INSTALLING FREEBSD ON A LAPTOP


System: Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Li2727, Intel Mobile Dual Celeron T1500, 2GB RAM
OS: FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE
Intended usage: Office/graphics work and media player.

Got 9.0-RELEASE DVD1 (http://www.freebsd.org/releases/), burned it on DVD and booted the laptop.

Chose to do a standard installation, with guided partioning, chose 64KB boot, 2GB swap, and rest as root filesystem.

Installer detected mouse and ethernet correctly.

The system is actually completely usable at this point. Some of the hardware might not work and the standard software suite is practically nonexisting.


boot

Next to add the support for WLAN, webcam and GUI, install packages (with pkg_add -r):

v4l_compat
libv4l
pwcview
cuse4bsd-kmod
xorg
gnome2
xorg and gnome will take quite a bit of time to install.

In order to activate WLAN and webcam support without recompiling the kernel, add to /boot/loader.conf:

if_ath_load="YES"
cuse4bsd_load="YES"

Also configure the hardware and GUI autostart by adding to /etc/rc.conf:

wlans_ath0="wlan0"
ifconfig_wlan0="WPA SYNCDHCP"
WPA can be omitted if your WLAN is unprotected.
background_dhclient="YES"
hald_enable="YES"
dbus_enable="YES"
webcamd_enable="YES"
gdm_enable="YES"
gnome_enble="YES"
saver="NO"
blanktime="NO"
scrnmap="NO"
sendmail_enable="NO"
Textmode screensaver is disabled in order give full control for gnome screen saver. Sendmail is just unneeded on a non-server machine.

Incase you have password protected WLAN add to /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf:

network={
ssid="your WLAN ssid"
psk="your WLAN passkey"
}

To make sure the WLAN radio actually is turned on at startup, add to /etc/sysctl.conf:

dev.ath.0.rfkill=1
dev.ath.0.rxantenna=1
dev.ath.0.txantenna=1

boot (directly to GDM)


Now you have fully functional FreeBSD laptop with Gnome. Incase you actually don't like the stock software or find it lacking. Feel free install the following useful software packages (with pkg_add -r):

opera
pkg_add installed old 11.60 version. It works, but I installed 12.00 using the package from http://www.opera.com/download/
opera-linuxplugins
for flash support
openjdk6
abiword
gnumeric
libreoffice
inkscape
gimp
shotwell
blender
openshot
vlc
gnome-mplayer
mucommander
gkrellm
gftp
pidgin

Get linux-64bit flashplayer from http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/ and install the plugin in /usr/local/lib/browser_plugins

WLAN connects automatically at boot if no ethernet cable is plugged.
Webcamera works, some programs (like pwcview) are able to capture the feed.
Flash videos and Java work with Opera browser.
Office suite (Libreoffice, Abiword and Gnumeric) works as installed.
Graphics suite (Wellshot, Inkscape, GIMP, Blender and Openshot) works as installed.
VLC needed a manual install of quickstart icon, but DVD play works correctly with VLC. AVI, MKV, MP4 and OGM videos work correctly with either VLC or Gnome-Mplayer.

USB flash drives and USB mouses works fine by just plugging them in.

Printing not yet tested.