On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 02:33:25PM -0400, PJ wrote:
> I'm afraid I was a bit impatient 

Patience is a virtue. Installing stuff can take hours, and a split-second can
suffice to screw it all up. Been there & done that. :-)

> and messed up the already messed up
> disk... frankly, I don't recall whatever happened to the thing in the
> first place.

Can I give you a tip? If you are doing something new or hairy, keep a laptop
or even a paper notebook handy and make notes of what you do. Write down the
commands that you use and any error messages that you get.

My favorite technique is to open emacs (preferably on another machine), start
a terminal/ssh session inside an emacs buffer and then do my thing. This gives
me a complete record of what I've done. Save these session (with some added
explanations) to a file and you'll know what to do next time, or at least you
can explain to others what you've been doing.

> anyway, I'm just practicing another minimal install... it's not as bad as I
> had thought... I'm getting it all together now.  

There is an extremely easy way to get all ports that you need onto a new
machine, provided that you have a (base) machine of (a) the same FreeBSD major
version of (b) the same hardware architecture and (c) up-to-date installed
ports available.

On the base machine, make dump(8)s of the filesystem(s) containing /usr/local,
/var/db/ports and /var/db/pkg and save them to files. Transfer those dump
files to an external harddisk or DVD. Using restore(8) interactively on the
new machine, restore these three directories to their respective filesystems
and you've got all ports up and running save for some editing of /etc/rc.conf.

> Thanks much, I'm beginning
> to understand a bit more... this boot stuff sure is complicated...

Yep. PC booting is a throwback to an earlier era when 640 kB RAM was all there
was and 512 bytes seemed big enough for boot code, because you were writing in
machine language or assembly anyway.

If you want a real hair-raising story about the time that assemblers were
luxuries, google 'the story of Mel' and be amazed (or horrified). It predates
PCs, but I think it shows the mind-set of the begin time of (personal)

R.F.Smith                                   http://www.xs4all.nl/~rsmith/
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