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Setting up a FreeBSD Laptop using PC-BSD


After setting up a minimalist laptop with FreeBSD, I was curious as to what it would be like to set up a version of FreeBSD that has been focused on the desktop (or in my case laptop). I had 2 choices for this: PC-BSD and DesktopBSD, after looking at how actively both projects were being worked on, I chose PC-BSD, at some time in the future, I'll probably try DesktopBSD too.


I did the install on a Dell Lattitude C800 with 512MB RAM and a 20GB HD.

Operating System: FreeBSD

Why a version FreeBSD at all? - I've enjoyed working with FreeBSD; the software installs alone were enough for a second look. Why PC-BSD? Why not?


There isn't much documentation for the PC-BSD install, but it's simple enough, although the first time I downloaded and burned a CD, that CD installed with boot errors, so I tried again, and it worked nicely.

Firstly, download the installation CD:

wget -b http://mirror2.pcbsd.org/pub/pcbsd//1.0/PCBSD-1.0rc2-x86-CD1.iso

and then burn it onto a CD.

Then, put insert the CD and start/reboot the machine. The installation is fairly straightforward. I followed the example.

Once the install was complete, I exited the install, which restarts the machine.

Adding Additional Packages

PC-BSD is simply a new face to FreeBSD, so the standard methods of software installs apply.

You can refer to Handbook if you need to know more about the standard method. PC-BSD has it's own software install method, you'll find the menu option for the PC-BSD Installer. There aren't very many packages available yet, but you have access to al of FreeBSD's ports too.

Here are some of the tools I added:

# my preferred writing tool is nano (a more advanced clone of pico, pine's editor)
pkg_add -r nano
# nano needs a decent spell-checker, so I use ispell
pkg_add -r ispell
# for the occasional times I use X-Windows, I prefer the XFCE window manager
# For X-Windows, I like the configurability of this terminal
pkg_add -r rxvt

And then I needed to access my work pc via a VPN, details for this are here.


To be honest, I spend most of my work day on a Windows pc, so although I found PC-BSD's KDE setup lovely to look at, and very functional, I tire off all these high-end graphical interfaces, so I eventually went back to my minimalist FreeBSD laptop with XFCE. Simplicity has it's own rewards ;-)

More Questions?

How Do I? : I have a bunch of FreeBSD questions and answers here.

On This document? : Contact me here.

Local Docs : /usr/share/docs; If you are unfamiliar with FreeBSD's directory layout, please refer to the hier(7) man page.

FreeBSD's document on laptops : http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/laptop/article.html

FreeBSD Handbook : The handbook (available in multiple formats), and other documentaion and support groups can be found at http://www.freebsd.org.

Need more applications : try here

Hypertext man (manual) pages : are here

© Roqet :: 2022-03-01 16:07:34