Difficulties for installing PC-BSD


I like Unix philosophy. I like open source. I want to install PC-BSD to my netbook, but finally I realised that I failed to do so. I have tried several ways, then I give up now.

Actually, I preferred to install FreeBSD. But FreeBSD is targeted for server, so I choose PC-BSD. And PC-BSD has GUI installation, which makes everything easier (I tried it on VMware). So, I downloaded DVD ISO image. Then, I tried to use UNetbootin, since the site mentioned that it supports to create LiveUSB for FreeBSD 6.3 and 7.0. I assumed that it can also support for PC-BSD which is based on FreeBSD. However, I failed.

I found that UNetbootin uses syslinux. It is used for creating LiveUSB for Linux. Syslinux project also includes isolinux for creating LiveCD for Linux. So, I finally realised the reason why there is two different applications, syslinux and isolinux. This is because isolinux is for ISO image and it has its own file system, yet syslinux is for FAT file system. That is why I failed to use UNetbootin to boot PC-BSD in pendrive.

Then, I assumed that syslinux is for Linux installation. So, I tried to use “dd” command as following the instruction from PC-BSD Users Handbook:

To write the USB ISO file to a Flash Card or USB pen drive you can do this with the Unix command ‘dd’:
dd if= of=/dev/da0 bs=1m
Just substitute da0 with the device name of your USB stick.

Since the instruction mention the ISO file, I tried to use the ISO image I downloaded. But I still failed to boot into the PC-BSD in pendrive. Then, I assumed that ISO file system for the pendrive which is formatted as FAT32 (if I am wrong, please tell me, because I am a newbie in FreeBSD and Linux).

Next, I think the possible solution is to use the IMG image provided from the site. Downloaded, “dd”, and I still failed. So, I give up now. And continue using Linux.

(I think may be I used “dd” for the “of” argument incorrectly, I will try out again tomorrow.)

I personally still have an idea to boot the PC-BSD through USB pendrive using syslinux. But I didn’t tried out. Since it is possible to boot the USB pendrive with syslinux, and it is possible to boot FreeBSD through GRUB (or GAG, or LILO). So, if it is possible to use syslinux to boot to GRUB as a boot manager, then from GRUB to boot into PC-BSD, then installation is possible.

So, the conclusion based on my experience is:
PC-BSD is still not yet matured enough for LiveUSB installation and netbook. Unlike Linux distributions, there are several Linux distributions targeted on netbook, which allow users to install easily.

Note: Remember backup USB pendrive data before “dd”, cause data will be removed.

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