Installing operating systems

On the weekend, I completed an installation of 10 operating systems in under an hour, all by hand. All of them were Unix, all of them using media I had downloaded and burnt to CD.

The operating system of choice? FreeBSD. In less time than it takes me to do 1 install of OpenSolaris, I did 10 of another open source platform. Granted the other install didn't include java and GNOME and StarOffice \*but\* what it did include was the X-Windows utilities (xterm, etc), the base FreeBSD operating system AND the kernel source code.

Each installation used less than 2GB of disk, delivered me a working envionment for software development (compiler - gcc, editors - vi, debugger - gdb) that needed less than 64MB of RAM to run in a remote fashion where I could launch Xterms back at my main console.

That is what you call a low barrier to entry for someone who wants to install and play around with an operating system.

Comments:

This is one thing I really like about FreeBSD; installing is a case of partitioning the disk, copying everything across, and rebooting. For a bare-minimum system (which I usually start with) this takes a matter of minutes, compared to 30+ for everything else I've ever tried.

Posted by bma on April 30, 2007 at 11:55 AM PDT #

I hope Ian Murdock gets to read this blog post. It might help to speed up packaging improvements to Solaris and OpenSolaris. Only then will the millions of downloads turn into millions of service subscriptions. Good luck! And congratulations on being so plainly honest on a public blog.

Posted by Kevin on April 30, 2007 at 12:45 PM PDT #

The ZFS support on boot might be helpful here, with compression support (let,s say with gzip) you can fit the whole installation inside the CD/DVD, and just clone it. Then a script for the first boot for hardware detection and system configuring, and that's all.

Posted by Alberto Ruiz on May 01, 2007 at 05:34 AM PDT #

I just love how the OS has grown to a massive amount of CDs now... Does even bloated M$ products require so many CDs? I still love Solaris - but 5 CDs for install is insane.

Posted by JD Bronson on May 12, 2007 at 09:40 AM PDT #

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