FreeSBIE — the FreeBSD-based live CD

I returned to FreeSBIE today. I haven’t reviewed it so well in the past because it’s a bit kludgy. But now that I have many more months of Linux (and X Window System) experience I can approach FreeSBIE and at least get it running.

I forgot that by default, FreeSBIE boots to a shell, not the gui.

To start X, just type this at he prompt:


Or … you can use the following cheat codes BEFORE booting into FreeSBIE:


… and you will boot into one of those two window managers. Ideally, FreeSBIE should automatically boot into a GUI, with a shell being an option, and at the very least there should be a message on the screen telling the user to type “startx” to get the window manager going. I say this because the “documentation” with FreeSBIE consists of an HTML document that comes up automatically … only after you are in X.

Since I don’t use a dynamic IP at this location, I had to set up my own static IP. Usually there’s a GUI or script to help you out. Even Slackware has such a script.

Not FreeSBIE. I had to do it at the command line. It was just that little bit different from Linux, given the difference between BSD and Linux. But it wasn’t above my skill level:

My Ethernet interface, usually eth0 in Linux, is called fxp0 in FreeSBIE/FreeBSD.
(My comments are in italic and parenthesis — do NOT type them in. Bold is for emphasis.)

I opened a terminal:

$ su
(No root password necessary in FreeSBIE; I get the # prompt immediately.)

# ifconfig fxp0 netmask broadcast
(Use your own static IP info on the numbers above in bold.)

# route add default
(Note: don’t use route add default gw, like in Linux — gw is not needed. As above, enter your own router/gateway address)

I also set up my name servers in /etc/resolv.conf (I used vi because I knew it would be there. You can also use nano in FreeSBIE. Use any text editor you wish in its place:

# vi /etc/resolv.conf

once in the file, I added these lines:


(as always, add your own search domain and name server IPs, then save and close the file; you should now be ready to start Firefox and begin browsing the Web.)

Anyway, now I was able to use FreeSBIE. It’s pretty fast. Not as fast as Puppy Linux or Damn Small Linux, but good enough.

FreeSBIE doesn’t benefit from the same kind of compression as most Linux live CDs, and as such, there are far fewer applications available. But between Firefox, Thunderbird, Vim, nano and AbiWord, there was enough for me to get around.

I had no idea how to do a cron job to get the noisy fan in my Gateway Solo 1450 laptop to turn off, and since running FreeSBIE I’ve struck out in a bunch of Linux distros as well when it comes to managing this fan. I’ve discovered that Debian Etch, Ubuntu (not the latest kernel but the older one in the current 7.10 version) and CentOS 5 (aka Red Hat) all are able to manage this fan automatically.

Thus, if I had a desktop computer that could run FreeBSD, I’d be racing to install it right now and see how it runs.

I’d probably be better off figuring out how to get Puppy’s ACPI fan control working. All the solutions thus far look a little daunting.

Did I mention that the fan is loud? Really loud.


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