very small network

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Sat Dec 31 09:34:14 UTC 2011

On 31/12/2011 04:12, Jeffrey McFadden wrote:
> I bought into FreeBSD with a DVD of PC-BSD.  It's great, but the PC-BSD
> user manual is not up to the level of the FreeBSD manual.  In the latter I
> have found, as you all suggested, all the necessary information.
> I haven't set the network up yet but I expect to be able to run both server
> and client NFS on each machine to enable networking both ways.  They are
> all laptops of one sort  or another (Asus eee, Toshiba Satellite, late
> model Sony Vaio)  and it sort of depends on where I sit which machine needs
> to be client and which server, if that makes any sense.

Perfect sense.

One thing I'd expect PC-BSD to have (or at least to make easy to enable)
is Apple-esque zeroconf networking.  That means you should be able to
plug a new build machine into your network, and it will discover other
machines on the net and give you the ability to mount filesystems, or
print to attached printers, and all without having a designated central
controlling server.  I take it this is the sort of thing you mean by
setting up your network?

This is a very attractive model as it is very simple from the user point
of view.  You don't necessarily need to have any dedicated servers,
although such things as a DHCP server are still useful (I suspect your
broadband router probably has that function).  On the other hand, it is
probably a bit harder to set up than a strict client-server setup with
dedicated servers.

The key software requirement here is to set up multicast DNS.  There are
a number of packages in the ports to do this -- mDNSresponder, howl, but
what I'd recommend is avahi as it is best integrated with other software
packages.  For the shared networking thing, you can use samba between
FreeBSD machines, but you'll need to build samba from ports since the
AVAHI option isn't enabled by default.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
                                                  Flat 3
PGP:     Ramsgate
JID: matthew at               Kent, CT11 9PW

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