Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

PC-BSD Day 28: Crash test

As the end of the 30 days draws near it is time to do some crash tests. The more experienced Linux or *BSD user knows that you need to shutdown your computer decently. Even if the graphical user interface freezes up on you, you know there is a way out via on of the other virtual consoles. I still remember the days that a hard reboot on Linux would leave me with an unusable machine after a few times.

Ubuntu Linux -and maybe the other distributions as well- has become more crash dummy proof. But how would PC-BSD manage under the crash test?

Why necessary?

PC-BSD targets desktop users and non-technical users among them. Hence, we may not expect them to be able to change from a frozen graphical desktop to a virtual terminal, log in as root and reboot the system. If something goes wrong -and it will go wrong sooner or later- the reset button is just an arm’s length away.

The results

As I noticed before, PC-BSD isn’t going easy on the harddrive. If the harddrive isn’t good enough it won’t even install on it. Well, it doesn’t like you resetting the system without a proper reboot either. At the first new boot it recognizes the fact that there was no proper shutdown and starts to check the disk. This is time-consuming (good, that will teach you for the next time) and you see a list of error messages flashing by.

I immediately reset the system once this boot up was finished. And again. And again. PC-BSD then gave up and wouldn’t boot anymore. The fourth reset was one too many. Of course, you might not expect a desktop user to reset the system four times in a row, but it does show the system is more frail than current Linux systems.

In another instance the reset left me without a working boot loader after the first try. Restoring a boot loader will not pose a big problem for the more experienced user, but it is Mount Helena (seconds before the explosion) for the average desktop user.

I know it’s a bit of a short article today, but hey, after crashing the system I need to reinstall it again 😉

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3 thoughts on “PC-BSD Day 28: Crash test

  1. It would be nice if you tried dsktopbsd to see how this works compared to pc-bsd. I was unable to install it the other day as it did not like the kdm version or some error like this so I went back to pc-bsd but may try it again when they come out with there final version. I like having a graphical way of knowing that there are security issues.

  2. I decided last nigth to try and install desktopbsd again as I kept getting database errors while using desktopbsd-tools to do an update. I figured I would go to the source and see how it works under there system. I liked the fact that it told me about security problems such as flash that was installed on pc-bsd. I have not used desktopbsd for much other then installing updates so far. It would be nice if you would use this next to see how the 2 compare.

  3. Hi John, experimenting with DesktopBSD is next on my list. I plan to start the next series on November 1st.

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