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Revision 53 as of 2007-12-06 16:29:21
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Comment: Use new DebianPorts/Mirrors
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A. The latest GNU/kFreeBSD install CD is based on the 6.2 kernel,
see [http://lists.debian.org/debian-bsd/2007/03/msg00020.html for details]. However, there are kernel packages for 5.4 and 7.0 (early development version) available, too.
A. The latest GNU/kFreeBSD install CD is based on the 6.3 kernel,
see [http://lists.debian.org/debian-bsd/2008/02/msg00018.html for details]. However, there are kernel packages based on 7.0 (release candidate version) available, too.
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A. http://unstable.buildd.net/index-kfreebsd-i386.html and http://experimental.ftbfs.de/. A. http://unstable.buildd.net/index-kfreebsd-i386.html and http://buildd.debian-ports.org/.
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A. http://unstable.buildd.net/index-kfreebsd-amd64.html and http://experimental.ftbfs.de/. A. http://unstable.buildd.net/index-kfreebsd-amd64.html and http://buildd.debian-ports.org/.

Basic questions

Q. What does the 'k' in "kFreeBSD" stand for?

A. It's an abbreviation. It stands for "kernel of". Hence "kFreeBSD" means "kernel of FreeBSD", and "GNU/kFreeBSD" means "GNU with kernel of FreeBSD".

Q. What is the point of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD?

A. This answer has its own wiki page, see ["Debian GNU/kFreeBSD why"].

Q. What version of kFreeBSD is supported?

A. The latest GNU/kFreeBSD install CD is based on the 6.3 kernel, see [http://lists.debian.org/debian-bsd/2008/02/msg00018.html for details]. However, there are kernel packages based on 7.0 (release candidate version) available, too.

Q. Which Debian releases are available?

A. Only the unstable release is regularly available. But as unstable is sometimes really unstable, we also provide an etch-based snapshot of the GNU/kFreeBSD archive. Just use the install CD from [http://glibc-bsd.alioth.debian.org/install-cd/kfreebsd-i386/20070313/ March 2007] and put the following lines into your /etc/apt/sources.list

deb http://ftp.debian-ports.org/debian-snapshot/etch unstable main
deb http://ftp.debian-ports.org/debian-snapshot/etch unreleased main
deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian dists/etch/main/binary-i386/

Note: As of [http://lists.debian.org/debian-bsd/2007/07/msg00033.html July 2007], the following is sufficient for unstable, as Architecture: all packages are now directly available:

deb http://ftp.debian-ports.org/debian unstable main
deb http://ftp.debian-ports.org/debian unreleased main

Q. Which mirrors offer Debian GNU/kFreeBSD?

A. See ["DebianPorts/Mirrors"].

Q. Can I run Debian GNU/kFreeBSD in a chroot under FreeBSD?

A. Yes, but it won't work perfectly unless you apply some kernel patches. You can get them from the Debian kfreebsd-6 source package, but it is up to you to find out and decide which ones you need. We recommend to use a Debian kernel for running Debian GNU/kFreeBSD userland. In case something fails, you're on your own.

Q. Can I share a swap partition between GNU/Linux and GNU/kFreeBSD?

A. Yes, but it's not recommended. See http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Linux+FreeBSD-3.html for details on how to proceed. Also note that Linux tends to save suspend-to-disk data to the swap partition, which makes sharing swap less attractive.

Q. Can I share partitions between GNU/Linux and GNU/kFreeBSD?

A. Yes, but you must use ext2fs. When creating the filesystem, pass "-O none" to mke2fs for best results. As for other file systems:

Q. What's the status of amd64 support?

A. It is only slightly behind the i386 one. You're welcome to try it out, and help is appreciated in debugging and cleaning it up. Also, if you want to donate hardware for that purpose please let us know.

Q. Is there any way to upgrade to Debian-*bsd an existing, running FreeBSD installation (whether it makes sense or not)

A. I am unsure about this. You can prepare a filesystem on a different partition/slice and use chroot to install the basic files. Look inside the latest ISO at http://glibc-bsd.alioth.debian.org/install-cd/, there is base/base.tgz inside install.iso. Unpack it into the created chroot. But at least multi-threaded programs will not work under pristine FreeBSD kernel.

Q. Can *.deb packages co-exist with classical BSD ports?

A. It is not good idea. Please use a chroot for things like this.

Q. Are the *.deb packages for *bsd handled the same old way they did on Linux, or do they simply use the /usr/local filesystem?

A. In the same way as on any other Debian system -- the usual prefix is /usr.

Q. What about some specs I once read about leaving the use of /usr/local to the system administrator? (Maybe these are concerning only to Linux...)

A. There are (almost) no files from any *.deb in /usr/local/. It is really left for local system administrator.

Using Debian GNU/kFreeBSD

Q. How do I configure/enable sound?

A. You have to load the proper kernel sound driver(s) using the kldload command. This works for me (SiS AC'97 sound controller):

kldload snd_csa
kldload snd_driver

Q. Wireless?

A. Yes, but we don't have the tools to scan for networks yet. If you know the ssid beforehand, the following stanza in /etc/network/interfaces should work:

auto ${if}
iface ${if} inet dhcp
     pre-up ifconfig ${if} ssid ${my_ssid}

Q. How can I burn CD-ROMs?

A. Nothing special here, just use wodim:

apt-get install wodim
wodim foo.iso

Q. apt-get complains that it can't verify binaries. I installed gnupg but the errors persist.

A. You probably don't have the debian-ports archive key imported. Try:

gpg --keyserver subkeys.pgp.net --recv E4C6047 && gpg --export E4C6047 | sudo apt-key add -

Q. I just installed Debian GNU/kFreeBSD. Is there anything I can do to help making it more popular?

A. Yes! You can install/enable popularity-contest (see http://popcon.debian.org/) to increase our user count. Also you can register yourself as Debian GNU/kFreeBSD user in http://buildd.net/cgi/archvote.phtml. You might also want to tell us how did you hear about Debian GNU/kFreeBSD [http://snappoll.com/poll/83221.php in this poll]. And of course, you can tell all your friends about it. =)

Finally, you can install the "[http://www.mirbsd.org/cvs.cgi/src/share/misc/bsdstats?rev=HEAD;content-type=text%2Fplain bsdstats]" script to record your Debian GNU/kFreeBSD installation at [http://bsdstats.org bsdstats.org]. You need to install the following packages for the script to work:

apt-get install netcat mksh sharutils openssl bind9-host

Then, you can simply run the script manually via "mksh bsdstats", and/or via a cron-job (weekly, for example).

Development questions

Q. Where can I check buildd logs for a particular package on kfreebsd-i386?

A. http://unstable.buildd.net/index-kfreebsd-i386.html and http://buildd.debian-ports.org/.

Q. Where can I check buildd logs for a particular package on kfreebsd-amd64?

A. http://unstable.buildd.net/index-kfreebsd-amd64.html and http://buildd.debian-ports.org/.

Q. I'm a Debian maintainer. Is there any machine running GNU/kFreeBSD I can have access to?

A. Yes, see http://io.debian.net/ and http://asdfasdf.debian.net/.

Q. How do packages move out of unreleased?

  • Either a newer version appears in unstable, then the old one gets obsoleted;

  • Or a list can be sent to ftpmaster@debian-ports.org, so that they run the appropriate command on them.