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 Install and config experience
Author: lars 
Date:   05-04-03 21:17

Prae Scriptum:
What I'm going to describe now I already "posted" in parts to the mailing list.
I just added and elaborated on some topics.

Hi all,

I want to share some experiences I've had buying, reading about,
installing and configuring FreeBSD 4.7.

I am, not for much longer though, a W2k user.
I mainly use my home pc for games, dvd viewing and ripping and mp3
encoding and listening.
So nothing serious on that side.

Three months ago I bought FBSD 4.7 from and the book
"AbsoluteBSD" in my local bookshop (which, fortunately enough, has a well selected O'Reilly/UNIX section).

<general life and stuff>
2.5 months later
</general life and stuff>

Two weeks ago I bought a new HDD and after a lot of reading of the FreeBSD handbook on, Absolute BSD and other sites and mailing lists I actually got around to installing FreeBSD 4.7.

My hardware:
P4 2.4 GHz
512 1066 RAM
3*120GB HDD Samsung
NV GF4 Ti 4200
Hercules FortissimoII soundcard
Logitech MX300 optical mouse (USB)
3com 905TX NIC
EIZO L565 TFT monitor connected per DVI

System is behind a DSL router with dynamic domain name auto-update functionality.

I began the installation with the "Standard with X software suite".
After the surprisingly fast installation, basic network configuration and
creation of a user (both in /stand/sysinstall), rebooted and the system
started up nicely.

Log in as root;

I use RCS (Revision Control System) to track all changes I make when editing text files. So when I write about editing assume I always use RCS.

Type man rcs to see what it's all about.
I mostly need following commands:

#ci -u /path/to/file
to check it in, add a title and leave a usable copy in the directory

#co -l /path/to/file
to check it out and lock the file for my editing

#vi /path/to/file
to edit the file

#ci -u /path/to/file
to check it back in, add a comment of my changes and leave a usable copy
in the directory

After unsuccessful DNS resolution and some subsequent reading I edited the
resolv.conf file
#vi /etc/resolv.conf;
add the lines
because my ISP is Swisscom

and tested name resolution by typing

I also "tuned" /etc/make.conf to my CPU and location
#vi /etc/make.conf

because I have a Pentium 4

# Also it is highly recommended that you configure MASTER_SORT_REGEX
# to choose better mirror sites for you. List awk(1)-style regular
# expressions separated by space so MASTER_SITES will be sorted in
# that order. The following example is for Japanese users; change
# "jp" part to your ccTLD ("de", "ru", "uk", etc.) or the domain names
# of your nearest/upstream networks to meet your needs.
^ftp://ftp\.FreeBSD\.org/pub/FreeBSD/ports/local-distfiles/ ://[^/]*\.de/

because I live near to Germany

Following the foolproof instructions in Abolute BSD and the online docs
I upgraded my system to 4.8.
by initially installing the source tree
#mount /dev/acd0c /cdrom
#cd /cdrom/src/
#./ all

check with
#ls -la /usr/src

install the CVSup-date tool
#cd /usr/ports/net/cvsup
#make all install clean

...during the download and compile...

I opened another terminal Alt+Fn
#mkdir /usr/sup
#cp /usr/share/examples/cvsup/refuse /usr/sup/refuse
#cp /usr/share/examples/cvsup/stable-supfile /usr/stable-supfile
#vi /usr/stable-supfile
because '' is nearest to me.

after cvsup's completion I upgraded my system's sourve code
#cvsup -g -L2 /usr/sup/stable-supfile

then check /usr/src/UPDATING for any issues
#vi /usr/src/UPDATING

finally rebuild the system
#cd /usr/src
#make -j4 buildworld

Absolutely make sure there have been no errors see also

in /usr/src
#make buildkernel

reboot and check functionality of your system, then
#shutdown now

in the single-user mode you've just reached
#cd /usr/src
#make installworld

once completed, backup your configuration files
#cp /etc /path/to/backup

then use mergemaster

Absolutely do refer to the mergemaster-url to understand the issue!


Now that was a tricky one ;-)
I have a freemail account with that works over POP3.

1. install and configure mutt -3h;

#cd /usr/ports/mail/mutt
#make install clean
#login as the user you created
#cd /home/username
copy a .muttrc from to
#vi ~/.muttrc
set spoolfile='/var/mail/username'
because fetchmail stores my mail in this location
my_hdr From: Name <Emailaddress>
so it automagically get's inserted in "From:"

2. configure sendmail -6h;

#vi /etc/rc.conf
so I can authenticate correctly with the GMX mail server
(I'd prefer sending my mail from myself instead of over GMX,
so if anyone could help -I'd appreciate it)
so that the sendmail daemon only listens to local connections

3. install "configure" fetchmail -30min;
#cd /usr/ports/mail/fetchmail
#make install clean
#touch ~/.fetchmailrc
#vi ~/.fetchmailrc
add the lines:
poll pop.provider.domain proto POP3
user 'username' there is 'localusername' here pass 'secret password'

4. set my hostname to the my dynamic domain name => email works.

(Doing all this stuff may seem trivial but as a newbie with just the
command line and no experience it's hard work, hehe.)

I chose the ncurses version and with the info I gleaned from
/var/run/dmesg.boot I managed to configure X.

Several unsuccessful configuration attempts at getting a nice GUI...
Replaced the DVI cable with an analogue one -GUI works;
ask in forum why -"use Nvidia driver!";
download driver;
consult Absolute BSD and for multimedia kernel options
First backup your kernel and modules;
#mkdir /modules.good
#cp kernel kernel.good
#cp -R modules/* /modules.good/
#cd /
backup the GENERIC kernel configuration file:
#cd /usr/src/sys/i386/conf
Now uncomment all the stuff you think you don't need;
base your decisions on the comments in LINT and /var/run/demsg.boot.

I, to enable sound and the nvidia drivers did the following:
#settings according to's dru lavigne's multimedia
#system soundcard and dvd playback
options CPU_ENABLE_SSE #used by DVD
options USER_LDT #"used by many apps"
device pcm #used by Soundblaster

in /boot/loader.conf add the line:

Configure and install your new kernel:
#cd /usr/src/sys/i386/conf
#cd ../../compile/MYNEWKERNEL
#make depend && make all install

If no errors, reboot, otherwise repeat steps above and find error.

with the nvidia driver X works per DVI too -nice.
consult google and;
install wrapper:
#cd /usr/ports/x11/wrapper
#make install clean
-$user can startx without root permissions;

Since I have 3 Harddisks (1 = FreeBSD, 2 = NTFS5)
I did the following:
#vi /etc/fstab
# See the fstab(5) manual page for important information on automatic
# of network filesystems before modifying this file.
# Device Mountpoint FStype Options Dump
/dev/ad0s1b none swap sw 0 0
/dev/ad0s1a / ufs rw 1 1
/dev/ad0s1f /tmp ufs rw 2 2
/dev/ad0s1g /usr ufs rw 2 2
/dev/ad0s1e /var ufs rw 2 2
/dev/acd0c /cdrom cd9660 ro,noauto 0 0
/dev/ad1s1 /mnt/ntfs1 ntfs ro 0 0
/dev/ad3s1 /mnt/ntfs2 ntfs ro 0 0
proc /proc procfs rw 0 0

according to the info from:
#ls -la /dev
and because writing to the ntfs is dodgy I mounted ntfs as read only.

That's about it.

Next tasks:
-enable DVD playback and ripping;
-setup additional PCs as fileservers and web presence;

Time spent configuring other stuff in FreeBSD, learning about UNIX, vi, fetchmail, mutt, sendmail, XFree and other more general stuff like SMTP and DNS, approximately 20h.

Being something like a "poweruser", whatever that means, on my W2k system and supporting w2k at work, I thought I had some clue about IT, protocols and other principles of networking.
I was wrong. In fact I learned a lot more in the 35h of mucking around on my machine than in a few months of supporting w2k!

At times rather frustrating, setting up my little box has been an
extremely rewarding experience. The community is very supportive and if you manage to formulate your question in a halfway informative and intelligent way the answers come in quick.

I've still got a long way to go and am not allowed to be tempted by my
nice windowsmanager, but I'm confident it's the right way to go.

So to all newbies out there:

RTFM and maybe buy a book on FreeBSD.

You'll learn a lot more about the information _technology_ using FreeBSD
than you'll ever do using a MS product.

Use "good" hardware (not some Winmodem or other cheapa.. crap);
use a dedicated HDD;
get a good book or two (e.g. Absolute BSD by Michael Lucas and UNIX Power
Tools from O'Reilly);
use the command line;
then use a windowmanager (windowSmanager?);
try using ONLY FreeBSD to force yourself to immerse yourself
and make an effort configuring the system;
use RCS to track changes you made;
write down what you did in a notebook;
check,, periodically
and try to emulate the examples, especially the BSD articles on

Ok, that's it.
Thanks for your time.

Kind regards,

Reply To This Message
 Re: Install and config experience
Author: chief wanton 
Date:   06-08-03 22:54


Reply To This Message
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