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Setting up a FreeBSD Workstation

Getting the CD or Floppies

The first step to installing FreeBSD is to download either the two floppies from the site, or the CD. A net install can be performed using either the floppies, the cd, or the boot only cd which is about the same as the floppies. To install off of a CD you need the full CD1 ISO from the site. CD2 is not necessary since it only contains perl and a few other extras that can be installed with the ports later. You can download these from the FreeBSD ftps which are numbered ftp.freebsd.org, ftp2.freebsd.org, .. ftp12.freebsd.org, and so on.

Installing FreeBSD

For an indepth guide to installing FreeBSD look here. In this tutorial we will not be going over the base install so much as getting things going afterwards. The FreeBSD installer is very easy to use and straight forward if you just do a Standard install from the menu and choose the default if you do not understand the question.

Booting FreeBSD the first time

When you boot up FreeBSD for the first time after the install finished and you take your floppy or cd out it is going to take a while to generate keys and may ask you to type a screenful of random text. Just do what it asks and it won't ask again. Now log in as root because you are going to need the access.

Getting your machine online

Unless you are going to copy everything to the machine by CD you will need to set up the network.

Bring the machine up to date

Unless FreeBSD just released a new version chances are the release you just installed is several months old. To update it with the latest source code you can follow the Cvsup tutorial. Once you have done this the source code for FreeBSD and the ports tree will be the latest version. You are now ready to build the newest source and update the machine. The source changes daily whenever updates are committed to CVS, but over the span of a few months security fixes start to build up, and so it is a good idea to update after you install because there is no risk of losing any data at this time and in a worst case scenario you can just do another clean install. Go here for the tutorial on rebuilding the FreeBSD source.

Setting up X.org

A lot can be done from the command prompt, but unless the most graphical thing you need to do is surf the web with lynx and edit files with vi you are going to want to install X.org. This can be done by following the tutorial for setting up X.org