Apart from Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux, my laptop has one more feather in its cap. It is FreeBSD 6.0 My passion on this OS stands for long time since I read about its background through Linus’s autobiography.
I have installed FreeBSD 6.0 on my laptop. Here is the configuration:
1. Intel Centrino 1.7GHz.
2. 512MB RAM
3. 2.5 GB Partition for FreeBSD
4. Intel ICH6 sound (AC97)
5. Broadcom BCM5705M ethernet
6. Intel Wireless 2200
7. Broadcom Bluetooth
Out of 2 CDs of FreeBSD 6.0, I have first CD only. Anyhow I started with it. This CD contains all basic base system, X.org and development tools. The installation is pretty easy for any linux man. The only new thing is slice concept in disk partitioning. The installation wizard screens are cursor based text. The installation time for base system is very minimal in the range of 10-15 minutes only. It detected my ethernet card. After restart, I got 8 consoles (F1 to F8). When I do startx, I got that wdm window manager screen. I went back to console and run sysinstall tool. The beauty of FreeBSD is this tool. This is highly centralized tool which comes handy for any installation related tasks. Using this tool I selected ftp.freebsd.org as installation source (since I don’t have 2nd CD). I selected kde-lite from the listed ports (Here packages are called ports). I marked all dependent ports as D. The installation was perfect. Samba network detected automatically and working fine. Apart from sysinstall tool, the /etc/defaults/rc.conf is a nice all in one system tweak file (Caution: /etc/rc.conf file overrides this file. So any tweak you do should be on /etc/rc.conf only). Another configuration file for kernel and module control is /boot/defaults/loader.conf. This file is simple in format to control the modules to be loaded and kernel settings.
Here are some tweaks I did for my laptop:
Tweak1: To start GUI at boot time: Since I have installed kde-lite, I preferred having kdm as display manager. So I edited /etc/ttys, replaced the line starting with ttyv8 which started xdm with the following line:
ttyv8 “/usr/local/bin/kdm -nodaemon” xterm on secure
Tweak2: For fast boot without menu options: modified the following settings as given below in /boot/defaults/loader.conf.
Tweak3: To enable built in sound card: In /boot/defaults/loader.conf:
snd_ich_load=”YES” # Intel ICH
Tweak4: To enable ACPI: In /boot/defaults/loader.conf:
Tweak5: To enable other other filesystems such as FAT16/32 and NTFS:
Tweak6: If you don’t want sysinstall to install further packages, you can go to /usr/ports. You have well classified directories with all important packages index. Only thing what we have do do is to enter the corresponding application directory and run “make install”. That is it. No worry of dependencies. Happy installation only!
Tweak7: Here are the harddisk naming conventions mapped with linux for reference:
/dev/hda -> /dev/ad0
/dev/hda1 -> /dev/ad0s1
(e.g:) To mount /dev/hda6 of vfat:
mount -t msdos /dev/ad0s6 /mnt/winhome
Ethernet Networking – OK
Audio card – OK
Wireless – not detected – Not tested
Bluetooth – detected – Not tested
Firewire – detected – Not tested
IrDA – detected – Not tested
Conclusion: Linux is not the only option to come out of Windows loop, there are many upcomings. FreeBSD is one such promising both in Desktop and Server. Hats off to FreeBSD team!