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.

5 thoughts on “i installed freebsd 13.1 and lived to tell the tale

  1. I remember installing FreeBSD and using it for a short while some 20+ years ago, that was before I discovered Gentoo and later Debian. Still remember the ports and package systems, and that that was the first (and probably last, with the exception of Gentoo) time that I’ve built something like Firefox from the sources. That alone took one complete night on whatever Pentium box I had at the time…
    The reason to dump it was that it didn’t upgrade the applications, but only the OS itself, all the rest you had to build again… so after a brief stint with Gentoo (which is also a pain even when compared to Arch) I was glad that some very young colleague recommended to try Debian.
    But the good thing about my [FreeBSD] experience was that for the first time, I saw a functioning Ports and Packages system – [unlike] Red Hat and their dreaded RPM hell… still don’t like that ‘Enterprise’ distribution (and thinking) until today.

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      • Thanks. There’s another one – “the good thing about my Arch experience” should of course have been “the good thing about my FreeBSD experience”. Anything was better than Red Hat (and others like Suse who took their RPM system) these days, and so FreeBSD opened my eyes, and later Debian was like heaven. Never looked back, but instead began trying to help and to give back to the community…


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