Installing a FreeBSD from Scratch From a Linux Box?

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Installing a FreeBSD from Scratch From a Linux Box?

Hunter Jozwiak-2
Hi,

I am curious as to whether or not this is actually possible. The idea
is to install FreeBSD from scratch using a Linux live disc akin to how
one would install Gentoo. That means that I would create the
filesystems, mount them on partitions, download and build the sources,
chroot in, and do configuration that way. The main reason is that
since there is no talking live installer for the visually impaired, it
would be difficult to get an install going without sighted assistance.
Any thoughts/ideas are welcome.

Hunter
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Re: Installing a FreeBSD from Scratch From a Linux Box?

Dump Mail Address
I do not know if it would be possible to do using a Linux media. However,
even if it is possible it certainly would be overly complicated, and does
not make any sense.

If you somehow cannot use the default FreeBSD installer, you can instead
just enter in the shell, and do the process manually using the same media.

The only assistance you would need from a thirdy party would be to make the
choice of the shell instead of the installer. However there are just three
options, and you could indeed find the righ one (shell) by trial and error.

Best regards.
LBdM.

On Monday, March 20, 2017 8:12:00 PM BRT, Hunter Jozwiak wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I am curious as to whether or not this is actually possible. The idea
> is to install FreeBSD from scratch using a Linux live disc akin to how
> one would install Gentoo. That means that I would create the
> filesystems, mount them on partitions, download and build the sources,
> chroot in, and do configuration that way. The main reason is that
> since there is no talking live installer for the visually impaired, it
> would be difficult to get an install going without sighted assistance.
> Any thoughts/ideas are welcome.
>
> Hunter

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Re: Installing a FreeBSD from Scratch From a Linux Box?

Dave Cottlehuber-2
In reply to this post by Hunter Jozwiak-2
On Tue, 21 Mar 2017, at 00:12, Hunter Jozwiak wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I am curious as to whether or not this is actually possible. The idea
> is to install FreeBSD from scratch using a Linux live disc akin to how
> one would install Gentoo. That means that I would create the
> filesystems, mount them on partitions, download and build the sources,
> chroot in, and do configuration that way. The main reason is that
> since there is no talking live installer for the visually impaired, it
> would be difficult to get an install going without sighted assistance.
> Any thoughts/ideas are welcome.
>
> Hunter

What about this approach?

- make a usb stick or CD of mfsbsd http://mfsbsd.vx.sk/
- boot the computer from that
- from another computer that has "talk functionality" available, connect
via ssh to mfsbsd
- run mfsbsd inbuilt zfsinstall from this terminal session

While I've not tried it recently, I believe its also possible to run the
FreeBSD installer from within mfsbsd too, so this would give a partially
sighted person the ability to use the normal installer via a supported
speaking terminal. I have no idea whether curses style applications work
in this scenario, maybe you can share some experiences with that.

IIRC one needs to download the .txz files to /usr/freebsd-dist/ and also
the MANIFEST file from an ftp mirror, then run bsdinstall.

A+
Dave
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Re: Installing a FreeBSD from Scratch From a Linux Box?

Thomas Mueller-4
In reply to this post by Hunter Jozwiak-2
from Hunter Jozwiak:

> I am curious as to whether or not this is actually possible. The idea
> is to install FreeBSD from scratch using a Linux live disc akin to how
> one would install Gentoo. That means that I would create the
> filesystems, mount them on partitions, download and build the sources,
> chroot in, and do configuration that way. The main reason is that
> since there is no talking live installer for the visually impaired, it
> would be difficult to get an install going without sighted assistance.
> Any thoughts/ideas are welcome.
         
> Hunter

This looks like the reverse of Cross Linux from Scratch, where you might build Linux from FreeBSD, NetBSD or other non-Linux OS.

One problem is how to write to a FreeBSD UFS file system from Linux, which as far as I know can read but not write UFS 1 or 2.  Build an installation .iso or USB-stick image?

But some people have cross-compiled NetBSD from Linux, despite the same filesystem issue.

I have cross-compiled NetBSD from FreeBSD, but am not sure if that can be done the other way around.

I believe cross-compiling FreeBSD from another OS is officially unsupported; this is also true for OpenBSD and OpenIndiana.  There are some things you could possibly try, build the toolchain first, but you're essentially on your own in uncharted territory.

There is a NetBSD guide on cross-compiling NetBSD from another OS, this might possibly be adapted to cross-compiling FreeBSD, but I never tried that and make no promises.

This is without regard to being visually impaired, which would complicate the issue more.

Tom

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Re: Installing a FreeBSD from Scratch From a Linux Box?

Polytropon
In reply to this post by Hunter Jozwiak-2
On Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:12:00 -0400, Hunter Jozwiak wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I am curious as to whether or not this is actually possible. The idea
> is to install FreeBSD from scratch using a Linux live disc akin to how
> one would install Gentoo.

That part already looks too complicated. Why boot with a Linux CD
when you can boot with a FreeBSD CD? Keep in mind: your goal is to
install FreeBSD, and the FreeBSD CD can do exactly that. There is
no need to "prepare" anything which might "require" Linux.



> That means that I would create the
> filesystems, mount them on partitions, download and build the sources,
> chroot in, and do configuration that way.

But _why_ would you want to do it so complicated?

It sounds possible, yes, but Linux's support for FreeBSD file systems
(UFS) is not native, so you'd first have to make sure the Linux you
want to boot does actually _support_ all the required cases. And if
you want to use classic MBR layout (FreeBSD old: fdisk + disklabel,
new: gpart, both followed by newfs), the real fun will start. ;-)

And we're not done yet. Now you need a compiler that will build the
FreeBSD sources correctly. The whole toolchain for the build system
that is included with FreeBSD would have to be replicated with Linux.
That again is lots of hard work. This work mainly takes place in
Linux to make it a build system for FreeBSD...

If you want to explicitely install from source (and _not_ install
from precompiled binary packages as the installer does), how about
the following approach:

Prepare a FreeBSD USB stick with the sources on it. Boot it and
build the sources there. It will be slow, but you only need to do
it once (except you build somewhere else with HDD / SSD and then
transfer the results, the /usr/src and /usr/obj subtrees); when
booted, first initialize the target system with FreeBSD's native
tools (as mentioned above), then "make installworld installkernel"
as described in the handbook and in /usr/src/Makefile's comment
header. You could then chroot into the target system and do the
desired configuration tasks, and finally boot _that_ system.



> The main reason is that
> since there is no talking live installer for the visually impaired, it
> would be difficult to get an install going without sighted assistance.

The installer works in text mode. Do you have a Braille readout
you can use? They usually support everything that works in 80x25
text mode, some provide a tactile interface, others have speech
synthesis as an option. So you don't need it in software...

And: Yes, that is a _very_ valid reason and consideration! People
with impairments are often forgotten by programmers, and ripped off
by commercial software vendors. Linux offers some solutions to
that problem - but as I said, Linux isn't exactly a build system
for FreeBSD...


--
Polytropon
Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...
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