FreeBSD 6.3 RC-2 on a Compaq Armada E500
18 January 2008 2 Comments
FreeBSD 6.2 has been on this machine for a while, but then I tried to upgrade all of the applications using the ports tree. This almost worked, except upgrading to Xorg turned out to be a massive headache and nothing worked.
It was then that FreeBSD 6.3 RC-2 was announced. I thought, why not? So off I went.
It installed well – if you don’t count my not providing enough room for /usr/local. With my “full-featured” (ha!) list of software, I wound up needing more than the original 2 Gb I originally alloted for /usr/local; with 4 Gb it worked. I also had to change the boot options, as it was still set to use 6.3-RC1 instead of 6.3-RC2. Changing the name in the options screen worked just fine.
Then after loading, I had to load the proper kernel – it couldn’t find the kernel. I selected /boot/GENERIC/kernel and all was well. At the boot loader prompt:
I had to configure Xorg. This was another headache. There was an excellent article from Julien Valroff about instaling Debian GNU/Linux on this machine. Despite the difference in operating systems, the fundamentals were similar. Another fantastic resource was this old page by Frank Steiner. Despite the age, the descriptions are relevant and useful (though, again, it is about Linux). There is a page on the Gentoo Wiki that describes the machine as well, though the other pages are more descriptive.
The screen display descriptions turned out to be the easiest; the problem was the mouse. Some descriptions suggest that the synaptics driver should work. However, this never did work for me. Using the standard PS/2 mouse driver and protocol worked just fine.
I also had to up the maximum files available, though for what reason I forget. Add this line to /etc/sysctl.conf to fix this problem:
Sound was another matter. It took a bit to figure out. First off, all the Linux directions suggested using lspci to see if it was there; this is Linux-specific. The FreeBSD counterpart is pciconf. Running pciconf -lv presents this:
pcm0@pci0:8:0: class=0x040100 card=0xb1120e11 chip=0x1978125d rev=0x10 hdr=0x00
vendor = 'ESS Technology'
device = 'ES1978 Maestro-2E Audiodrive, ES1970 Canyon3D'
class = multimedia
subclass = audio
Thus, I knew that the sound was recognized. I just had to figure out how to get things to work with it. This means kernel support, da?
First attempts to load a driver turned up short; nothing is found in /boot/modules (!). The search path had to be changed to /boot/GENERIC:
kldconfig -i /boot/GENERIC
After this, load the snd_maestro driver:
After this, sound will work! Amarok is great…… and sound on this machine is excellent too!
Seeing as a I was trying to load KDE on here, the next step (once Xorg is working) is to add a startkde command to the .xinitrc file (in one’s home directory).
To make the system boot properly (and so you don’t have to load kernel modules manually all the time), the /boot/loader.conf file had to be created with this:
# Directory (in /boot) containing kernel and modules
# Load maestro driver
This then worked well.
I’m enjoying this machine again – though I am attempting to make it more of a usable desktop, which means more memory and all of the niggling setup work – like bootup splash screens, configuring kdm, and more – but hey, we’re system admins here, right?