This post will cover installing FreeBSD 6.2. FreeBSD was recommended to me by my friend Ben Connelly because it is known to be the most stable and secure Unix OS out there. After I installed it, I became even more pleased at my decision because of the package manager and BSD ports. If installing using the package manager doesn’t work, you can most likely make port-install work on the same software. Also since it is so stable, you are 99% sure that anything you install WILL work.
I followed this really nice tutorial about installing a FreeBSD 6.2 OS. When you want to setup a server, it is typically best to perform a minimal installation (as shown how to do in the tutorial at Open Addict). I have to admit that there were a few typos in the tutorial that jump up and bit me later on in the process. I will try to point those out here since there aren’t many question & answers about this tutorial in the Open Addict forums.
All of the instructions are good up until the section called “Rebuild the World, and Recompile the Kernel”. Rebuilding the world is usually done if you want to upgrade your OS (kind of like a windows update, except a lot more involved than clicking “Install”). If you have just downloaded your FreeBSD OS, you probably have the latest version of the OS with the latest patch and you probably won’t have to rebuild the world. Even if you do not need to rebuild the world you should perform some of the steps shown in the tutorial just because it will save you time later on.
Installing Basic Packages
In the step below:
pkg_add -r bash; pkg_add -r cvsup-without-gui; pkg_add -r nano
I recommend omitting “pkg_add -r nano” because:
1. FreeBSD minimal install already comes with “vi” as a text editor.
2. “nano” is a crappy text editor (IMHO).
3. “vi” is the industry standard (I’ve used “vi” since college).
4. The longer you use “vi” the more powerful it becomes as you learn tricks to speed up your productivity.
So if you heavily use “vi” like me, I would recommend doing “pkg_add -r vim” instead. (FYI, vim = “VI-Improved”)
Setting Bash as the Default Shell
I like bash, so I recommend this step also.
Updating Source and Ports Tree
If you see you need to upgrade your FreeBSD then you will need to update your source tree. The tutorial said I should use RELENG as release tag. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. I had to use RELENG_6_2 to get my source tree updated. I found some helpful documentation and update servers for cvsup.
You should update your ports tree as it will be very useful later when you are setting up things like Apache, MySQL and other software.
Rebuilding the World
You may skip this step if you do not want to update your the FreeBSD with the latest patches. The tutorial is pretty good here except for one typo about “ZUES”. Just replace that with “ATHENA” and it will make a lot more sense. Also if you are not going to rebuild the world, it is good to do the last two steps:
pkg_add -r ncftp; pkg_add -r wget adduser <yourname>
Now I have a rad OS, on to setting up services!