What follows is a tutorial aimed specifically at the ordinary desktop user interested in getting started with FreeBSD. Ed provides an easy to understand guide through FreeBSD’s Sysinstall installer in part one of this series. Read the full story at OfB.biz.
Desktop FreeBSD Part 1: Installation
Submitted by Timothy R. Butler 2003-12-03 FreeBSD 26 Comments
Thanks for the link. The author writes:
10. Linux compatibility — Select Yes here because too often the most recent version of something you want to use won’t be available in native FreeBSD format. That is, unless you are constantly upgrading and updating your system. With a dialup connection, this can be a big hassle. This is especially the case if you like Mozilla. Every release has had some major improvement so far, and I usually have needed/wanted that additional function. I haven’t found where anybody is providing these larger applications for FreeBSD with any sort of backward compatibility.
Can someone explain to me, what he complains about?
Is he asking for native binary packages?
How about making a similar one for people with other connections than dialup. Personally I’d love to try out freebsd, but haven’t found any good guides(like this). Is setting up a network connection with dhcp any hassle?
Many developers only write applications for Linux and not for BSD.In order for most linux programs to run under BSD without any modification just say yes to that question so you will be allowed to run most Linux apps such as star office…on the other hand the BSD /proc fs is different form the /proc fs on your Linux box. also things like i386 specific calls ( enable virtual mode)is a Linux feature.
haha, the part about the lock up using the GUI config setup made me smile. Everytime i have tried ot install freebsd I have had it locked up on me. I honestly find the freebsd install to be easy, but then i get killed everytime on this one.
I have to say it may take a few tries to get through the installer. I looked at it as a video game, if you mess up just try again and you will just get farther each time. I find it easier then the linux installers I have used. Once you get used to it you can fly right through it.
FreeBSD is easy to install. Well, perhaps not as easy as Fedora. And the handbook is just excellent!
@Knut Andre Ødegård
Setting up a connection with DHCP is no problem. Just select DHCP from the installer.
This is why you have the linproc filesystem as a module. Just edit fstab and mount linproc. Now you have the linux procfs available for your linux apps.
The FreeBSD Handbook is excellent (and unparallelled in the linux documentation world) – read the first few chapters, and see it for yourself. If you have some experience with linux, than installing FreeBSD (with the help of the handbook) should not be a problem, especially if you used Slackware, Debian, or Gentoo.
What exactly are you trying to say? Mozilla is available natively for FreeBSD, its source will compile on all of the BSD’s and binary packages are also released regularly. If you need a package and it’s not there, just build it from ports. Go to /usr/ports (if you installed the collection) and find the right subdir for your app. Type ‘make package’ and you’ll have a binary package for installation.
I’m not an expert at but I was wondering, in Stallman-terms, how free is FreeBSD? (question just out interest, not meaning to start a pro-contra RMS thread)
12. Setting up the X server — DO NOT USE THE GRAPHICAL TOOL!
my sugestion here is not use “anytool at all” for setting up X from the sysinstall. Since you can comprimisse your installation effort at all. A badly setup X can crash the machine on test fase. And your time will be in vain. This, can work like a trap and its quite common how newbies re-install 3 or more times FReebsd from the beginning because of this behaviour. And many stop @ the first or second try and put freebsd aside in favor of others “easier” nixes.
the procedure i would suggest,
dont setup X eithter in GUI or textmode, choose a desktop on the menu and finish configure the other options while there, network, users, extra packages, etc.
after the final reboot, just logon as root and setup X server using xf86cfg tool. That will “guess” almost always a good configuration for you and save it in the proper location. Unlesss you have an old puter then, you should go by –textmode, but if anything wrongly happens this time now you can reboot at will since theres no problem to mess the instalation.
Much MORE free than anything GNU. It is released under a traditional “academic” license – you can do anything with the project, even extend it and close the source (though the community is somewhat self-policing and frowns on this). The strict interpretation is that the only thing you must do is not delete the copyright information.
I’ll hold back my RMS thread on your request. Just will say that BSD is “free” in the human sense of the word, not in a tortured legalistic meaning.
free == free
bsd == berkeley software distribution
free == freedom
software == software
freebsd <> freesoftware
at most freebsd is opensource and opensource <> freesoftware either, or to tell the true
freesoftware is opensource
opensouce is not freesoftware
I agree, this is a great article, with articles like this combined with the handbook I think newcomers have a wealth of information to get them started.
And many stop @ the first or second try and put freebsd aside in favor of others “easier” nixes.
I have seen that as well, I wouldn’t say any flavor of nixes are easier or harder, just different
I know this guy personally. He can’t build any large programs from ports because it would take him an eternity to download the source on his 28.8 modem connection (lives in the middle of nowhere, so thats about the best connection speed he can get, and lacks the ability to venture anywhere where he might get a better/faster connection).
If you would like to send him the precompiled binary (or the latest cvsup of the ports collection and all the source tarballs he needs to build the port) on CD, feel free to email him and offer your assistance. That’s what I did.
FreeBSD is “free” in every sense of the word: you can use it free, the source code is free, and you are free to modify it, sell it, use it in a commercial product, etc., without the restrictions imposed by other licenses. The only requirement is that you retain the FreeBSD copyright notice to give credit where it is due.
Read the license yourself at
it is derived from the original BSD license:
and parts of FreeBSD are still distributed under that license (as are parts of many other operating systems, some of which do not comply with the copyright notice requirement).
I thought the article was way to general.
Also, it is worth mentioning that:
1) if you want to be able to “su” to root, the user must be in the “wheel” group.
2) it is better to install via FTP if you have broadband.
3) it is best to do a minimal install and add what you need later such as ports, x11, etc.
i’ve spent countless hours working with it, trying to educate myself in the ways of freebsd.
a couple of weeks ago, i tried to setup a PDC samba server using the stock 2.8 that comes with freebsd 4.9.
what takes me 5 minutes in redhat, took me hours in freebsd (partly my fault i admit, party because it’s just not as straight forward)…only to realize that the user-cannot-change-their-password-from-their-workstation bug is never going to be fixed and no documented work around…
i gave up and went with Debian. i had my running Primary Domain Controller humming along with zero problem.
users ctl-alt-delete from their xp workstations and can change passwords just fine.
p.s. i went debian because redhat is no longer a suitable server (i.e. it’s too much money for an office of 7 people)
I’ll only disagree with not using Sysmouse. Sysmouse makes things a lot easier with X, especially if you’re using a laptop. On my IBM, the console mouse driver is happy with multiple mice, so the Trackpoint gets recognized as a PS2 mouse (with 3 buttons working properly!), and the USB external mouse happily works as well if you plug in it. I don’t have to fuss with my X config for docked/undocked, sysmouse takes care of it. My mouse entry is:
Option “Device” “/dev/sysmouse”
Option “SendCoreEvents” “true”
Option “Protocol” “Auto”
Option “ZAxisMapping” “4 5”
Option “Buttons” “5”
and you’ll have to add “moused_enable=YES” in rc.conf (or configure sysmouse with /stand/sysinstall).
Why did you not use gnosamba?
Awhile back I installed it and got it up and working easily with gnosamba?
BTW there is no real dif between fbsd and linux when it comes to samba, if there is some tool you like for configuring it, there is a damn nice chance that it will work equally well under fbsd from either source or binary.
What are the key advantages of FreeBSD (or any other BSD) over Linux? (in the perspective of a nearly end-user)
1: Better docs.
2: Easier to configure.
3: Nice package management.
4: Better performances.
5: Very easy and very good firewall and traffic shaper.
You have heard of pkg_add, haven’t you? pkg_add will allow you to install precompiled binaries from remote servers/local file systems, run ‘man pkg_add’ for more info.
user-cannot-change-their-password-from-their-workstation bug is never going to be fixed and no documented work around…
what you mean?! just type “passwd”, type your old password and type new password twice (to make sure there is no typos). That’s it! There is no such BUG! I have never encountered such behaviour on any version of FreeBSD I have tried; 3.1, 3.5, 4.1, 4.5, 4.7, 4.8 and 5.1.
And setting up the same software is not different among *nix. They use same source. What is your problem?
P.S.[RE: m03] I am a 56k dial-up modem user. My current system is totally built from source downloaded from Internet (including OOo and X sources). I did cvsup, make world and portupgrade several times since installing 5.1. I guess the author have no patient
You didn’t read what he wrote. Anonymous wants the domain users to be able to change their passwords from their Windows XP machines.
I like the exclamation points, though! Makes you seem angry!
Hehe, that can be done too, it is called putty.
Yea Freebsd ??
I may be dumb but upon installation (AMD Athlon with Via KM133 chipset), the x windows mouse driver would not work in any way (many) i tried and the kdm/xdm/gdm login manager would not work (would crash the x server, restart it and display the login dialog box again.
If those people are going to move operating systems, they should at least get thier drivers working…