Started hacking on FreeSBIE and experience with IT @ school

Posted in Free Software, NSS at 6:24 pm by Pirate Praveen

I’ve downloaded FreeSBIE (A live cd based on Free BSD somedays before the flossmeet and tried it. It was so nice and I liked it. Today I got a chance to really go hacking it, when Shyam wanted to install it. We plugged the cd into the drive and booted off the cd and played around with it. Now Shyam has been looking for Free BSD to install in his comp. We checked Free BSD that came with Digit , but decided on FreeSBIE on two grounds.
1. Free BSD is 5.2.1 and FreeSBIE is based on Free BSD 5.3
2. The size difference was not much (two cds of Free BSD amounted to only 885MB)

The installer was staright forward and the first challenge was when it wanted a primary partition to install. [So we used our knowledge about partitions and created a primary partition with Partition magic, first we deleted the last partition of the logical partition and then resized the logical and the free space is formatted as a primary partition]. The installation was done nicely [and it had a screensaver during installation !!! and we could use mouse in the text installer !!!!]

The next challenge was to mount Windows partitions

The way BSD recognise a harddisk [ad0s1,2… ]is different from how GNU/Linux [hda1,2…] recognises it.
Luckily when we did a df from the live cd it showed all the /dev files for the partitions [The live cd didn’t have any entry in /etc/fstab file !]
The windows primary was ad0s1 and the FreeSBIE primary was ad0s3 and the logical partitions in it as ad0s3a,b…
so we guessed the windows partition to be ad0s2a,b… and configured /etc/fstab

and the result ????
The system refuced to boot and and gave a /bin/sh shell !!! and vi didn’t work and we were helpless but we found out a way:-)
We inserted the live cd and found out the fstab file and commented the newly added windows partitons part and tried to save , alas !!! the partition was mounted read-only, what could we do ? we unmounted the ufs filesystem (which is the BSD filesystem) and mounted it with write option
mount -o rw /dev/ad0s2a /mnt/ufs.1
we commented the new lines and rebooted to the harddisk. It worked and greeted with the nice xfce splash screen:-)

Again we tried to mount the partitions

we found that the filesystem for fat32 was not vfat but msdosfs in BSD.

It was successfully mounted and then sound was not coming !!!
we changed the fstab again and rebooted !!!
‘Mr. Shanker is again on the coconut tree’ !!!
It gave us an ugly /bin/sh

And the rest I don’t know how Shyam manged it, because I had to go to the REC Higher Secondary School to train the teachers as part of the NSS programme. Today I gave them an introduction to GNU/Linux and many were seeing it for the first time ! [though the syllabus has given same weight to the free and M$ OS]. I showed them how to choose linux from lilo and then to login with the login name ‘guest’
Then the start menu and showed them gedit, calculator …. and they wanted to learn gimp more and then we had a nice time with gimp. I showed them how to add text, how to change the foreground color, how to use the tools and how to created layer and copy paste from another image ……
Note:See Swaroop’s 7th standard sister’s drawing using gimp
Grokking the Gimp — a complete book to learn The GIMP

Now I’ve to go and check how Shyam managed with FreeSBIE

Leave a Comment