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FreeBSD 9.0 installer fails to impress

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  • FreeBSD 9.0 installer fails to impress

    FreeBSD 9.0 64 bit installer fails to impress

    I recently installed the latest OpenBSD 5.0 onto my laptop, sharing happily with two different Linuxes.

    Seeing that OpenBSD is offering KDE3 , and KDE4 unlikely to appear any time soon. ( Not a criticism, just fact).
    I decided to have a look at other *BSD's and noted that FreeBSD is offering KDE4 so duly downloaded the
    latest FreeBSD 9.0 version and burnt the .ISO without problems.

    Now to install !

    Making a fresh Primary Partition of 147Gig on a 750 Gig HD, just for FreeBSD, using a external SystemRescueCd version of GParted,
    I ended up with a MBR partition layout thus: ( using Linux display format )

    sda1( Primary, OpenBSD ), sda4 ( extended,( two Linuxes Mepis & aptosid, many sub partitions )), sda3 (Primary, for FreeBSD)

    So booting the FreeBSD installer all appeared OK until the Partition Editor !

    Firstly I was shown a layout, in hierarchical format matching the above, later the installer displayed this :

    sda1( Primary, OpenBSD ), sda3 (Primary, for FreeBSD), sda4 ( extended,( two Linuxes Mepis & aptosid, many sub partitions ))

    At this point I was becoming concerned for my MBR layout, however selecting the sda3 partition, I pressed on
    by selecting the Create option, the ADD Partition dialog box appears displaying :

    Type : FreeBSD
    Size : 2547Kb
    Mount Point : <blank>

    At this point I notice that I'm not told which MBR partition I'm working with, I cannot enter a 'mount point'
    value ( error : "mount point not allowed here" ), if I change the Size value ( error: "no space left on device, index '5' ")
    error message appears -- a NOT VERY useful message. Remember I have 147 Gig of space for FreeBSD to play with so its unlikely
    I dont have enough space.

    After trying all three install menu options to install they ALL fail to instill enough confidence in the process to continue with the install
    because you'r "just not sure what you've done is right".

    In my opinion this has to be the worst install tool I have come across in many years! And I've tried lots of operating systems over the years.

    In General, Linux distros have finaly understood that if the installer is not "nice", then why bother with that particular version of Linux ?
    The same applies to any of the *BSD, if you want people to use or at least try FreeBSD the installer needs to be MUCH better.

    OpenBSD's installer is "not nice" in the Linux context. but it is so well documented that the fear factor is pretty low
    ( Fear of destroying your other systems partitions ), the only real concern you have in the install process is when 'jumping' from the MBR fdisk
    partition creation to OpenBSD's partition interface.

    The installer is the users first impression of FreeBSD and its just BAD!

    A number of system installers use gParted as the partition interface tool
    and this is quite smart as it offers a commonly available tool across many Linuxes , I dont know if a FreeBSD version of gParted
    would be useful, but its interface style certainly would help the user!

    So FreeBSD 9.0 stays on the CD for now -- pity.