BSDCan2010 - Final Release

BSDCan 2010
The Technical BSD Conference

Kris Moore
Day Talks - 1 - 2010-05-13
Room DMS 1140
Start time 11:00
Duration 01:00
ID 173
Event type Lecture
Track System Administration
Language used for presentation English


A new system installer backend for PC-BSD & FreeBSD

This talk will cover many of the ways in which the new system installation backend for PC-BSD 8.0 fixes many common issues, and adds a host of new features, such as choosing between PC-BSD or FreeBSD installations, support for ZFS, gmirror, geli and more. We will also discuss some of the design choices made for the new backend, along with details on usage when installing with some of the new features.

Since its very first beta many years ago, PC-BSD has been using a custom-built installer routine, which consisted of a graphical user interface, tied into some scripts which performed the actual installation process of the system. While the process worked reasonably well, it lacked many important features which would become desired and critical down the road. Features such as automated installation, an independent installer backend with interchangeable front-ends, support for advanced custom partitioning, and full error logging. In addition to these features, many times the idea had been brought up about enabling the new installer to also support traditional FreeBSD installations. This could be used as a way for users to bypass regular “sysinstall” and install using some new features such as ZFS, Encryption, and Mirroring.

Over the course of 2009 this new installer (pc-sysinstall) has been in development and is now in production in the latest version of PC-BSD, 8.0. This talk will cover some of the new features and direct usage of the backend, including support for advanced partitioning, choosing between installing FreeBSD or PC-BSD, ZFS root support, disk encryption and more.