Kevin D. Kinsey, DaleCo, S.P. wrote:
Hi, John ...

As you cc'ed doc@, I'm sending your original mail to them
also, so they'll have some background.  Comments inline.

John Summerfield wrote:

I've booted a 5.2.1 miniinstall CD and got to the point where I choose which disk to install onto.

My choices are

Great. How do I know which disk is which? _I_ could work it out if the panel displayed information such as

Read the *text* in the handbook. As an example, the following appears on the page that you linked in your recent crosspost to doc@:

   "Consider what would happen if you had two IDE hard disks, one
   as the master on the first IDE controller, and one as the master
   on the second IDE controller. If FreeBSD numbered these as it
   found them, as ad0 and ad1 then everything would work.

   But if you then added a third disk, as the slave device on the first
   IDE controller, it would now be ad1, and the previous ad1 would " ....

<>This goes on for another 3-4 paragraphs; it is a discussion of why FreeBSD
has basically "hardcoded" disk drive names/numbers into the kernel, (e.g.,
why IDE primary master will always be ad0, why secondary slave will always
be ad3, etc).
Then again, just above figure 2-16 (which is the same as figure 2-20
but without an "X" in the checkbox):

Figure 2-16 <> shows an example from a system with two IDE disks.
They have been called ad0 and ad2.

Based on reading these sections/statements of the manual, it would seem somewhat obvious that ad0 is the primary master IDE hard disk. It is hard, then, at least for me, to see this as a fault of the documentation.

The drawback to this is that you're writing from the POV of someone who knows all this.

I'm not, I don't.

I have booted some other installers on this setup and find they do provide more information than the bare OS-dependant name.

Ideally, on my system, the installer would say:
AD0 Internal IDE drive, primary master, WD102AA 10.2 Gb
DA0 External USB drive, Cypress ATMR04-0 40 Gb

so most, even modestly, technical people could instantly recognise which disk is which.

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