Howto's, Advice, Hints/Gotchas about livecd creation in FreeBSD

Devin Teske devin.teske at
Fri Jul 29 01:23:36 UTC 2011

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-questions at [mailto:owner-freebsd-
> questions at] On Behalf Of Antonio Olivares
> Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 5:02 PM
> To: FreeBSD Questions
> Subject: Howto's, Advice, Hints/Gotchas about livecd creation in FreeBSD
> Dear folks,
> I would like to kindly ask you as the Subject Line tells it all.  I believe I
have done
> my homework, and I have tried out some competing LiveCDs from *BSD like
> Bsdanywhere, jibbed(NetBSD), jggimi(OpenBSD), had used RoFreeSBIE(FreeBSD
> based but unmaintained), Frenzy, Mahesha, old FreeSBIE 2.0.1, ..., etc

Though still in its infancy, my project brings some features that no others

I've not seen any other project utilize ISOLINUX as the boot-loader. Doing so
has freed me from many restrictions. For example, my one single ISO can be
written to either CD/DVD or USB or Hard Disk or SSD (without modification).

Naturally, I'm not going to document how to burn an ISO (that should be pretty
straight forward), but here's a link on how to write the ISO to either USB thumb
drive (process is similar for HDD/SSD, just skip steps 2 and 3 because you
presumably already know the device name associated with your target disk):

1. Visit
and download "Druid-0.0.iso" to a local directory.

2. Insert USB thumb drive

3. Execute: camcontrol devlist

NOTE: find the `daN' device associated with your thumb drive

4. Execute: dd if=Druid-0.0.iso of=/dev/da5

NOTE: assuming `da5' is your thumb drive

--- At this point, your thumb drive is ready to rock and roll --

However, continue with the remaining below steps to create a 2nd [visible]
partition beyond the primary [invisible] bootable partition (allowing you to use
the remainder of your thumb drive for usable storage)...

5. Execute: echo "p 2 0x0c * *" | fdisk -f - /dev/da5

NOTE: again, assuming `da5' is your thumb drive

6. Execute: newfs_msdos /dev/da5s2

NOTE: again, assuming `da5' is your thumb drive

NOTE: You'll get a "class not found" response. Just ignore this. It's completely

That's it. You now have a thumb drive with:

a. An invisible boot partition for booting into Druid (a disc full of tools)
b. A visible partition for storage, usable under Mac, Windows, Linux, and UNIX.

NOTE/RECAP: Don't be fooled into thinking that this will work with just any-ol'
ISO file. This works because (a) I am using the ISOLINUX boot-loader to
chain-load to the FreeBSD mfsroot and (b) I've post-processed my ISO file
(generated with mkisofs) with the ISOLINUX-isohybrid utility.

Other advantages include the fact that the smallest possible ISO is 28MB, but
can be grown to any size you want (my mfsroot remounts the CD-ROM through
/dev/iso9660 GEOM structure).

> I see some pages like mfsroot, and it is small custom made for ZFS and other
> goodies :), I am not there yet :(, I see there are custom scripts/SDK for
> building:
> other pages and Frenzy Page:
> I got standard cd based on 8.1 Release i386 and I like it, but it got too big
> What I am looking at.  I would like to create a small ~200MB cd like old
Frenzy with
> firefox and few apps to be able to copy2ram and take a FreeBSD system
> anywhere(like I do with some linux livecds like Slax, Porteus, PartedMagic,
> SystemRescueCD, Gparted, Clonezilla, etc).  It would be nice to let people
> that there is not just linux, I showed some students where I work that there
> other OSes beside windows :)
> Also, I would like to create a bigCD/LiveDVD with many things(not the kitchen
> sink), with several apps I use for work, i.e, TeX/Latex (can be TexLive2011 or
> teTeX from ports), maxima, gnuplot(dep for maxima), ghostscript, ImageMagick,
> pdf utilities, compiler in case some apps are needed, gkrellm/conky, like
> but can use FluxBox, Blackbox, other small Desktops or not use X if
> recommended.  CD/DVD should have firefox, pf/ipfw firewall generic
> configuration, LibreOffice/(abiword & gnumeric)/, mplayer & mencoder, ffmpeg,
> vorbis-tools, lame, cdrecord/dvd+rw-tools/cdrdao, ..., etc.  This like
> had, but it died out unfortunately.  KDE is heavier desktop[PC-BSD has this],
> Gnome too[There's GhostBSD].  If I can clone my current installation, I would
> very happy and take my desktop everywhere I can boot it.
> If it is possible to put it on USB that would be also a great plus.
> My friends advice me to follow the advice given in
> and get my feet wet.  But I am not sure how to begin :(
> Thank you all for your generous advice/suggestions/comments.
> Regards,
> Antonio
> _______________________________________________
> freebsd-questions at mailing list
> To unsubscribe, send any mail to "freebsd-questions-unsubscribe at"

The information contained in this message is proprietary and/or confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, please: (i) delete the message and all copies; (ii) do not disclose, distribute or use the message in any manner; and (iii) notify the sender immediately. In addition, please be aware that any message addressed to our domain is subject to archiving and review by persons other than the intended recipient. Thank you.

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list