Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

DesktopBSD day 13 – Installing on a real hard drive

If there is one thing I don’t fondly remember about the PC-BSD series, it is the problems I had finding a hard drive that would be accepted as ‘good enough’ by the installer. The PC-BSD installer refused to cooperate with seven harddrives, ranging from 20 Gb to 120 Gb in size, reporting CRC errors etc. In the end only an old 6,4 Gb drive was deemed okay. Of course, it’s not bad to have a good hardware checkup, but in all cases the drives were and are still quite functional with Windows and various Linux distributions on them.

With this in mind I expected DesktopBSD to act similarly. I could have opted to go for the 6,4 Gb drive immediately, but that’s not the way of the empirical researcher. Again I went through the stack of hard drives. Yep, same list of errors and refusals. The DesktopBSD installer is somewhat smarter than the PC-BSD installer. Where PC-BSD would just start the install routine (only to fail at each attempted package), DesktopBSD would immediately halt with an error message.

The 6,4 Gb could indeed be used and the install was completed without a problem. The only thing I had to change were the settings for my graphics card (nVidia N6200) to 128 Mb and 2x AGP. Otherwise the boot up would crash.

I have done most of testing and playing with DesktopBSD on a virtual machine, which comes with a speed penalty. Earlier in the series I reported the responsiveness when using the live CD and I can tell you: working with DesktopBSD from a real hard drive is even faster. Lightning fast.

When shutting down the PC the graphical interface disappears and my monitor reports “Input not supported”. A bit weird, but it’s a problem that I also noticed with PC-BSD. At least I have a fast platform for some other experiments I intend to do this month. Still, it will be a matter of installing and removing packages throughout, because I don’t think 6,4 Gb is sufficient.

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