New work on installer?

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Mon May 17 10:09:34 PDT 2004

On Mon, May 17, 2004 at 12:38:55PM +0000, slave-mike wrote:
> If one were to *not* use the installer to setup a FreeBSD system, (aka, 
> like *old* dos, each step done manually), what are the manual steps 
> involved?

It's not something that I have at my finger-tips, as there's generally
no need to install without the installer...  However, an outline of
the process would be something like this:

    - Boot up system from removable media (CD-Rom, floppy disk),
      or other external media (eg. Netboot (PXE)).

    - Slice and partition disk space appropriately

    - Install boot blocks or MBR if required

    - Create file systems on the partitions that require them.
      Temporarily mount the new file systems so that they can be
      written to.

    - Copy into place the kernel, kernel modules, the contents of the
      system directories like /lib, /bin, /sbin. /usr/bin, /usr/sbin
      This can be from a disk image or .tar file or similar on your
      installation media, or from any other system accessible over the

    - Edit the crucial configuration files (/etc/fstab, /etc/hosts,
      /etc/resolv.conf, /etc/rc.conf, ...) with appropriate data for
      the system.

    - Set a root password and possibly add other user accounts as

    - Reboot

I think that covers everything necessary.  Of course, actually
carrying out all of these steps manually is another matter.  You will
have to make copious notes as you go along, as very often a later
stage will require data (partition sizes, device names etc.) generated
in an earlier one.

This should give you a basic system installation, up and running in
multiuser mode.  If you want to create a vinum root partition or use
various non-standard hardware or install via a serial console, you'll
have to modify things somewhat, but the whole process should be quite
similar overall.

Beyond this, there is still a huge amount of stuff to do: configuring
extra servers, creating user accounts, installing 3rd party software
(perl, X Windows, cvsup, portupgrade etc.), getting hold of the latest
ports and system sources for whatever branches you choose to use,
building and installing an up-to-date system or using FreeBSD Update
to achieve the same thing, building a customized kernel, security
lockdown, testing, etc., etc.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP:         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK
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