i installed freebsd 13.1 and lived to tell the tale

Firstly, know I’m not a FreeBSD fan, even though I have MacBooks with an operating system that can trace its lineage back to the original Berkeley BSD. Even going back to the time when it was essentially BSD vs AT&T Unix, I tended to eschew BSD. So why install FreeBSD 13.1? Curiosity.

Before we get into this, I haven’t changed my opinion of BSD. My installation experience of FreeBSD 13.1 has only rekindled my general dislike of the operating system.

I installed FreeBSD 13.1 into a Parallel’s virtual machine (Parallels Version 17.1.4 (51567)). My first attempt failed with a “missing /boot/lua/loader.lua” file. I went looking for a reason for this, and found a solution in a forum question ( https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/freebsd-12-x-13-x-14-x-installation-issue-on-parallels-16.79271/ ). There are some choice comments about why there is this failure mode, and why it’s been in FreeBSD since version 11. I applied the solution in the forum post to my second installation attempt:

Which then led to success:

After that initial boot screen it was uneventful, as I picked various subsystems to install (especially ports), picked my keyboard and timezone and what services to start on boot, that kind of thing. When it was done it booted back into a console window.

From there I attempted to install a desktop environment. That turned into a real dumpster fire. The directions are long, at times unfathomable, and takes too much time to get anything done. I gave up after my first attempt failed.

I deleted that failure and reinstalled a new fresh copy, choosing not to install a desktop environment the next time. Right now it sits idle, and I suppose if I have a need for a BSD other than macOS I can fire it up and do… whatever.

FreeBSD makes Arch look brilliant. I am definitely not the target demographic for FreeBSD.

in remembrance

Last Tuesday afternoon a fellow workmate passed away from cancer. He was at home with his family at the time.

I’d only known the man since early 2021 when he started to appear at scheduled field tests for my project. I hadn’t know him at all until he arrived at the first field test. After that he was a regular participant. I won’t say we were the best of friends. We had an abrasive moment at one point in our work relationship, which quickly smoothed itself out.

Over time I came to realize he was undergoing treatments for cancer. I don’t know what kind; I never asked out of deference to his privacy and he never volunteered the information. I do remember his numerous operations and chemo-therapy sessions. I grew more invested in his outcomes, hoping that each session truly did remove all the cancer. Unfortunately it never did.

Then I heard of his last medical session earlier this year when he announced that the cancer had come back, spread everywhere, and was “stage four.” At that point there wasn’t anything anyone could do. He went in one last time for an operation to help relieve some of the pain. After that they sent him home for hospice care.

A week before he died I traveled to his home with the local lead of our engineering group to sit and visit. He was lucid, but physically thin and in bed the entire time we were visiting. He tired easily. We both stayed as long as we could, then left. It was an emotionally charged moment, and the last time either of us saw him alive.

He was brave in the face of death. He never complained, only spoke of his battle with cancer in a straight forward way to let us know. He was smart and had a strong work ethic. He worked as long as he could, insisting he be allowed to show up and help with our field tests, even during the early and middle phases of his battle with cancer. He was a great help in my project.

I chose to be quiet last week, not posting, partially out of respect to his memory, mostly because his death focused my attention on the vital lessons of living a positive and contributory life.