|Beginners Guide To FreeBSD - Installing FreeBSD
Series - Chapter 1
This is a small series that I'm writing for novice FreeBSD users so that they won't feel overwhelmed with the installation, operations and use of FreeBSD. I hope you enjoy.
I personally love FreeBSD, it's been practically a godsend to me when using a Unix-based Operating System. Not only does it have a Unix feel to it, but it's becoming rather popular, which allows for additional hardware support. Before we do anything, we need to identify what kind of hardware the box has. I'm assuming most users know this or know how to identify what hardware they have; so, I'm not going to go into that.
Note - The installation covered here will be FreeBSD 4.8 CD Installation on the x86 platform
Now make sure your bios is set to read your CD-ROM drive first in the boot sequence, so that it will boot our image of FreeBSD. Insert your CD into the CD-ROM drive and reboot. Now, it will take us to a screen that starts displaying alot of information. Don't worry about this. That is the probing of the computer's hardware and specs. After the probing, you'll get a prompt that says:
Hit [Enter] to boot immediately, or any other key for command prompt.
Booting [kernel] in 9 seconds...
Hit enter or wait the 10 seconds to be prompted to choose another option: your kernel configuration. In a nutshell, kernel configuration is where you choose what drivers are currently active, and inactive and what to probe during startup. At the moment, we don't want to mess with this, so choose the option that says:
Skip kernel configuration and continue with installation
Now, we can start with the actual partitioning, installation and post-installation tasks needed to install FreeBSD. We are in the /stand/sysinstall main menu; /stand/sysinstall is the installation script and post installation script used as an interface for a FreeBSD user. It's a good idea to read the "Documentation" section within the interface, just to know and understand what is going on while you're installing FreeBSD. At the moment, all we want is the Standard Installation Method, known as 'Standard' in the interface.
We are now going into Fdisk, which is a partitioning tool used for the FreeBSD installation. If you are creating a dual bootup, you should first create unused space in your previous Operating System, so that you can install FreeBSD on unused space of your hard drive. It's a very simple process, and is very quick. Within FDisk, scroll down to your Unused Space data, and then press 'C'. Finally press 'Q', this will quit and finish the service.
Now, we will create a Boot Manager, if you are using multiple Operating Systems, select Bootmgr, if FreeBSD will be your only Operating System on this box, select Standard.
Now we move into DiskLabel Editor, we're going to make this simple and quick. All you have to do is press the letter 'A', and then press the letter 'Q'. This autocreates our partition. Then, we quit the disklabel editor. Now, to me that was the hardest part of it all. Now, we get to play around a little bit and start installing everything.
Next, we are asked to choose what type of interface and overall style installation of FreeBSD that we want. There are 6 different types of installation packages.
* Kernel Developer
* X-Kernel Developer
Each installation package has different oppurtunities; for example, Kernel Developer option installs the Kernel Source as well, but X-Kernel Developer installs XFree86 and the Kernel Source. All installations marked with X infront of their names refer to the installation of XFree86 which is a server to run our Graphical User Interfaces on. Today, we're going to choose X-User.
When scrolling down to X-User and selecting it you'll notice User will be selected as well; don't be alarmed that's normal. Next, confirm it and we'll move onto installing FreeBSD via CD.
You will notice that there are multiple ways to install FreeBSD, over FTP, Floppy discs, Cdrom, and even from Tape! As I said in the introduction today, we're gonna make it as painless and as easy as possible; so, we're going to choose the Cdrom Method.
There will be some warnings; read them carefully, and then choose "yes," as long as you feel comftorable with installing FreeBSD. It will take some time for the "main part" of FreeBSD to install; For me on a Pentium II 400MHz processor with 64MB of RAM, it takes about 15 minutes.
Now we go through a series of questions to setup FreeBSD to our specifications for time, internet and other compatabilities.
Our first option is to setup Network Interface via PPP or any other device that may be running to connect through the internet. This again, is up for the current installer to figure out. Each individual runs through different requirements when setting up their network interface cards or modems. We will be asked if we want to configure IPv6, DHCP and Gateway support.
Depending on your needs for network connection, IPv6 and DHCP configuration is completely up to the current user, although I do suggest not working as a Gateway until at least some experience with FreeBSD.
I must note, that FreeBSD does not support WinModems. I have tried everything and asked everywhere in the internet for FreeBSD support on broadband WinModems, and there is practically nothing out there. I'm sorry :(
Now we move onto some more configuration, Security Configuration, System Console Configuration & Time Configuration. These are very simple and very quick.
For Security Configuration, there are three options - Low, Medium, High. I strongly suggest at least using Medium, if not High.
I don't suggest playing wtih System Console Configuration just yet. If you must for some special reasons, I advise you to refer to the FreeBSD Handbook.
As for Time Configuration, let's go through this by example:
Would you like to configure this machines's time zone now?
Of course this is up to anyone, but of course we want to do it ;)
Is this machine's CMOS clock set to UTC? If it is set to local time or you don't know, please choose NO here!
We'll since we're gonna be configuring to our local time zone already, press No, and move onto finding your own time zone.
Now that we have that out of the way we get prompted with another question!!! FreeBSD wants to know if we want to install and use Linux Binary Compatability. What this means is that we can run and install Linux Binary Packages. This option is up to the current user. I personally, do not install it. It takes up space, and most of everything you will need or want to have installed at a later time is in the Ports Collection in FreeBSD.
Okay just hang in there, we're almost done. We have only a couple more things to finish, and then, we can start playing on FreeBSD.
What we need to do now is configure XFree86. Another prompt comes up, asking us if we would like to configure XFree86 at this time. Select 'Yes'. As I stated earlier, XFree86 is a server that allows us to run a graphical user interface, but before we can do that we must tell XFree86 what our system/hardware specifications are. It's a very simple process and is over rather quickly.
At first, we are allowed to choose three different options to configure XFree86. I personally use TextMode (the second option); so, that's what we're going to use in this example. Overall, this is completely dependent on the users hardware, which as I stated before, required knowledge before begining the FreeBSD installation. All a user needs to do, is follow the simple instructions, go down the list and then save the configuration file. I know that is s going out on a limb, but you have to learn sometime! ;)
The next two parts of the final installation process is your Graphical User Interface installation and extra packages installation, again, this is completely dependent upon a user's preference. For a graphical user interface, I personally use KDE (I'm gonna get flammed for that), but I like it, and I use FreeBSD as a Desktop/Workstation. Select whatever Desktop Environment/Window Manager you prefer and install it. All the packages required for your selection are installed, and you don't have to worry about a thing!
The second section is installing extra packages. Everything that is required to run FreeBSD and your graphical user interface has already been installed. These are just other packages that you may or may not want to install. Some packages include, XChat, Opera, Mozilla and FileRoller. If you choose to install any, look through all the packages, select which packages you would like installed, check them off, and use the install button.
The last prompt that comes up, is the option to create a new group or user. I suggest creating a new user. Being logged in as root all the time is not a smart decision.
Finally, after all that trouble, we are asked for the root password. Think this through with caution and be sure to remember it!
We are finally brought back to the original /stand/sysinstall start menu! Go to 'Exit Install' and your computer will reboot, remember to take out the CDRom when your computer reboots.
You'll boot into FreeBSD and be asked for a login, and voila! We are in the command prompt, type "startx" and XFree86 with your Desktop Environment/Window Manager will start, and you are now using FreeBSD.
Any questions, comments, harassments, corrections or other obligatory remarks please leave a comment :D