On Thu, 6 Aug 2009 14:56:41 -0700 (PDT), James Phillips <anti_spam...@yahoo.ca> 
> I was also attracted to BSD because I knew from my brief stint at
> university that the BSD man-pages were actually kept up to date.

As a developer, documentation is VERY important to me. That's why
I love FreeBSD, because the OS and many ported applications have
manpages (try "man opera" for example); furthermore, kernel inter-
faces, library functions and even files have a nice manpage.

> Not like the GNU system [...]

This page is intentionally left free. :-)

> Following the FreeBSD Handbook, I got stuck on trying to get the
> printer to work. The handbook was basicly instructing me to write
> my own print driver!

Definitely not. In order to connect the printer spooler (which takes
care of the different printer jobs) with a printer filter (that con-
verts the data, usually Postscript, into the printer's individual
language, e. g. PCL) such as CUPS or apsfilter, there are only very
few steps to be taken, such as install it, set up which printer you
have, and maybe change Letter to A4 format.

> I checked the HP website: they will release the details of the PCL
> language (version 4 or so) for a price.

The PCL language is usually output by gs (the Ghostscript printer
"driver" collection that translates PS into PCL and other printer

> I finally got it working by installing the Apsfiler package in the
> ports collection (no, did not send the post-card yet; the print
> server is not functional yet.)

Personally, I prefer apsfilter to CUPS, but maybe you would have liked
CUPS better. It offers a browser based interface and offers lots of
autodetection functionality. (But you can't install a parallel printer
that isn't connected to the system easily, for example.)

Setting up a printer with the apsfilter SETUP script is very easy as
long as you know which name the printer has - you mentioned HP. And
if it's a HP Laserjet, you're lucky. You're even more lucky if your
printer does support the PS standard, because then you can avoid using
any printer filter (such as apsfilter) because PS is the default output
format for printing, and it can be fed directly into the printer.

> After basicly using the server for my own use via ssh and FTP for
> a while, I decided to try to get samba and NFS working.

There are some good tutorials about how to do this. It's not very
complicated. The complexity is given by the expected MICROS~1 client
PCs that don't support standards like NFS. :-)

> This time, I narrowed the scope: Fileserving (SAMBA, NFS), Printing,
> and working backups.

That's quite easy to achieve by following the howtos.

> November 18, 2007, I started my FreeBSD 6.2 installation. This time
> I kept notes detailing what I had to do to configure each portion
> of the system. Looking up commands I may need if things go wrong
> ahead of time.

A good choice. I've still got some of them, especially for the "more
complicated things" like Samba.

> Initially, I was struggling with a chicken&egg problem with back
> ups: I wanted to borrow a client computer's DVD drive. However,
> I wanted to backup the client computers to the server. It was
> resolved by putting a DVD burner in the server. I also made
> made few tweaks of the system to better follow the Filesystem
> Hierarchy Standard (such as symlinking /usr/local/etc to /etc/opt).

Erm, excuse me? First of all, it's not encouraged to mix OS things
with application things. You know that FreeBSD keeps the difference
between "the OS" and "everything else" (which is located in the
/usr/local subtree). If you're coming from a Linux background, I
could understand that you're not familiar with this concept.
The /usr/local subtree can be completely removed and still leaves
you with a completely intact and functional OS. Everything that
you install by ports or packages goes into /usr/local, and of course,
the configuration files belong there, too. /usr/local/etc has the
same structure as /etc, but it's reserved for additional software.
Vice versa, configuration files of locally installed ports do not
belong into /etc.

Refer to 

        % man hier

to learn where things are kept on FreeBSD.

> I set up samba in read-only mode with little trouble. I'm not
> sure if I can ever get read/write + user-level security working
> with win98.

Sure, I don't know if "Win98" does support this. But if you get the
users and data managed centrally, everything is based upon the
standard UFS user:group and ugo=rwx setting scheme.

> That machine is slowly degrading while I try to get the fileserver
> working the way I want.

That indicates a major problem. Either your hardware is faulty, or you
are treating the software in the wrong way.

> The last time I did a complete re-install (of win98) I lost data
> due to a damaged disk that I copied the data to (and learned that
> bzip2recover is a quick hack that needs to be re-written properly
> according to the source code).

It's completely normal that you lose data on "Windows" platforms.
That's why you have a UNIX server for backups.

> I hope to replace windows with wine for the most part, but wine
> simply installs the applications in the users' home directory
> (breaking the FHS).

No. You run wine as a user application, so you have user rights only.
Then, wine of course provides a user-based installation of your
desired "Windows" program.

A workaround could be to create a special user, e. g. "wincompat",
that is used to install the applications. His home directory
/home/wincompat is then set to allow access for other users, so
they can execute the (there installed) "Windows" programs instead of
requiring a user-local installation.

> This is only resolvable IMHO by having wine use a real database
> back-end for the registry (allowing user-level "views" of the
> data, while still isolating different users).

That's a bit complicated, but still possible with the standard
file attributes on a UFS file system - I hope I understood you

> Setting up NFS was a lesson in the intecracies of NIS twice
> since my Linux clients do things a little differently. After
> asking on one of the IRC channels that we are not advised to use; [...]


> [...] I edited the /var/yp/Makefile to suppress groups outside
> the range of (1001 -2000). That basicly prevents the "special"
> groups from being exported to the Linux clients (that use different
> numbering)

It's traditional to create a "name:name" for user "name". Of course,
there's no problem of grouping your user names to "name:group1" and
similar things; "name:staff" comes into mind.

> To do this, I DID need the gory low-level details in the handbook.
> I didn't note the exact date, but I really didn't touch the server
> for months after that. I copied my work to the Linux client because
> the hard-disk was failing, and I still did not get DVD-burning
> working.

There's the growisofs tool from the ports. The port's name is
dvd+rw-tools. You simply run

        % growisofs -Z /dev/dvd -r -J somedata/

or refer to

        % man growisofs

for detailed information. (I have a symling dvd -> cd0 so it fits to
the manpage.) Of course, you don't need ISO-9660 for data DVDs, you
could record tar archives onto them directly, but that's another topic.

> At one point when doing a Google search for "fxp" I came across this message:
> http://unix.derkeiler.com/Mailing-Lists/FreeBSD/current/2008-10/msg00340.html
> Call for testers: fxp(4) WOL  <- My card!

The fxp NIC is an Intel one, right? I still have one, works good, and
is excellently supported.

> At that point, I decided to install the FreeBSD testing release
> (7.x).

Testing? A release isn't for testing, it's for a productive and functional
system. If you intend testing, you would require the latest sources from
HEAD, which is 8-CURRENT at the moment.

> I had been felling guilt about leaving a barely-used computer running
> 24/7. Especially since I wasn't going to trust it with my work aging
> until I do a successful backup/restore.

You should always test your backups early. Defective backups are NO

> I finally installed FreeBSD 7.2 (release) on May 9, 2009. However, I
> now note some feature creep:
> In addition to file/print and backup server, I want to:
> 1. Have it sleep when not in use (part of the delay was figuring out
> how to get the router to send the magic packet. I read RFC's to
> determine the proper way, and found a "hack" that will work on my
> floppy-based router for my network set-up (send it every DHCP lease).

Are you talking about the "wake on LAN" feature?

> 2. I think I want to move the Voice/Fax/Modem to the machine. Recently
> I realised a lack of WakeOnRing may impair phone answering if machine
> is sleeping.

I think that's been calling "wake on modem"... it reminds me to a funny
accident when a customer told me that when his phone rings, his computer
starts up. :-)

> 3. I still hope to do "other things" once the machine is working
> reliably.

FreeBSD's good load management should make this possible.

> So, this long story boils down to the following question:
> What is that best way to use the handbook and related documentation
> (like man-pages)?

Read and understand. Ask if something is not clear to you.

> I am willing to do some reading, but get distracted by irrelevant or
> sometimes too low-level stuff.

Selective reading (skipping irrelevant stuff) is handy.

> I want to avoid programing as much as
> possible until I actually have a work-station I am comfortable playing
> around with.

Well, I do it the same way.

> Thinking about it in the week before posting this, I think that part
> of my problem is I want to use the documentation to do the "right
> thing" rather than experiment. Once I move the family's files onto
> the server, it becomes essential.

Remember to regularly backup, and check the backups.

> I won't be able to have it out of commission for weeks at a time.
> I hope with the server properly set up, win98 may even be usable
> again: just do a clean install every morning!

Doesn't it reinstall automatically by itself? :-)

> I even downloaded the Windows 7 RC so that I can be informed when
> I say it sucks.

Well... I'm familiar with most of "Windows" problems, but my house
has always been a "Windows" free zone, so it doesn't even affect me
if it sucks. :-)

> PS: I find it a little annoying that FreeBSD releases faster than
> I can configure my computer! ;)

And I find it a little annoying that if I decide to update my system,
a new release is soon coming, encouraging me to wait until it's
finally released. :-)

>From Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...
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