Installing FreeBSD 4 onto this laptop wasn’t very hard, though there were a few surprises.

Firstly, FreeBSD 4.11 is completely without support, and is not even available at FreeBSD mirrors. To install FreeBSD 4 one has to use the FreeBSD Archive at ftp://ftp-archive.freebsd.org. I had thought that every release would continue to be available at its original location, but apparently not.

Secondly, the operating system does not support CardBus – and says so as soon as a CardBus card is installed. This means that my Zonet ZEW1502 wireless card is unsupported in FreeBSD 4.

Thirdly, the Linksys USB wireless 802.11b/g adapter (with Wifi finder!) is also unsupported – but this is not immediately apparent. Upon installation of the Linksys device (based on a ZyDAS chipset) the system reports a ZyDAS USB Wireless device is installed as device ugen0. Trying to configure ugen0 results in failure, and ifconfig -a doesn’t report ugen0 as being present. It must be supported as the system reported it by name – right?

However, it turns out that the ugen0 device is a generic USB driver which is not good for hardly anything, and that the name report comes from the device itself. Thus, the actual report is that the Linksys device is unsupported.

Then, to top it all off – it is not considered possible (or wise) to upgrade from FreeBSD 4 to FreeBSD 5 – not even from FreeBSD 4.11 to 5.0. Apparently, among other drastic things, even the filesystem changes. So it looks like it’ll be time for another reinstall. I have yet to burn the FreeBSD 5.5 “boot only” ISO to CDROM. Once that is done, I’ll be putting FreeBSD 5 on the laptop – and using it for a desktop.

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