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New Theme

I spent some time this afternoon on the bus ride home setting a new theme to the blog here. I’ve also cleaned up the categories. Ohh, and the most exciting part (even if it is transparent to the end-user), I upgraded to WordPress trunk. If you have not seen the new dashboard in WP 2.7 you should really check it out. Its really clean and slick–I really like it. In any event, I hope to continue my FreeBSD and miscellaneous posts here while the ‘buntu specific stuff will be on Ubuntu Tutorials.

FreeBSD 7.0 – Wireless Encyption With WPA-PSK

Why is it that wireless is the “killer-app” of hardware on the *NIX platforms? I remember spending hours and hours getting it working via ndiswrapper on Ubuntu back in the day. Luckily its simple to get working in FreeBSD 7.0, and adding WPA encryption is just a few more steps. Here I’ll outline what I’ve added to get WPA-PSK working on FreeBSD 7.0 on my Dell Latitude D630. First, if you are not using the default GENERIC kernel you’ll need to load some encryption modules. You’ll want to load the following by adding the lines to your /boot/loader.conf: wlan_ccmp_load=”YES” wlan_tkip_load=”YES” wlan_wep_load=”YES” wlan_xauth_load=”YES” wlan_acl_load=”YES” If you are using the default GENERIC kernel these are already included so you can skip right on to the next step. You’ll need to configure wpa_supplicant with your ssid, key type and pre-shared key. This is an example of what my config looks like using WPA-PSK from my netgear wireless router: Read more

FreeBSD 7.0 – Finding and Loading the Correct Sound Driver

After getting my desktop setup (following these steps) I realized that I didn’t have working sound. It took me a bit of digging around and help from IRC to find out how. I hope to make this a bit easier for others by getting it on the web and into the infinite wisdom of Google. First of all you need to find the right module. The method that I used initially was a bit of a shotgun approach, but it ended up telling me the right module in the end. If you’re coming from Linux you might be familiar with the ‘modprobe’ tool for adding and removing modules from your kernel. In FreeBSD this tool is ‘kldload’. So, what we’ll do is load the ‘snd_driver’ module, which will end up telling us which one. This may take some time and your machine may be unresponsive for a few moments. Don’t panic (…unless, of course, it remains unresponsive for more than five-minutes). Read more

FreeBSD 7.0 – Update The Boot Delay (Faster Boot)

By default FreeBSD sets a ten second delay during the boot process allowing the user to select alternate boot options. Options such as single user mode, recovery, etc. If you’d like to change this boot delay to something more reasonable you can add the following to your /boot/loader.conf: autoboot_delay=X I’ve set mine to two seconds (autoboot_delay=2) as I feel that is reasonable to give me time if I need it, but not sit and count down if I don’t. If you’d like to bypass this menu altogether you can set the value to “-1”.

Putting Beastie Back In The Boot Menu

If you’ve used FreeBSD in the past you’re likely familiar with the mascot, Beastie. In the past Beastie was part of the boot menu, but recently he was replaced with a simple FREEBSD text image. To put Beastie back in the menu you can add the following to your /boot/loader.conf: loader_logo=”beastiebw” Next time you reboot you’ll see something a little more fun than the generic FreeBSD text.

Dell Latitude D630 – FreeBSD – Wireless (ipw3945)

Activating the wireless on your Dell Latitude D630 is fairly easy. For whatever reason its not supported in the default generic kernel, but all it takes is adding a few lines to a config file. A added the following lines to the /boot/loader.conf: if_wpi_load=”YES” wlan_load=”YES” wlan_amrr_load=”YES” firmware_load=”YES” wpifw_load=”YES” legal.intel_wpi.license_ack=1 These steps are also outlined in the wpi man page (man wpi). It tells you exactly the lines that need to go into the /boot/loader.conf. So, if you ever happen to forget again, at least that much of the instructions are on your machine (assuming you have man pages installed.) At this point you should be able to reboot and be able to use your wireless. I use the following commands to activate and connect to an access point: ifconfig wpi0 up ifconfig wpi0 list scan Read more

How To Install FreeBSD 7.x From USB

I have the horrible habit of not putting a label on a CD after I’ve burned it. This leads to having a stack of CDs and not knowing which does what. This was my problem recently when installing FreeBSD, so I decided to start using USB based installations where possible. I prefer the multiple-write capability of USB, and this way I don’t waste CDs. Step one is to download a modified unetbootin utility particularly for FreeBSD. You can get .rpm, .deb, .exe or .sh for both 32 and 64bit here. I went with the 32bit .sh file. BE CAREFUL WITH THE PACKAGED VERSIONS AS IT SEEMS THEY DEFAULT TO WRITING TO YOUR LOCAL DISK! Once you have the unetbootin utility downloaded you’ll want to write the data to your USB drive. This is done using the command: chmod +x unetbootin-freebsd70*.sh ./unetbootin-freebsd70*.sh installmode=usbdrive targetpartition=/dev/sdX1 formatpartition=yes|no Be sure you know which /dev entry your USB drive is connected to and don’t overwrite your existing boot loader on your main disk. Read more