I bought a second hard drive for my computer since my /usr partition was getting full. I don't want to deal with hardware raid since I don't want to be dependent on a certain hardware vendor or chipset,

you probably don't have RAID hardware to deal, unless you bough 300 or more $ card.

so I'm wanting to go with geom. I'd prefer to not have to backup all my data(I know I should anyway, but it's a 500gb hard drive, and drives are growing faster than backup solutions). Would it be possible to do a geom stripe to expand
/usr > and keep all the data or would I just need to backup everything, and 
then put

gconcat will do. gstripe not.

if usr is on partition x, and you want to add partition y do:

unmount usr
dd if=/dev/zero of=y bs=1m (*)
gconcat label usr x y
growfs /dev/concat/usr
fsck_ffs /dev/concat/usr

now /dev/concat/usr is your /usr

make sure gconcat in kernel is available when booting.

* - only to make buggy growfs work without a mess

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