Michael Vondung wrote:

> Hello!

Howdy, Michael.

> 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 questions.
> 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. :)

Indeed. I'm only 21, and I still remember messing with a diskless Tandy
10 years ago when I was just getting started. Now I have a laptop with a
48G harddisk dual-booting WXP and FreeBSD 5.1-RELEASE, and I still have
more space than I know what to do with. It's a wonderful feeling!

> 4.8 or 5.1?

See below.

> 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?

Well, considering that you have the necessary backup media (dvd-r, a bunch
of cd-rw, a third hd, or tape), it shouldn't be THAT bad. However, it WILL
be more difficult than upgrading from 4.7-RELEASE to 4.8-RELEASE. You
generally will want to reformat the drive, or at least wipe out the file

I personally run 5.1-RELEASE on my IBM Thinkpad A30p. I do so not because
I like 5.x better than 4.x, but simply because I couldn't get advanced
power management (APM) working under 4.8-RELEASE. I tried to install 4.8
first because I was more familiar with it at the time.

5.x is the future. In that respect, it isn't a bad idea to get used to it
now, rather than later, when you suddenly find out that you HAVE to install
it for some shiny new piece of hardware or software.

Having said the above, I'll say this: 4.8-RELEASE _IS_ more stable than
5.x. I run 4.8-RELEASE on my servers. I run 5.1-RELEASE on my laptop.
I can vouch for both version's stability. 5.1-RELEASE is _NOT_ unbearable,
but it is also not quite as stable as 4.8-RELEASE. I won't put 5.x on my
servers until 5.3 or 5.4, I think, unless KSE support is just super killer
stable in 5.2. :)

Also, you might have more trouble actually getting FreeBSD 5.1-RELEASE
installed on newer machines. You sometimes have to set boot variables
to keep the kernel from crashing/panicing.

In conclusion, 5.1-RELEASE is good enough for a desktop, IMO, but you'd
better be prepared for an installation/learning curve over 4.8-RELEASE.
On the flip side, you're probably going to have to face that learning
curve at some point in the future anyway, so you might as well dive in
on your conditions and your timeframe, rather than wait until it's a



Jesse Guardiani, Systems Administrator
WingNET Internet Services,
P.O. Box 2605 // Cleveland, TN 37320-2605
423-559-LINK (v)  423-559-5145 (f)

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