Home > FreeBSD > FreeBSD Install Guide FreeBSD Install Guide Eugenia Loli 2004-07-16 FreeBSD 37 Comments This is a step-by-step guide to installing FreeBSD 5. It assumes moderate experience with linux and leaves you with a fully updated FreeBSD system. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 37 Comments 2004-07-16 10:30 am Anonymous 1. Download the boot floppy. 2. Boot 3. Follow on screen instructions 4. Read and follow http://www.openbsd.org/stable.html Done 2004-07-16 10:44 am Anonymous Why is it that every time I have ever read a bsd install manual, they add the word “simple” wherever they can? Uh , because it is anything but!! Now , as a current Linux user, with more than 4 years into it, I have to chuckle at this article. It reminds me of the time I installed freebsd 5, just to check it out. I couldn’t make much sense of most of it, and the “simple ” instruction’s I had from their website were anything but. The help I got was even worse, and left me feeling quite stupid. Just me , I guess… although I can seem to install and run every linux I have ever tried, in dual, triple, or more boot situations. Having said all that, I have the greatest respect for the power of bsd’s all. I used mac’s and fink ports for a year( still miss my G5) and no that properly set up and configured, it’s very hard to beat. If they ever get that installer “fixed” , ie: gui and non-gui installer, then I’d definately switch to the bsd’s. It has helped, and still helps , that my freind intro’d me to linux, and continues to do so. If only I had that same help with Bsd!!! 2004-07-16 11:11 am Anonymous X Server configuration is sooooo last millennium that I kicked it off straight away again. No Mouse, you have to move it with cursors during X Server config, make educated guesses which of the offered hardware is closest to the one you own, etc… Maybe, on a free weekend or something, the devs should lure a bit at FreeSBIE hardware detection which is like Knoppix. The day FreeBSIE offers HD install support, I will go with it. FreeBSD, get a grip meantime. Every user has the right not to be treated like in the early 60s anymore from a harware detection point of view and rightly so. 2004-07-16 11:41 am Anonymous 2 quick questions: 1)Did you try to install smth. like slackware or debian before? 2)Did you read the parts of handbook about installation on freebsd.org? Now for the bragging: As for simple setups – I personaly assume freebsd installer to be ages ahead (and the netbsd even further ahead, +my respect to slackware installer) of anything on rpm-based distoes, if we will regard simplicity. Why? Because it is unintrusive. Because I can place swap near the beggining of the disk, the way it should be (unlike brain-damaged anakonda does), cause I am able to avoid a heap of other annoyances. It does allow me to decide what and how do I install. Simple means for me “make my life more easy by not making me fix truckloads of shit after it”. Simple != dumb. Why bother wishing for windows-like teletubby interface installer which will do everything for you, if you will get a plain shell prompt + vi editor and text-based configuration files in the end, as there are no graphical control panels on fbsd. Because that is what *nix all about. And *bsds are (agruably) most orthodox unix-way systems available. If you do not want to mess with console interface and READ documentation – that’s your decision. I do respect it. There are other nice things to spend you time on . But then – get a “user-friendly” distro of linux, or (even better) go for OS X. P.S. I’m not trying to start linux vs. bsd flamewar here. I do run bsds, linux and windows on the daily basis, and each system usually does what I expect from it. Just do not expect systems to be something they were not supposed to be. 2004-07-16 11:52 am Anonymous I find this hard to believe: I have used FreeBSD from 2 something to 5, my mouse has always been configured during install, before X configuration, and there’ve always been graphical tools to do said configuration (XF86Setup, Xconf). I confess having had some problems with the latter. 2004-07-16 1:27 pm Anonymous one-click install with an animated gui – imagine that. an installer so magic that it installs and configures your system just as you thought it with only one click. (the next version will include BackStep(tm) technology which adaptively updates the install process if you change your mind halfway though the 2-minute install). and all with one click. an dyou can play games while you install too! its great – it works even with headless servers over the serial console! coming to a unix-like system near you. soon. 2004-07-16 1:28 pm Anonymous FreeBSD, get a grip meantime. Every user has the right not to be treated like in the early 60s anymore from a harware detection point of view and rightly so. FreeBSD: The Power To Serve Keep that in mind. The OS is meant in more of a server environment and less of a desktop environment. The developers said that they don’t really focus in on the desktop in an interview either here or on slashdot. You can run a proper desktop system with it with some time and patience. I have it running on my laptop, although the sound is bunk right now. Following the handbook, I was able to get a working system fairly quickly, and that’s coming from a windows world with little experience using any sort of UNIX or variant. As far as rights, sure, every user has that right. But the right isn’t for the FreeBSD development team to cater to your right, rather for you to have the right not to use FreeBSD. But in all reality, it really isn’t all that hard to use, or install. 2004-07-16 3:35 pm Anonymous Our installer preferences have a great deal to do with what we’re accustomed to. I am much more familiar with FreeBSD than with Linux, so the FreeBSD installation feels like the easiest thing in the world to me. OTOH, I feel like I have to do two installations with GUI-oriented Linux distros like Mandrake – the GUI install, then the post-install text-file configuration to change everything the GUI install failed to pick up (e.g., modem and printer config). With FreeBSD, I just do the initial text file configuration and that’s it. For those of you who’ve tried various Linux distros, Slackware’s installer is the one I would say is most similar to FreeBSD’s. With regard to the article, I’d point out that it of course reflects the author’s preferences regarding things like how many slices (partitions in Linux/Windows) to have. Greg Lehey, in his 4th edition of The Complete FreeBSD, recommends two (/ and /home) plus swap. I personally use three or four (/, /var, /usr and maybe /home) plus swap. I like to use the installer to add the cvsup package, rather than adding it from the installed base system as the author does. Installing it from the CD (if that’s what you’re using) is near-instant, and the package hasn’t changed in ages so there’s little danger of missing an update. Also, whereas the author advises installing a minimal distribution set, then using cvsup to download all the source files, it may be quicker to install a more complete distribution set containing the source files, then use cvsup to download only the changes to source since the CD was made. Finally, I should mention that although the author recommends using FreeBSD-5.x, those who run this version are expected to know what they’re doing and how to help themselves if they run into problems. Help from other users is (generally) more readily available for problems with FreeBSD-4.x. 2004-07-16 4:13 pm Anonymous First a comment about the general article. It’s pointless. The whole how-to is in handbook (http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/index.htm…) which, btw, is an excellent resource for any freebsd admin. To edcrumly: If you’ve been using linux for 4 years, and can’t handle freebsd with ease, what the hell have you been doing? Installing redhat over and over again? Have you tried gentoo with the non-binary options? The truth is, maybe you should try again. It IS simple, really. 2004-07-16 5:11 pm Anonymous and I’ve installed Debian from boot-floppies… Whatever about using *BSD for server usage, you know it won’t be a smooth ride when you need a Linux emulator to get it usable. 2004-07-16 5:34 pm Anonymous Please keep in mind that the article includes downloading the system sources from Sup to keep the system up-to-date, and compiling a custom kernel. You can just as well use G as your last step, add the PCM device to some file in /boot (don’t know which one) and you are also ready. If you do that, the install really isn’t more difficult than that of Debian. 2004-07-16 5:53 pm Anonymous hehe, stupid… BTW you are aware that is the defualt xconfig right there? Why not use XFree86 -configure, or xf86cfg? Or just recycle one… 2004-07-16 5:54 pm Anonymous Whatever about using *BSD for server usage, you know it won’t be a smooth ride when you need a Linux emulator to get it usable. Seeing as I’m not using one linux binary, so in turn I’m not using the emulator, I guess I must be dreaming that my system is running. You do know what the Linux emulator on FreeBSD does right? Really though, no need for a linux/bsd fight like most of these topics turn into. The fact is, freebsd is pretty easy to get running. Some of the hardware issues are tough, but that’s because the core focus of the system is a server, not a desktop system. That doesn’t mean you can’t run it as a workstation, however the ‘bleading’ edge in software for better or worse isn’t available immediately, and it takes a bit of time to getting setup to your likings/needs. 2004-07-16 5:56 pm Anonymous Check out xf86cfg -textmode Also if you care to try it out, there newer ones can autoconfig your setting for you, just supply a base one and it is good to go. 2004-07-16 6:01 pm Anonymous Lol, dude, try it out on the desktop some time, it performs rather bloody well in that role. The only difference between desktop and server unix is how optimize assorted variable 2004-07-16 6:09 pm Anonymous NetBSD has a neat utility called “adjustkernel” that automatically optimizes kernel config file for the hardware that is detected in dmesg. Is there an equivalent to adjustkernel in FreeBSD? 2004-07-16 6:11 pm Anonymous “…that’s because the core focus of the system is a server, not a desktop system.” Isn’t this sort of a thing of the past, considering how many packages are available in the ports tree and how many different DEs there are for it? It’s not a user friendly as some linux distros, but as a desktop environment it doesn’t seem much different than something like Slackware. 2004-07-16 6:25 pm Anonymous You probably didn’t read my post above, I’m using it on the desktop fine, on a laptop no less. You just have to do a bit of extra digging and tweaking to get the video/sound working correctly. 2004-07-16 6:44 pm Anonymous Isn’t this sort of a thing of the past, considering how many packages are available in the ports tree and how many different DEs there are for it? It’s not a user friendly as some linux distros, but as a desktop environment it doesn’t seem much different than something like Slackware. As far as the developers are concerned, devloping freebsd as a desktop OS isn’t their main goal, regardless of what is added into the ports tree. That’s just what I remember reading myself. But you’re right, it is a thing of the past given the ports tree. 2004-07-16 9:29 pm Anonymous “FreeBSD? Yep, tried that second… complete failure. Mouse? what mouse? Sure, I was using a USB mouse (I know, stupid, but both Slack and Debian had no troubles with it), but even with a reboot and trying with a PS/2 mouse… it still failed. NetBSD was even worse!” I am not quite sure why you had so many problems with your mouse, but I have played with Debian and FreeBSD on several boxes, changing back and forth between the OSes, changing between USB and P2/2 devices having no problems and seeing no differences performance. Doing installs on either is easy and the availablility of FTP installs makes them go quick. Doing a base install on both and then using sysinstall or apt-get to install your apps make both a joy to use. 2004-07-16 11:18 pm Anonymous “Sigh* Why do BSD topics even get posted here when it is 100% guaranteed that trolls from “another” OS will come and start a certain pissing contest?” I’m not saying Linux is better, just that with so many corporations pushing it, it can’t help but be more common on the server. 2004-07-16 11:38 pm Anonymous “To edcrumly: If you’ve been using linux for 4 years, and can’t handle freebsd with ease, what the hell have you been doing? Installing redhat over and over again? Have you tried gentoo with the non-binary options? The truth is, maybe you should try again. It IS simple, really.” See what I mean? They automatically assume everyone that can’t get it didn’t read the manual, or is a dummy. Way to promote your choice in Os dude. Everyone is on the same level, has the same iq, and /or ability as you? If I don’t get it….. then please, rub my face in it. Thanks, I’ve tried gentoo, printed thier 30 + page manual, and failed at that one to. Here’s my point, why does everyone have to go through this crap to install it? If you think that a gui install means you are dumb, then you have been looking at it kinda backwards. If one person spends X number of hours struggling to configure x or y os on a set type of machine, the least he could do is SAVE it and share it with others. that way every person doesn’t have to stumble through it, over and over again…. wasting hours of thier life. I would much rather have it install to a fairly standard level of security, then read on how to make it run how I like it. I’d rather it be running and working with it, than struggling to something that 1000’s of folks have already done. And having an option to do it graphical, text, expert, or begginer show how smart the distro is. they cater to everyone, and therefore welcome everyone to thier numbers. Maybe I’m way off, but I thought I said I had alot of respect for the bsd family? Still do. hopefully there’s better representitives than you? And no, I don’t much care for redhat thanks. Mandrake offers me the option to do and expert install, text based, so I can tweak to my hearts desire. But still, I don’t think this would be for everybody either, It’s pretty tough!! lol 2004-07-17 12:15 am Anonymous Yo stupid, first read the bloody manual. That tends to help. BTW you are trying to troll. I got it first time and it was the first time I’ve ever used unix. 2004-07-17 12:15 am Anonymous “Thanks, I’ve tried gentoo, printed thier 30 + page manual, and failed at that one to. Here’s my point, why does everyone have to go through this crap to install it?” You most certainly do not…thats why there are things like Mandrake, Fedora, SuSe, Xandros..the thing I see sometimes is people failing to install something like FreeBSD or Gentoo…or even Slackware and then yelling about how it should be made easier…its how it is for a reason. Others like the control and know more about the OS and they created these in their own image so to speak. FreeBSD is not designed for joe user. Stay with an easy distro..there is no shame in it, but don’t yell about how difficult another install is. That said…making an easy to use…easy to install BSD would be an interesting project…but doubtless a failed one..Linux has this market. 2004-07-17 1:35 am Anonymous That said…making an easy to use…easy to install BSD would be an interesting project…but doubtless a failed one..Linux has this market. Which is the real problem, and the misunderstanding. The BSDs are built for specific technical reasons, not as a response to any other operating system. The ports aren’t added to response to Linux packages. Apps are ported over because people want to use them, bottom line. I don’t really think there are that many BSD zealots/trolls out there. You might have people who make it known their choice of OS, but I haven’t encountered too many BSD people ripping on Linux much. And for anyone who takes it personally when someone from the freeBSD userbase tells you to read the manual. They’re not saying it to make you feel dumb, or to rip you in any way. Some might, but most aren’t. It’s mostly because the handbook is that good. It’s some of the best documentation I’ve found for any software on the internet, even better than most booked manuals. And in the end, we’ll all be dead anyway, so who really cares about an OS? Eat, drink, and be merry. I’m getting a beer. 2004-07-17 6:06 am Anonymous …I haven’t encountered too many BSD people ripping on Linux much. With all due respect, it’s a semi-common occurrence in places like comp.unix.bsd.freebsd.misc (where I’ve seen even well-meaning comments that happen to mention Linux being treated with derision by some of the regulars). So … when will FreeBSD be able to install in an extended partition, guys? Hard to evaluate an OS if I don’t have a primary to spare…but I guess that particular DOS concept is too complex for those folks to deal with… 2004-07-17 8:31 am Anonymous > So … when will FreeBSD be able to install in an > extended partition, guys? Why is this necessary? You have slices witch is equal on all platforms (I think, please correct me if i am wrong). In this slice you can add, remove or move partitions like you want … like logigal partitions in a DOS or Linux Extended, but in a slice you can define the partition boundaries exactly. Linux and DOS are using the “PC/DOS-Way”, but what’s wrong with using another way (like he is gone with Unix and other Hardware)? The only thing I dislike is that a slice can devided in a maximum of 8 partitions. Therefore on PC hardware you can’t have more than 32 partititions I think. 2004-07-17 8:33 am Anonymous > but I guess that particular DOS concept is too > complex for those folks to deal with No. You can mount logical partitions. 2004-07-17 11:47 am Anonymous I’ve found this article very poor, it won’t help a newbie (just read the section about disks and slices) nor it will give a better understanding of the FreeBSD system for an already experienced Linux user, really poor… 2004-07-17 5:29 pm Anonymous Yeah, most reviews or the like of it on linux sites are like that. Any ways here are the good install instructions http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/install.h… 2004-07-17 5:40 pm Anonymous (QUOTE)You create slices, not partitions, on the disc and then create partitions within those slices(/QUOTE) Isn’t it the other way around? I’d swear it’s the other way… 2004-07-17 9:25 pm Anonymous In FreeBSD you slice disks and you partition slices. http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/install-s… 2004-07-18 3:15 am Anonymous that way every person doesn’t have to stumble through it, over and over again…. wasting hours of thier life If learning something new is such a chore for you, than your life is already a waste. Read the handbook, buy a book, poke around for an afternoon. There’s nothing wrong with pointing and clicking your way through life, thats why there is Windows. Or you can always wait for the next addition of Fedora Core… 2004-07-19 6:47 am Anonymous Hmm… I never meant to call you dumb. So, if any offence was taken, please accept my apologies. Coming back to article. AFAIU, you did read the handbook section about installation, and you still had troubles. So, what exactly was not clear to you after reading it? As everything I got so far from your posts is “that sucks!”, and no technical questions at all. 2004-07-19 7:38 am Anonymous Perhaps I owe you the apology, for not being a lot more clear in my original post. I was really laughing at MYSELF at the fact that I could not manage to install free bsd, over 2 years ago. I was also kind of chuckling to myself at how really compitent people can summarize all those instructions(the original manual at freebsd’s site, are very complete, if way long). It is to myself (entirely self taught, grade 10, and a welder to boot!!) compltely amazing that you can compress all that knowledge down and make it seem ” simple”. I’m sure that if you talked to 2 brain surgeons, one a top with alot of experience, and one with 3 or 4 under his belt, you’d come up with two very different explainations on how to perform a frontal labotamy. If you know your stuff, front to back, it just seems simple. If your working your way up, then you’ll hear alot of “slow down, let me catch up!!” I am no genius, but I have aquiered knowledge in areas of linux that my mentor often says” where’d you learn that?”. And he has 5 years on me!! Alot of people have ripped me for not reading the manual, whatever. I read, but if you look at the endless amounts of hardware configurations out there, having it not work doesn’t suprise me. Even the best of the easy linux or windows os’s stumble on it. It’s inevitable. If i remember correctly, it was my sound, video, and modem that tripped me up. Today, I just might get it, and I probably will. Never have been afraid to learn. My point was it is nice to get it up and running, and then learn how to tweak it. Evidently, that’s 100% backwards thinking to some bsd folks. I would have to agree that it would be nice to have it set up and never have to touch it again…. for about ten minutes anyways!! I’m a tweaker. it’s how I’ve learned everything up to now. Even when i ran osx on my g5, i constantly mucked it up with cli and fink. It’s what I like to do. No , your article doesn’t suck. It’s simply that I do ( and did even more 2 years ago) . Don’t take it personaly when I say ” your too smart!”, compared to myself.I’ll try it again, what the heck.. I’ll probably learn something. 2004-07-19 10:15 am Anonymous Ok, everything’s clear, np. Just one side note – it’s not my article 2004-07-20 5:50 pm Anonymous Hmm, everything seemed to be going ok , install of base , ect. It went fine until I tried to install kde3 as per instructions, when i got compile errors. ok try gnome 2. same. enlightenment worked, as did gdm2, but it won’t let me log into it, complaining of ./ed doesn’t exist. login as root nets me failsafe mode ???? startx gets me three green sh screens working. all this after 8 – 10 hours of work??? sigh. oh well, I’ll keep reading on the freebsd site. one or more wrong switch’s got thrown. probably something simple. oh , when i try to open make.config to roll back cflag to-0 , it opens up blank ?? no idea but , at least i’m learning… where everything is on file system is similar, but way different. no what I mean. The install worked, just gotta get x figured out. Ports seem to work with some things, not with others. uh, that’s unstable for you!! good thing it’s just my box , if it was production , then the 4 series stable would’ve worked flawlessly, i’m guessing.