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NetBSD for the FreeBSD User
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Since I'm a self-described expert, I did a custom disk partition. I wound up taking the defaults for everything, but that's not the point. sysinst asks for a name for the disk and then asks, "Last chance, are you sure?"

I was sure. And sysinst blew up:

With 16065 sectors per cylinder, minimum cylinders per group is 64
This requires the block size to be changed from 8192 to 32768
        and the fragment size to be changed from 1024 to 4096

Moments later, I found myself summarily dumped back to the sysinst main menu.

I went back to the install menu, this time watching for an option to change block size and fragment size. Just before the "last chance" warning, there's an option to change partition characteristics. Setting block and fragment sizes are a simple matter of choosing the right option. The text menus are obvious to anyone who's done a FreeBSD install.

newfs ran. Some warnings appeared, but vanished too quickly to read. I hope they weren't vital.

Another install menu appeared, giving me the choice of what to install. Much like FreeBSD, NetBSD gives you the option to install (or not) huge chunks of the system. I picked "custom" to see what NetBSD offers and wound up taking everything anyway.

The FTP menu was nice and simple, and the defaults were all sensible. I felt a moment of trepidation as the installer's first attempt to download the files failed. The server was just busy, however. The second try ran just as I expected.

The install ran automatically from that point on, fetching and installing system files. Once it finished, a quick reboot brought my new NetBSD system up in single-user mode.

Overall, the install ran fairly smoothly. A backarrow would have been nice -- it would have been easier to simply back up a step to correct my block and fragment sizes, rather than run through the entire partitioning process again. But that's a minor quibble.

Total time from downloading floppies to completed install, ninety minutes. Without a T1 or cable modem your time might vary, but that's still not bad for a new OS.

Michael W. Lucas

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