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Installing FreeBSD and setting it up
Author: Varuna E.


What a pleasure it has been to get my hands on FreeBSD once gain.  Yes Beastie I am back.  Seeing sysinstall text GUI is just so calming after looking at the PC-BSD graphics based installer. Wondering why? Or did it make you wonder if you have come across a control freak? I sincerely feel that one can become a good system administrator with such hands-on experience provided by FreeBSD.

I find the FreeBSD sysinstallto be more hands-on.  Every step gives you the push for perfection.  Be it defining the FreeBSD partition, the creating the slices for the FS, the most important step - choosing the boot manager.  You get to choose the boot manager: default, GRUB or none.  This is where I find FreeBSD installer scores a 100% over PC-BSD installer as it never thrusts "things" on you.  It truly lives by the wisdom of: You reap what you sow.

A good exercise that I went through was in defining the slices covering 160GB HDD and values; in order; has been: 20GB /, 20GB /usr/ports, 15GB/usr/src, 90GB /home and 3GB swap.  I am expecting a lot activity for swap as I intend to setup the virtual systems; hence, pushed the swap slice to the outer edge of the disk.  The ports and src will see less activity when compared to the home.  It is in the home that I will be setting up the virtual system images; hence, it was kept more towards the outer edge of the disk.

This is an information that you will **NOT** come across in the FreeBSD documentation.  Change the password for the account: toor. Yes it is toor and has su privileges.  Knowing the password comes in handy in-case something happens to the root account.

In terms of the FreeBSD ports; what I really like when compared to either Linux or MS-Windows variants; is that all the ports have to be built on the system, and you get to see the ports take shape block-by-block, transforming into a beautiful piece of application.  Compare this with other OS - you get the application bundle that is ready to install.  I certainly agree that it depends on how you look at it - easy way or hands-on.  Hands-on is  always  a joy for me.

Buildworld has not yet been done, would have to spend some quality time understanding my Dell Vostro A840 laptop in trying to optimse the kernel for performance.

FreeBSD by default will not start Xwindows, here is the procedure on how to achieve it:

Step 1:
Add the users avahi,polkit, haldeamon, pulse, gdm, and messagebus. Ensure that the login shell is /usr/sbin/nologin, while the home directory can be any location.  The uid and gid need not be staff or wheel.  Setting a password is not essential for these accounts as the corresponding daemons looks for the a valid uid & gid only. the nologin is essential to prevent any attempt to log into the system.  Resulting /etc/passwd will additionally contain the following:
avahi:*:1002:1002:User &://avahi:/usr/sbin/nologin
polkit:*:1003:1003:User &://polkit:/usr/sbin/nologin
haldaemon:*:1004:1004:User &://haldaemon:/usr/sbin/nologin
pulse:*:1005:1005:User &://pulse:/usr/sbin/nologin
gdm:*:1006:1006:User &://gdm:/usr/sbin/nologin
messagebus:*:1007:1007:User &://messagebus:/usr/sbin/nologin

Do not use the vi to add the users; instead use vipw or the utility adduser. The sysinstall can also be used as well to add the users.

Step 2:
Login as root and compile the port /usr/ports/x11-wm/icewm using the following commands and choose the configuration options accordingly:
make clean
make showconfig
make config
make config-recursive
make install

There are times where you will see configuration details, at time you might want to make an informed decision about choosing the option for optimised code inclusion.

If you see a message indicating that the port has been installed, then use the following command to re-install the port:

make FORCE_PKG_REGISTER=true install
or
make FORCE_PKG_REGISTER=true reinstall

Step 3:
The next step is to modify the /etc/rc.conf file and introduce the variables; dbus_enable, avahi_enable, haldaemon_enable,gdm_enable and gnome_enable for Gnome to be started by default.  The modified /etc/rc.conf file will contain the following:
dbus_enable="YES"
avhai_enable="YES"
haldaemon_enable="YES"
gdm_enable="YES"
gnome_enable="YES"

Step 4:
Setup KDE; provided you have installed KDE package on the system; by creating the file /usr/local/etc/dm/Sessions/kde.desktop that contains the following:
[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=KDE
Comment=KDE session on shastry
Exec=/usr/local/bin/startkde
Icon=
Type=Application

Step 5:
Setup ICEWM; provided you have compiled the /usr/ports/x11-wm/icewm port; by creating the file /usr/local/etc/dm/Sessions/icewm.desktop that has the following:
[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=ICEWM
Comment=ICEWM session on shastry
Exec=/usr/local/bin/icewm
Icon=
Type=Application

Step 6:
Take the easy way out to restart the system and have Gnome window manager startup by default.


So there you are set to get BEASTIE in action .... welcome to the OpenSource world.

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