I'd like some help

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at msu.edu
Mon Mar 24 09:05:29 PDT 2008

On Sat, Mar 22, 2008 at 02:58:24PM -0700, Matthew Woodson wrote:

> I've been learning about a bunch of the BSD OSes, and i want to try Free 
> BSD, but i can't figure out how to download it and the instructions don't 
> make sense. I am running Windows XP OS- can you tell me how to download 
> Free BSD with it?

Well, you generally want an ftp client.  Use it to ftp to:

Use 'anonymous' for login id  and your email address for password.

>From there cd to pub/FreeBSD/releases       (NOTE that case is significant)

At this point, you need to know the type of machine.  It is most
likely i386  or amd64.   amd64 is for the AMD64 processor.  i386 is for
all of the regular INTEL type processors that regular PCs use and your
most likely choice.

So, cd to i386    and then    ISO-IMAGES

Then you have to select the version.
I would suggest starting with 7.0

cd cd to  7.0

So that ends you up in:


Then download the necessary ISOs.

If you have a reasonable internet connection, you can install over
the net.   That is really the best if you can do it.

In that case, you only need the file  7.0-RELEASE-i386-disc1.ISO

If you hav a slow or unreliable network connection, then you may
also need disc2 and even disc3.   They have the ports' source code
on them.

Presuming disc1 is good enough,

burn the file to a cd.   Note that the file is already an ISO and
doesn't need to be converted.   It needs to be burned as a raw file
to the CD.   Some cd burner utilities make this a bit confusing.
Each is a little different.

You now need to decide how to divide the hard disk and if you will be
putting only FreeBSD on the harddisk or sharing one with some other
OS such as something from Microsloth (called dual booting).

In any case, you have to have a slice dedicated to FreeBSD.   
Note that FreeBSD UNIX uses the term slice but Microsloth uses the
term 'primary partition' to refer to a slice.   The UNIX slice and
the MS primary partition are essentially the same and are compatible.

In BSD, a slice is further divided in to 'partitions'.  Microsloth uses 
'extended partitions'.  But those MS extended partitions are completely
different and incompatible with UNIX partitions.

If you are sharing a disk, you will need to use some utility to
shrink the existing disk allocation to make room for FreeBSD.

Only 4 slices/primary partitions (names 1..4) are allowed on a disk in 
current systems.   Typically a major vendor puts some proprietary diagnostic 
and hardware utilities in the first [small] slice and marks it hidden.  
Hidden is only meaningful to Microsloth systems.  It remains visible to UNIX.

Then they put the MS OS (XP or whatever) on slice 2 and make that slice
contain all the rest of the disk, leaving slice 3 and slice 4 empty
and unused.    So, to fit FreeBSD on the disk, it becomes necessary to
shrink that slice 2 to free up some space to allocate to another slice - 
most likely slice-3.    

I have used a commercial utility called Partition Magic successfully
in the past to manipulate the slices and make room.   That was with
a version 7.0 of PM which was put out by a company called Power Quest.
But, it got sold and the new owner put a version 8.0 which has not
been as successful as far as I can see.  I tried to use it to slice a
USB disk and it would not talk to it, even though its promotional 
literature made a special point of advertising it would.  So, I returned
it for a refund.

In consequence I get a utility called Gparted, made the boot floppy and
was quite successful with using it to manipulate the disk.  Just do a
little search with google and find it and download it.  It works fine.
There are some other freeware utilities out there, but most will not
work with the NTFS type Microsloth filesystem which is common nowdays.
So, check on that.   Gparted seems to handle it OK.

Anyway, lets say you carve out a nice 40 GB of disk for FreeBSD and that
is in slice 3 - a common circumstance.    If you have a whole disk to
decicate to FreeBSD the rest of this applies.  You just don't need to
go through the gyrations to make room on a shared disk and the disk name
is slightly different - probably ad1 instead of ad0.

Once you have space on the disk to fit FreeBSD, then boot up the 
FreeBSD install CD.  Choose the appropriate location to do the install.
That will probably be  ad0s1  if you are making FreeBSD the only OS on the
machine or  ad0s3  of a shared drive or  ad1s1  of a dedicated second drive.

Choose that and then divide the slice as needed/desired.   This becomes
almost a religious issue and there are many reasons for doing it many 
different ways.   The main ideas are:   use a single partition, plus swap,
or choose the defauly divisions, or a newer division scheme that takes
in to consideration that sizes have grown in recent years.

Note, the rule of thumb for swap is 2.2 X the RAM size, but some people
    use more or less of swap.  There are reasons for each choice.

Single plus swap is two partitions.
One partition is root    (/)    on partition a   All but swap
the other is swap.    no mount  on partitino b   1 GB or more

Default division has a small root, swap of 2.2 RAM, small /tmp

My updated default is:

  a  mounted on      /       256 MB
  b  no mount point          2.2 GB    (for 1 GB memory)
  c  describes slice - do not use
  d  mounted on      /tmp    768 MB
  e  mounted on      /usr      2 GB     (a lot more if I use a lot of ports)
  f  mounted on      /var      4 GB     (more if I use a database)
  g  mounted on      /home     remainder of slice

Once I get these established and things loaded/installed, I often 
move /usr/ports  and /usr/src  in to /home and make symlinks
and /var/spoot and var/log  also in to /home with symlinks.   By
doing that they have more room to grow without worrying about some
rogue process killing the system.

Go on and choose things to install.   Mostly you want the ports
system and X-org.   

After you get this installed and some configuration done - follow the
handbook on these -  do a csup and rebuild things to make sure you
have all the latest security updates and ports fixes and improvements.

Then go through ports and install things you want.   Probably these
will include OpenOffice, Firefox and associates, and maybe MySQL
and PHP and Perl.    I have a few other standard ones including a 
couple of games and drawing programs and system management aids.

If you want to use this machine for Email, it already has sendmail
which you can just start using.   It will be ready to turn on.

Learn to use vi.   It is really easy once you get used to it (famous
last words) and most importantly, it available on all UNIX systems,
regardless of which other editors might be available.   I have a tutorial 
about how to learn a simple vi on my website.   I don't remember the
exact address and that system is currently shut down - which it is now
and then for some special work - but start with:

     http://z2.cl.msu.edu/~jerrymc/ and look around.  It is easy to fine.

Have fun.  After screwing stuff sufficiently and in the course of 
things, accidently learning something, then start over from scratch
and set it up more to your liking.



>                                                                                            -Thanks, Matthew
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