My apologies for the length of this post. Summary: 4.x or 5.x for a desktop
machine, disk partitioning for a workstation, miscellaneous installation

Okay, the details! Now that I have my local FreeBSD server (mail/news,
router, firewall) successfully running, I'm ready to tackle my workstation.
This is currently a system with a P4-2.6Ghz, 512MB RAM, an 80GB EIDE disk,
and "the usual" devices (CDR, CD/DVD player, network adapter and so on). At
this time it is running Windows XP, and I plan to keep it where it is. To
avoid having two operating systems on the same disk, I've purchased an
identical HD (WD800BB) where FreeBSD will live on. Since I don't download
movies or obscene amounts of MP3s, this is all a bit spacey. The XP disk
only uses 35 of 80GB and I doubt the FreeBSD one will even be this "full".
How times change. :)

4.8 or 5.1?

My "personal server" happily runs 4.8R and will be updated to 4.9 when
-stable becomes a bit more stable. It consists of older hardware and I don't
plan to upgrade it to 5.x any time soon, if ever. But what do you recommend
for the workstation? It doesn't have dual-processors and all of its hardware
seems to be supported by 4.x. This machine, though, will eventually get 5.x.
I'm wondering if it makes sense to put 4.8 on it now or if it would be a
better choice to just go with 5.1R. My primary concern here is ease of
upgrading. Will it be difficult to go from 4.9 to 5.2, somewhere down the
road? Mergemaster is a rather scary looking critter. Differently put, will
there be tools provided to allow this without too much fiddling?


If anything brings out the perfectionist in me, it is figuring out how to
partition a disk. What I have in mind for the 80GB FreeBSD disk for the
workstation is this:

/ = 512MB (too spacey, but that should be plenty for future releases)
swap = 3GB (see notes below)
/var = 1GB (probably too much, but the room's there)
/tmp = 1GB (256MB would probably be enough, but why not?)
/usr = the rest (essentially 74GB)

The machine currently has 512MB of RAM, but since I won't have the financial
means or desire to get a new complete system in the next two to four years,
it's possible that I'll upgrade the memory first to 1GB and later to 1.5GB
if needed or wanted. 3GB would then be an acceptable amount of swap space,
but I certainly won't need this much right now, and I might never. Am I
overdoing it, or doesn't it really matter since I don't seem to lack storage
room anyway?

Then there's this huge /usr partition. 74GB. I thought about splitting this
between /home and /usr, but I have honestly no idea (and experience) how
much space I'll end up using where. It probably wouldn't matter since I
won't need more 30 or 40GB of that space. There's also the possibility that
I might end up using the second disk (another 80GB one that currently
belongs to XP) for FreeBSD also. That would then be for /home, if for some
unexpected reason I should need more space. In other words, I would like to
keep this option open.

This workstation won't hold "critical" data, so I do not plan on backing up
entire partitions. If all of this is inefficient and I'm missing the
obvious, please let me know. Keep in mind that I -am- new to the FreeBSD and
Unix world. I'm open for suggestions here.


- FreeBSD will be on the second disk. Is Sysinstall, if FreeBSD is installed
on the slave, going to ask if I'd like to put the BootMgr on the first

- In case I decide to make the second disk (with FreeBSD) the master drive
some time in the not-so-near future, will it be fairly simple to accomplish
this? Only jumper rearrangement, MBR and fstab editing?

- Anything else I need to pay particular attention to? Besides backing up
important files on the XP disk in case something goes wrong.



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