Saturday, December 27, 2003

Ways to Install FreeBSD

While perusing the newgroups at unix.derkeiler.com, I learned a new way to get FreeBSD. The FreeBSD Project publishes .iso images of its release software, like 4.9 REL or 5.1 REL. Easy enough. Mirrors for these distributions are available at FreeBSD mirrors.

However, I discovered the FreeBSD Snapshots site offers .iso images of the latest version of each tree, e.g., 4-stable and 5-current. You can download the .iso and finish with a system running the newest FreeBSD, assuming they work on your hardware. If you're more conservative, they maintain a "security release" of the 4.8 distribution as well, which right now is 4.8-RELEASE-p13.

You can even finger their server to learn the newest builds available there:

finger @snapshots.jp.freebsd.org

[snapshots.jp.freebsd.org]
FreeBSD/i386:
The latest version of FreeBSD -CURRENT is: 5.2-CURRENT-20031227-JPSNAP
The latest version of FreeBSD 4-STABLE is: 4.9-STABLE-20031202-JPSNAP
FreeBSD/alpha:
The latest version of FreeBSD -CURRENT is: 5.2-CURRENT-20031227-JPSNAP

More information: finger info@snapshots.jp.FreeBSD.org
Service index: finger help@snapshots.jp.FreeBSD.org

I also learned of two new projects to create CD-ROM based FreeBSD systems, like Knoppix: FreeSBIE and the FreeBSD live-FS project. The original live CD project is LiveCD, which exists in the ports tree.

In miscellaneous news, I tried two new MBLA3300 Intel PRO/100 CardBus II PCMCIA NICs on my Thinkpad a20p running FreeBSD 5.1 REL. I intend to use them for a mobile NSM platform. I found that they were recognizes as fxp0 and fxp1, but only if I booted with one NIC in the top PCMCIA slot or both in the two slots. One NIC in the bottom slot didn't work!

I'm going to put 5.2 REL on the laptop when the new release is published next month. I may followed this thread's guidance on disabling ACPI and enabling APM. I learned how to create a restore partition here. If my XFree86 fonts are ugly, I'll try the guidance in the XFree86 Font De-uglification HOWTO. At some point I may buy a new laptop with no OS installed, like this.