Category Archives: FreeBSD

Inspiron 2650 + FreeBSD

Just slapped together a little how-to on getting FreeBSD installed on a Dell Laptop. As always, comments are welcome. This is the first interation of this how-to, so if you see anything wrong, have a suggestion or whatever, please post a comment!

1. Boot FreeBSD CD
a. At Booting [Kernel] in 10 seconds; hit space
b. At OK type boot -c
c. At config> eisa 0
d. At config> quit

2. Install FreeBSD minimal set
a. Install ports collection
b. Install kernel sources

If you need assistance with the install of FreeBSD,

3. During the reboot, you will have to accomplish step 1 again

4. Edit fstab as follows
a. Noauto on proc
b. Noatime on all others
c. Leave the /swap alone

5. Edit /etc/make.conf by uncommenting the following
a. touch /etc/make.conf
b. echo “CLFLAGS= -O -pipe” >> /etc/make.conf
b. echo “NOPROFILE= true” >> /etc/make.conf
c. echo “USA_RESIDENT= YES” >> /etc/make.conf

6. Compile new kernel
a. comment out device eisa
b. add device agp
c. add options VESA
d. add options SC_PIXEL_MODE

7. Add soundcard support
a. echo “snd_ich_load=\x94YES\x94” >> /boot/loader.conf

8. Configure console by adding the following commands to rc.local
a. echo “vidcontrol VESA_800x600” >> /etc/rc.local
If you don’t do this, exiting X will completely blow your console, requiring a reboot.
b. reboot

9. Install the following package
a. pkg_add -r cvsup-without-gui

10. cvsup the ports collection

If you need help with the cvsup process,

11. Install the Xfree 4.2.x from ports (must be installed from ports, we will need to patch this with the nv (nvidia) driver.)
a. Compile XFree 4.2.x (yes, we will recompile the server, but this picks up everything we need)
b. Patch XFree86-4-Server with the nvidia code
i. Get the nv.tar.gz patch (
ii. Cd /usr/ports/x11-servers/XFree86-4-Server
iii. Make clean
iv. Make patch
v. Cd work
vi. Tar -zxvf /path/to /nv.tar.gz
vii. Cd ..
viii. Make all
ix. Make deinstall
x. Make reinstall
c. configure X using the graphical utility from the /stand/sysinstall menu
i. Vert refresh 50 – 100
ii. HorizSync 31.5 – 90

12. Install Gnome2 port
a. I don’t recommend starting gdm from rc.local until you are completely certain that everything is working right
b. I usually just log in as root and do a gdm && exit real quick. (learned that from Super Stibbers)

Staying on top of your ports, the easy way

I submitted this over at Soup’s but I’m such a literary genius, I thought I would put it here too:

A lot of people try to claim various things are the “mother of invention”, but as ?n*x or ?BSD admins, we know the truth. And that truth is…. LAZINESS. Yep, if it weren’t for lazy admins, we wouldn’t have half of the automation scripts we have today. This affliction is what finally forced me to learn some Perl.

Keeping your ports tree and, subsequently, your installed binaries up to date can be a tedious task to say the least. To help alleviate this situation (and to help resume my laziness and boredom) I wrote up a script to automate cvsup’ing my ports tree. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I’m a scripting genius, the syntax of the script would just call me a liar. But I will tell you that this script works for me on both 4.x, 5.x and 6.x stable systems. If you find out it works on others, or modify it to do so, drop me a line at packetmad[at]kulish[dot]com.

Anyway, back to what we we’re talking about. What this script does is cvsup your ports tree, run portupgrade -na (NO PORTS ARE INSTALLED) and generate a nice looking email report sent to the address of your choosing. It’s actually fairly well documented with in the script itself (amazing, huh?)

Here is an example report:

cvsup SUCCEEDED on Thu Nov 13 00:30:00 CST 2003!!
For host!!

Legend: +:Upgrade / -:No Upgrade / *:Skipped / !:Failed

– security/openssl (openssl-0.9.7c)
– devel/libtool13 (libtool-1.3.5_1)
– security/openssh-portable (openssh-portable-3.7.1p2)
– lang/ruby16 (ruby-
– lang/ruby16-shim-ruby18 (ruby-shim-ruby18-1.8.1.p2)
– shells/zsh (zsh-4.0.7)
– net/ntp (ntp-4.2.0)
– converters/libiconv (libiconv-1.9.1_3)
– textproc/expat2 (expat-1.95.6_1)
– devel/gettext (gettext-0.12.1)
– devel/gmake (gmake-3.80_1)
– net/mpich (mpich-1.2.5_2)
– net/cvsup-without-gui (cvsup-without-gui-16.1h)
+ lang/perl5.8 (perl-5.8.1_2)
– sysutils/portupgrade (portupgrade-20030723)
– misc/screen (screen-4.0.1_1)

From there you can decide what/when you want to upgrade. It makes it A LOT easier to schedule your updates between Nethack sessions this way.

A note on requirements. It needs to have cvsup-without-gui, portupgrade and Perl 5 installed to work correctly.

If you are still interested, after all this rambling, the script can be obtained from ‘s download section.