installing freebsd on windows

Michael Powell nightrecon at
Sat Mar 28 17:14:17 PDT 2009

Harold Hartley wrote:

> I am wondering if the freebsd team has ever thought of making freebsd to
> install on windows like ubuntu does.

Sorry - I am not quite certain what you mean by this. FreeBSD is an 
"operating system", just as Windows, Linux, Solaris, etc are different 
operating systems.

If you mean as in a dual-boot configuration it is doable and has been done 
by users for many years. It is easiest to install Windows first and leave 
sufficient free space on the rest of the hard drive into which FreeBSD can 
be installed. As to boot loaders there is a choice to make, but some form of 
boot loader which presents a menu at boot time will enable one to choose 
which OS to enter.

Much of this requires knowledge a neophyte may not possess. While there is 
much excellent documentation within the FreeBSD project, it may not be easy 
stuff for the non-computer geek. However, with study, patience, and some 
degree of trial and error the knowledge is ultimately attainable.
> I'm just a person that can't afford more than one computer cause I live
> in a nursing home and I would like to be able to use one computer to
> choose what I want to boot into, such as windows or unbuntu and maybe a
> freebsd choice.

While I don't wish to enter the desktop flame war, FreeBSD can make an 
excellent desktop. There are even a couple of desktop oriented projects 
which are probably easier for a beginner to get going with. 

One thing you should probably be aware of though - in spite of the above 
statement FreeBSD has historically been more server oriented. If you are not 
a system administrator in a data center running servers there is less 
impetus for you to choose it as a desktop OS. If you are already utilizing a 
Linux desktop such as Ubuntu with Gnome or KDE and are satisfied you may 
only be duplicating your efforts for no real particular advantage. FreeBSD 
is historically a better "server" operating system.
> I don't always want to boot into windows, except for the 3 apps I have
> to use windows for.

Lol! The opposite is true for me. I keep a VirtualBox VM with Windows XP 
handy in case I need some Windows app temporarily (Office). 
> I do boot into ubuntu 90% of the time and enjoy it so much, but I have
> read about freebsd and researched it fully and I wish I could be able to
>   run freebsd as with all the apps freebsd has to offer. I would love to
> be able to install freebsd under windows so I could choose freebsd to
> boot into when I want.

If you have a sufficiently powerful machine you can use a Virtual Machine 
such as VMware or VirtualBox where you can install and run other operating 
systems in a virtual environment. This is opposed to the dual-boot described 
above, as it enables you to run multiple "Virtual" computers at the same 
time - no need to reboot. This is also a great way to go if you want to 
experiment with varieties of different software(s) without trashing your 
main operating system. These VMs are all available as packages for Ubuntu.
> I hope to hear from freebsd about my request, and by the way, I'm not a
> linux expert so I don't know everything about linux, but I'm always
> learning.

IMHO learning is a good thing. You should know that we are not "FreeBSD", 
but rather a mailing list of people who use FreeBSD. Communities of 
aficionados will be quite diverse, but while many in a hardcore Unix group 
will be sympathetic to a point many others will not. YMMV

I noticed quite a few years ago a striking difference between the 
Microsoftian Windows world and Unix. Many in the Windows world pop a disk in 
a machine and click "OK" in a dialog box a few dozen times and consider 
themselves instant "Computer Knowledgeable". I work in both environments and 
one thing attracting me more to the Unix world was the fact that many more 
Unix workers were college graduates with Computer Science degrees. It is 
very easy for such highly educated individuals to look down upon those from 
the Windows universe. One group knows what the other is missing, in spite of 
the fact the other may not. Couple that with geeky personalities in general 
and it can be abrasive at times. Such highly educated people typically can 
seem somewhat intolerant towards those who haven't yet acquired a certain 
ground floor skill level. Many others are more welcoming when they perceive 
someone who truly wants to learn. again: YMMV! 

Don't let it discourage you from learning. Learning new stuff constantly is 
a good thing, and if you don't push a little into uncharted territory you'll 
stagnate, and that's just not interesting. Just my $.02    :-)


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