Tuesday, April 03, 2012

FreeBSD -- the scenic route to 9.0-RELEASE

Well, I'm still plugging away trying to get FreeBSD-9.0-RELEASE running well on my E520 Desktop.
Yes, I have it running, but it took some doing, as well as a lot of learning, for sure.
Here I'll just mention some things I noticed and experienced on my journey from 8.2 to 9.0:

1. I was actually unable to do the upgrade from 8.2 as I had intended. The reason was that the portupgrade required in the middle of the upgrade always came unstuck apparently because many packages looked for dependencies other than the ones installed. I have the impression that this may be due to me installing some stuff (particularly Gnome2 and Xorg) from packages (which generally install out-of-date stuff) and then upgrading or updating with portupgrade or portmaster.
There just doesn't seem to be an easy way to circumvent this problem, such as just downloading and installing the dependency version required. Presumably, this is because other installed packages may need the outdated dependency.
Probably the best way out of this is to avoid using pkg_add and related commands even though they are so much quicker than installing through ports.
As an example, pkg_add -r chromium installed the Chromium Browser in about two minutes. Compiling and installing Chromium from /usr/ports/www/chromium takes almost two hours on my machine.

2.  This computer has an old nVidia GeForce 7300 LE gfx card which didn't work well with Ubuntu 11.10 which means I'm still running 11.04 on this box.
When I first clean installed FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE (forced to do this as upgrade just didn't work), and after using pkg_add to install Gnome2 and Xorg (as well as Nano) and then adding the following to /etc/rc.conf:


I got to a GUI login screen and from there to a black screen with a functioning mouse pointer. However, it just wouldn't progress any further.
This lead me to suspect the gfx card.
However, for reasons I can't explain on a subsequent clean install this problem disappeared. Anyway this means that my creaky old GeForce 7300 LE still has some life in her.

3. When I finally got the portupgrade -afp to complete (took about 30 hours probably because the 'f' switch causes everything to be recompiled and reinstalled whether it needs updating or not), there were still six packages that hadn't been updated as established by running
pkg_version -vl "<"
So I started to upgrade each one of these individually to find out where the problem was.
portupgrade -k brasero
The  'k' switch forces the upgrade (although I'm not totally sure what 'force' means).
For three of these packages (brasero, evince, sound-juicer) the problem was that the required tar.bz2 package hadn't been found (which is strange as they were all available in the Gnome Pub site).
When I tried the portupgrade on en-freebsd-doc, the compile error arose because of an Operation Not Permitted error.
So, I logged in as root and ran it again. Took along time (40 minutes) but worked fine.
Now, the portupgrade of Gnome2 worked without any problem. Seems it was the three other gnome-related packages that were preventing its completion.
The final package, gvfs, I just could get to upgrade.
Now this is a known problem as shown here, here and again here.
Although a solution is hinted at, I just couldn't get it to work.
I tried

#  portupgrade -o archivers/xz lzmautils\*
but this did nothing.
Also tried to deinstall xz but deinstall told me it wasn't installed. Strangely when I tried to install xz from /usr/port/archivers/xz, it told me xz was already installed.

 Lately I came across this more complete indication of what needs to be done. I'll try this when I get 9.0 running again. 

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