Sunday, April 15, 2012

Installed FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE on Dell E520

I posted recently on the problems I had installing compiz-fusion (from /usr/ports/x11-wm/compiz-fusion).
Exasperated, I gave up, wiped the partition and re-installed FreeBSD.
Only problem I had was trying to get the new FreeBSD installed GUI to help me set up a swap partition in the FreeBSD slice.
The old installer allowed you to auto-select the partitions but that doesn't seem to available any more.
In any event, I set up a ufs2 partition without mount point.with the intention of later hacking /etc/fstab to create the required swap partition (see section 4.1).
Other than that everything was fine.
Previously, to get a GUI, I had always installed nano, gnome2 and xorg from pkg_add just to get a Desktop. From there I almost always installed everything from ports.
Could it be that mixing up packages and ports is causing these inevitable problems I always seem to have with FreeBSD given that packages may not always be as up-to-date as ports?
Anyway this time, I  did the following from the TTy after my first boot:

1. portsnap fetch extract
2. Install from ports

deskutils/cairo-dock and cairo-dock-plugins
sysutils/conky & deskutils/conkyforecast, deskutils/conkyemail

..........and everything worked perfectly, particularly the compiz-fusion install.
Well, actually, the gnome2 install stopped on error which complained that gtk-update-icon-cache needs cairo built with X11 support. This forum post discusses the same issue without providing a definitive solution.
All I did was install graphics/cairo with default build options and that solved the problem.
Actually, I'm just wondering if I should have built xorg before building gnome2?

Then some last minute touches were required. including:

- edit /usr/local/etc/sudoers by uncommenting the line %wheel= all(all) nopassword to give myself (as member of wheel group) access to sudo without needing to insert a password.
- install from ports x11/nvidia-driver, use Xorg -configure to generate a xorg.conf file and edit that so that the graphics driver is nvidia rather than nv (see details in handbook)
- add some further detail to /etc/X11/xorg.conf as seen in this very useful post (in the section Add to /etc/X11/xorg.conf).

Nevertheless, when I launched compiz with the command

$ compiz --replace && emerald --replace
the whole computer froze.
I immediately had thoughts of how my aging nVidia-Geforce 7300 LE gfx card would not allow me to run compiz in Ubuntu beyond 11.04.
So, now what?
Luckily, the above link contains the key at the very bottom of the page where it says "If compiz runs slowly on your hardware..............".
This worked perfectly for me.
The script I use to start compiz is the following:

#! /bin/sh
sleep 6
compiz --indirect-rendering --replace --sm-disable  ccp &
emerald --replace &
Now, I'm wondering will this resolve the problem I have in Ubuntu with my nVidia Geforce 7300 LE?
Maybe I'll try this some time later.
In any event, it seems from this very positive experience that perhaps mixing packages and ports is not a good idea. I can't see myself installing anything from packages in future despite the much greater time required for installation from ports.

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