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captain_steven
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Joined: 28 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:24 am    Post subject: Gentoo-FreeBSD question Reply with quote

Hi all, I'm thinking of running Gentoo-FreeBSD but before I do that, I need to ask a question related to, using ZFS as the root filesystem, MBR partition tables, and the boot loader. For the purposes of the following question, please note that my laptop can only boot from a hard drive with an MBR partition table.

When I used vanilla FreeBSD, I was told that updating the FreeBSD boot loader on an MBR drive was tricky. The reason given to me was that you have to install the update using dd, which could wreck partitions sometimes. As a consequence I was advised not to use ZFS is the root filesystem, because you have to update the boot loader whenever ZFS is updated (with new feature flags).

If I installed Gentoo-FreeBSD, and used GRUB instead of FreeBSD's normal boot loader, would I have the same problem; can GRUB update itself without having to use dd? I really want to be able to use ZFS for my root filesystem.

Cheers,
Steven
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NeddySeagoon
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Joined: 05 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

captain_steven,

Welcome to Gentoo.

Yes, bath grub- legacy and grub2 can update themselves without the use of dd.

dd is not really tricky. You need to take care to use bs=446 count=1, so you leave the MSDOS partition table alone, which starts at byte 447.
In case of accidents, you can keep a backup of sector 0 each time you modify the partition table.

You can still use GPT if you want to. You will get a free MSDOS partition table too. The boot loader will still go in sector 0.
The tricky bit is to keep your BIOS happy, you may need to set the bootable flag on the MSDOS partition.
As you say, your BIOS can't see GPT, nor any bootable flags set there.
_________________
Regards,

NeddySeagoon

Computer users fall into two groups:-
those that do backups
those that have never had a hard drive fail.
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