FreeBSD is a darling of an operating system. The stability and usability make it a clear choice for servers and desktops (for the cunning). Savvy? The Ports collection makes available every popular FOSS application and package. Solid security and stable development keep the bad guys and gals out. There is something to be said for security through obscurity. If FreeBSD is not secure enough, there is OpenBSD, Unix for the practically paranoid.
I will detail how to install a base server, using FreeBSD. Like it's name implies, FreeBSD doesn't cost a penny -- just download disc 1, or the DVD and burn it to optical media if you choose. Also boxed sets along with books are available from the FreeBSD Mall. I already have my set…
The minimum requirements for FreeBSD are spartan. One would be hard-pressed to find a machine FreeBSD didn't run on, successfully. My minimums for a base server for workgroup or small LAN.
RAM = 512MB (The more, the merrier)
CPU = Pentium 4 or better
HDD = 80GB (Depending on use)
CD/DVD drive, NIC, keyboard (mouse is optional…)
Boot your computer from the optical drive, with FreeBSD Disc 1 inserted. A FreeBSD splash screen will appear:
Select the region of the world you or the computer are located.
, the FreeBSD install/configure program, will prompt, asking which type of install is going to be performed. A 'Standard Install' is the preferred option.
Partitioning - A prompt will appear introducing "FDisk", the next step, and providing suggestions. Read all of the prompts and choose the best option. In this example, I'll dedicate all of the space on the HDD to FreeBSD. Test environments are one thing, but production computers should not dual-boot.
Press 'A' to use the entire disk for the installation and then press 'Q' to finish and commit changes to the disk.
Sysinstall will ask which type of bootloader should be installed. The "Standard" boot manager will suffice.
Slices, or volumes will need to be created to host the various parts of the operating system. FreeBSD, like Unix, and Linux can have many of it's essential directories split into distinct partitions. Once again, press 'A' to have sysinstall create the default layout and then 'Q' to quit/continue.
What type of install, will be the next prompt. Scroll down the list and select 'User' by pressing the Spacebar. When asked whether or not the ports collection should be installed, select yes an press Enter to continue. When placed back in the distributions dialog, choose the Tab key to get to the 'OK' option and press Enter.
Choose 'CD/DVD' as the installation source by pressing the Enter key. Finally, sysinstall with give a final prompt, allowing cancellation of the install process before committing the selected changes to disk.
The install will proceed…
Congrats! The install has completed, but we are far from done -- a whole world of FreeBSD awaits you!