Monday, August 22, 2011

FreeBSD 8.2 on EeePC 901: Chapter 3

The port install of gnome2 continued for a total of about 36 hours. including two overnight sessions. In total, the compile stopped, because /usr had reached 109% full, a total of 5 times. In each case I ran a "make clean" in the /usr/ports/x11/gnome2 directory which always freed up substantial space on /usr.
Finally, however, usage of /usr had reached 3.9GB with a total size of 4.9GB and it still hadn't finished. It had, however, stopped compiling because of some problem with an Error Code 1 when installing /usr/ports/sysutils/lsof.
At this stage I gave up particularly as it seemed that my /usr was just too small if I wanted Gnome2/Xorg as window manager.
But, first, I wanted to see if I could get my netbook to boot to a FreeBSD Desktop even though my Gnome2 install was incomplete.
So, I added the following lines to /etc/rc.conf using nano as root:


and rebooted.
And, sure enough, the greeter screen and eventually the GUI Desktop appeared.
Great, but I have to say the the slowness I had noted in the TTY compiles persisted in the GUI particularly in the time needed for the greeter and later the Desktop to appear.
Nevertheless, on the Desktop, simple operations like command line work, text editing and browsing worked fine.
Nevertheless, I was very short on space. "df -h" showed /usr to have only 472 MB available which is not a lot.
I tried to install /usr ports/www/chromium. However, after downloading the .tar.gz, it refused to extract possibly because of the shortage of space.
So, I settled for the lightweight Midori browser which worked fine.

Finally, a (small) contributor to the lethargy of the xorg and gnome2 compiles was due to very slow download rates. So whatever mirror was being used wasn't optimized for my location.
This (very old) post suggests a solution merely by adding these lies to /etc/make.conf:



where the URL is what you consider the best for your downloads. Indeed, you can install and use a little app called fastest_sites from ports to help decide the optimum site for your needs.

This post provides some further tips in optimizing mirrors for your downloads.

OK, at this stage, I've established that FreeBSD 8.2 can be installed and operated on the EeePC 901. Only serious problems I've seen so far are that it seems slow and needs quite a lot of space for the install.
Not sure how I can easily overcome the slowness but, for space, I think I'm going to have to do a major reorganization of what I have on my two ssd's including dumping LinuxMint which, in truth, I've rarely used.
So, my present intention would be to have Haiku and Ubuntu /home on the 4GB disk, a 4.5 GB partition for Ubuntu / on the larger disk leaving something around 11 GB for FreeBSD.

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