On Thu, Aug 06, 2009 at 02:56:41PM -0700, James Phillips wrote:
> 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. Not
> like the GNU system where man pages say stupid things like: "The full
> documentation for dd is maintained as a Texinfo manual.  If the  info
> and  dd  programs  are  properly installed at your site, the command:
>               info dd
>        should give you access to the complete manual.
> dd (coreutils) 5.97   January 2007           DD(1)"
> I actually saw text once (years ago) that basicly said: "If we receive
> complaints about the quality of the man pages, they will be removed" I
> have tried to use info. I don't have time to go through the info
> tutorial every time I want to use a new command (think emacs-like
> hyperlinking/scripting, vi-like keybindings)

Yeah, I hate that stuff.  The GNU project is kind of like the Microsoft
of the open source community, that way.

> Anyway, Initially, I wanted to set up a "File and everything else"
> server. I don't know exactly when I installed FreeBSD 5.x, but I copied
> my files of over to it March 14, 2006. I know this because I lost data:
> the file creation times.
> 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! I checked the HP website: they will release the
> details of the PCL language (version 4 or so) for a price. 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.)
> 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. This time, I
> narrowed the scope: Fileserving (SAMBA, NFS), Printing, and working
> backups. 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.
> 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).

Don't mess with the filesystem layout unless you *really* know what
you're doing!

The FHS isn't a Unix standard.  It's a Linux distributions standard.
It's also not the bastion of good sense and best practices it pretends to
be.  It's basically a series of political compromises between a bunch of
people who are jockeying for positions of power and making as little
change in their specific distributions as possible to consider themselves

FreeBSD doesn't have that problem.  It uses a fairly well-organized
filesystem hierarchy based on some simple, well-tested principles of use.
It is *really* not a good idea to start moving stuff around without
knowing how FreeBSD uses its filesystem hierarchy, and it is *especially*
not a good idea to do so to try to make it conform with the Linux FHS.
FreeBSD is not Linux, after all.

In the specific case of creating /etc/opt, you shouldn't really be
damaging anything, but there's a very good reason that stuff is in
/usr/local/etc -- so that when using separate filesystems for separate
parts of the hierarchy, you don't separate the stuff installed in
/usr/local from its configuration data.

. . . and when I say "you shouldn't really be damaging anything", I use
the word "shouldn't" because I can't think of anything that'd hurt, and
*not* because I know it won't hurt anything.

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

The FHS doesn't apply to FreeBSD (or any other BSD Unix, or any
commercial UNIX system, for that matter), so it's not "breaking"
anything.  That's a bit like saying that Python is breaking the XHTML 1.1
standard because it doesn't use end delimiters for its code blocks; the
standard in question doesn't apply, so no standard is being broken.

> 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)?
> I am willing to do some reading, but get distracted by irrelevant or
> sometimes too low-level stuff. I want to avoid programing as much as
> possible until I actually have a work-station I am comfortable playing
> around with. 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. 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! I even downloaded the Windows 7 RC so that I can be informed
> when I say it sucks.

I'm really not sure how to answer this question, I'm afraid.  I don't
think it's a stupid question, and I think I can understand what you mean
about your problems with getting use out of the documentation, but I
haven't had the same problems so I don't know of any quick fixes to offer
in how to get around these problems.  For instance, when I installed CUPS
on a couple of computers here for the first time since I started
installing FreeBSD them, it all seemed very straightforward and I didn't
see anything that could even through hyperbole be described as involving
writing my own printer driver.  I basically just set up configuration for
CUPS, and it worked -- much more easily than it ever did with Debian (my
OS of choice before I migrated stuff to FreeBSD).

Then again, I go out of my way to make sure I use network-attached
PostScript laser printers, and they tend to be very well supported by
CUPS on BSD Unix and other Unix-like OSes.

In case you're not aware of it, there's one command you should definitely
use to help when you want to look up something in a manpage and don't
know what manpage to use:


. . . or, equivalently:

    man -k

If the manpage you're reading doesn't have exactly what you're looking
for, don't forget to check the SEE ALSO, and maybe the FILES, section(s).

Don't forget that `man man` will tell you stuff like how to access a
manpage in a particular section of the Unix Manual:

    man n foo

. . . where "n" is the section number and "foo" is the manpage in that
section you want to read.

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

So do I, frankly -- because the faster they release, the faster they get
dropped from support, basically, and I still haven't gotten the knack of
figuring out which releases are going to be the extended support releases
when it comes time to pick a minor version number to install on a new

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
Quoth Georg Hackl: "American beer is the first successful attempt at
diluting water."

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