Just installed FreeBSD

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at clunix.cl.msu.edu
Mon Mar 7 06:41:05 PST 2005

> Katsuki Hirata wrote:
> > Hi, I just installed FreeBSD and I have no clue how to
> > run it. I'm sure it's installed right. When I boot,
> > and after loginging with both root and/or another
> > username, I don't know what to do from there on. How
> > do I get gnome or KDE on? Is it supposed to be a
> > graphical thing like Windows or Redhat linux? what's
> > the command to load the operating system
> > 
> > 
> Hi Katsuki!
> Welcome to FreeBSD. With FreeBSD you can have whatever graphical user 
> interface you want, just the same as with some customizable GNU/Linux 
> distros. The diference is that you need to learn how to do it. The 
> FreeBSD Handbook on line (and on your ready installed system) is one of 
> the best manuals I have ever seen. Take a look at it and study it, then 
> ask here.
> I suggest you to try first an easy Linux distro like Mandrake. Be there 
> some time till you get confortable. Then switch to somethink more 
> difficult like Debian, where you can install and uninstall packages and 
> learn how a system works. After some time on Debian you will be ready to 
> enter the FreeBSD world without trouble.

I suggest that this is very bad advice.   The person is asking a 
question about FreeBSD.   It makes no sense in the world to tell
him to go to a completely differnt and incompatible OS.   He will
only learn how difficult other stuff can be and gain very little
that counts toward FreeBSD.

So, first of all, you needed to install X windows and whatever manager
you want to use.   The nicest time is right during the main installation.  
It offers options to install a full X and several possible window
managers.   Three reasonable possibilities are Afterstep, KDE and
Gnome.   You can, in fact install all three and choose which to 
configure and use later.   I normally only install Afterstep and KDE.
Gnome is too bloated to suit me and I don't have much for its
extra features.   

Actually KDE is normally too much for me.  I usually use Afterstep.  I find 
it quite effective as a window manager.  The only annoyance is that it only 
makes icons for windows when you minimize them.  It needs to have icons 
when the window is full to make it easy to find a window that has been 
covered up with a bunch of others.  

KDE (and Gnome) offer additional features such as built in editors
and browsers, etc.    But, since I just use vi mostly and Netscape
or Mozilla work well enough as a browser for me, I don't need or want
that other junk.

So, presuming you are installing FreeBSD 5.3, choose to install the
full X windows package and then let it set you up to configure Xorg
which is the package in 5.xxx.   If you tell it which window manager
you want, it will plug in the command to start it in your .xorgconf

You should hit the FreeBSD handbook on configuring and using X.  
There is too much to explain in a list response.   Once you have
more of an idea of the whole thing and have tried it and made 
some mistakes you can ask more specific questions that will get
more specific and helpful responses.

The next thing is to learn how to do command line operations (CLI) on
a computer.   For many you don't even need an X window system, but it 
is much more handy to have one.   You will want to learn shell scripting
with /bin/sh, /bin/csh (and their offspring, bash and tcsh respectively) 
and maybe /usr/bin/perl and/or some other high level script interpreters.
With those you can crunch just about any file of data someone can throw at you.

In the midst of all this, you want to learn about the FreeBSD ports system
because ports is where you get all the third party stuff and install it.
That can be graphics, sound, games, additional networking stuff, extra
web stuff, etc, etc.   Just cd to /usr/ports and start looking down
the trees.  Better yet, look in the FreeBSD handbook and learn some
easier ways of finding things in ports and how simple it is to 
install stuff.

Some people would insert regular updating of you OS and ports tree
probably just before doing installs from ports.   Good idea, but
not always essential just to get acquainted.   Soon, after you have
installed and tried to use things a bit and gotten quite familiar,
you will want to toss it all and start again from scratch, making
use of what you have learned.   Then is the good time to begin a 
regular program of CVsup-ing to keep things up to date.  Then you
will begin to recognize the difference between your own skrewups and
the lack of an updated version of something.

So, there is a lot to do.  The first thing is to become more familiar
with the FreeBSD handbook which is available free online at the
FreeBSD web site:  www.freebsd.org    You may also want to buy and
use one or more of several very good books on installing and using FreeBSD
that are available.   The Complete FreeBSD, FreeBSD Unleashed, 
FreeBSD an Open-Souce Operating System, are all good books.   Make
sure you get the latest editions of each as they each tend to get updated
and republished periodically.

There are also lots of online publications and tutorials, a few at the 
FreeBSD web site and many others at other sites such as www. onlamp.com, etc.


> Switching from Red Crap to FreeBSD is a bit hard, in my opinion.
> You will be welcome.
> Good luck.
> Ramiro.
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