FreeBSD on workplace ASUS and private Acer Aspire laptops

I'm trying to get rid of Ubuntu and the systemd world, and have started with my workplace ASUS laptop. Since some weeks, every now and then it did not correctly set the videomode anymore, and reported about some "unity issues" which seem to have started with an update. This finally gave me the excuse to erase the whole thing and install FreeBSD.

I started with an old CD-ROM with FreeBSD 8.2, and then climbed through the updates (8.4, 9.2, 10.4, 11.2 currently), which went rather smooth, each step only taking about twenty minutes using e.g freebsd-update -r 8.4-RELEASE upgrade etc and following the prompts.

However, I ran into an issue when moving from 10.4 to 11.2 because apparently the disk numbering scheme had changed between the two, and so in /etc/fstab was still e.g /dev/ad4s1a but the disk now was named /dev/ada0s1a and therefore was no longer found at booting. As I'm still more used to the Linux way of device numbering, this was not immediately obvious to me, and so I needed some web searching to sort it out (and mounting the root device RW in the emergency shell and correcting the names, of course). Then it worked well.

I haven't yet installed X, because most of the time anyway I worked in a terminal window on Ubuntu. That will be another time.

What I do need however is of course git, and so then next thing was pkg install git but this posed another small problem: I was puzzled by a "user 'git_daemon' disappeared during update" error and a broken git install. Web searching brought me to a helpful explanation that this may be due to an out-of-sync state of the passwd database, and that vipw without changing anything but saving might work. Indeed, but I wouldn't have solved that one on my own, I suppose! ^-^

Now at home, I have also updated my old Acer Aspire (1.6 GHz Intel Atom with 100 GB HDD) from 11.1 to 11.2, and I'm really really pleased by the easiness and stability of the upgrades. I never had Ubuntu on this machine, only the preinstalled "Linpus Linux" (which was totally obsolete and never updated).

In view of this old hardware, updating is blazingly fast compared to anything else I know, like Ubuntu or — horrors — Win7 (at workplace) or even Win10 (on my wife's Lenovo laptop with SSD). It's amazing what miserable experience people even pay for! I do wish I was better at systems programming, so that I could contribute to FreeBSD (or any other BSD; I simply had best experience on my laptops so far with FreeBSD, but OpenBSD on or NetBSD on are of course nice as well).