will i have a problem
with the mbr and be unable to boot?
3. are there any other ideas for install?

You may have old motheboards (or BIOS) that do not support el-torito (no emulation) boot, i.e. they can only boot from CD like a floppy (think Windows 98 CD boot). In this case booting from floppies will allow you to start (installation will continue from CD). It is not fast, but it works. A friend of mine is running a 6.3-RELEASE (obviously console only) on a 200 Mhz Pentium with 48Mb or RAM. It performs reasonably well for this spec (as long as you don't compile anything). I once installed 6.1 on a Pentium Pro, 64Mb RAM using floppies + CD, it worked. Even got X running! I have successfully installed 7.0 on an AMD K6-2 500Mhz - had to disable ACPI or weird things would happen. Haven't tried any lower spec machine with 7. As for your questions:

1. I guess some newer versions may not work at all with very old hardware. Not something I tested though. Look at the hardware release notes for minimum requirements.

2. Sorry, never tried it

3. Connect the hard disk to a newer machine, install there and transfer to the older one. There are good chances of success. If the machine is really old, you may need to disable acpi during startup for everything to work properly.
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